November 20, 2023
GROWING UP - mom seemingly put Indian spices into and onto everything. We were navigating a new country living in Pennsylvania just outside of Philadelphia. And no matter how hard I tried to get her not to, mom had a way of making everything we ate a little Indian. Spaghetti sauce had cumin seeds in it. Homemade pizza was made like they did in Delhi with a sabzi on it. After all, dough was leavened bread like naan. Grilled cheese had red chile powder sprinkled into it. Macaroni and Cheese we would eat with hot sauce and minced onion - how I eat it to this day. Little did we know that we were at the forefront of fusion. All I knew at the time is that the difference between me and my non-Indian friends irritated my grade school self, but I still ate it and liked it, which just annoyed me more. I kept the differences to myself, until one sleep over at my best friend's house.
We were all seated at the dining table the morning after. Breakfast was French toast. And, when we were asked what we wanted with it, I immediately uttered ketchup. A slow, embarrassed burn immediately warmed my face. I would have never known that the 'right' answer was syrup. I got some funny looks and I tried my French toast that morning with sweet syrup.
That moment has always stuck with me. You see, we were both right. Sure, in the West French toast is sweetened and eaten with syrup. In our world, though, we ate it with an egg batter fragranced with Indian spices. We typically eat eggs with ketchup for a tangy kick. Typically, a spiced ketchup known as Maggie Tomato Ketchup. These days, I'm no longer running from but towards these memories, and making this for my own family. It's a perfectly easy option for the morning after Thanksgiving. And, it pairs perfectly with ketchup and/or our tamarind chutney.
Stovetop: Indian French Toast
splash of milk
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon red chile powder or cayenne
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 slices of bread, I use sourdough
vegetable oil or ghee, for pan frying
1. Whisk the eggs and splash of milk in a bowl. Add the cumin, turmeric, red chile, and salt. Whisk again. Transfer to a shallow tray. You can also add minced onion and thinly sliced green chiles.
2. Dip one slice of bread in the mixture at a time and flip it over so it is coated on both sides.
3. Heat the oil or ghee in a large saute pan. Once hot, add the coated bread and cook through on both sides. Enjoy with a side of ketchup or chutney.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
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November 28, 2023