Sunday, April 8, 2012

French Toast: Middle Eastern or Mediterranean?

I've been baking cookies. You know, trying out the bazillion "Best Choc-Chip Cookies Ever!" recipes floating around the food blogosphere. I've succumbed to all the tricks and tactics of the trade: adding an extra egg yolk, using cake flour, stuffing it with chunks of chocolate, refrigerating cookie dough for 36 hours, resisting eating raw cookie dough for the 24+ hours. The whole nine and a freaking half yards.

So you know what my post is going to be. Not Chocolate chip cookies. Had enough of them  for a while.

Middle-Eastern French toast.

I'm sorry for the build-up. Please go do some cardio+crunches(20 reps, 3 sets), and I'll have about six batches of Chocolate Chip Cookies prettily ready for you in a couple of days!

Middle-Eastern French Toast was the result of a happy accident. By that, I mean I overheard my 8-year-old sister instructing mum on how she wanted her french toast. It could also mean that I stole a slice of her French toast (and swooned) as I'd rather my metabolism went for a toss than eat Ragi Kazhi for breakfast. P.S.: It isn't a frou-frou thing. I like Kazhi, just not the ones made with Calcium-enriched Diabetic food.

Sumi had this brilliant idea of adding pinches and pinches of saffron strands to the French toast egg mix... she probably thought it'd make it taste like kheer or sheer korma.

She isn't at the age where she understands how much each milligram costs... and if I tell her that mind-altering drugs cost less, I'd be killed by mum for a) "spoiling your sister and making her exactly like you" b) even if it's been two years since I graduated Medical school, Mum chooses to believe that her 24-year-old daughter has no clue about the existence of "drugs" or where babies come from; simply because unmarried girls mustn't know/speak of "these things".
I'll spare you the lengthy diatribe this post is evolving into... and teach you how to make Middle-Eastern french toast.

It's easy, you'll know how to make it already (I use the base recipe from i am baker). To go along with it, I suggest a simple, luxurious dry-fruit milk we make only (justifiably) in the month of Ramadan.

Middle-Eastern French Toast:


2 eggs
1/2 cup + 2 tbsps milk
2 tbsp sugar
a pinch of salt
3/4 tsp rosewater
7-8 strands of Saffron
5-6 slices bread


Heat the 2 tbsp milk until it's boiling. Add the saffron strands to it and squeeze the extract out of it. Keep aside the saffron to infuse in the milk until cool.

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, milk (both the plain and saffron-soaked), sugar, salt and rosewater.
Silly me forgot to do the saffron-infusion before hand. You must, though!

Heat an non-stick pan or griddle. Add a pat of butter or ghee.

Dip a slice of bread into the milk mix. Do not let it soak too much, as there won't be enough egg-milk mix for the rest of the bread.

Cook the dipped bread on medium-low, about 2 minutes on each side.

Do NOT use skim milk and wholewheat bread. Please.

Take it out and serve hot with Saffron honey and butter!

A dusting of confectioners' sugar is pretty handy when you're out of honey.

Could not resist a couple of bites fresh off the griddle, pre-photo session!

Dry-fruit milk:

1 cup whole milk.
5-6 walnuts
4-5 almonds
4-5 unsalted pistachios
5 raisins or a couple of chopped up dates
a pinch of saffron
1 tbsp sugar (or more, per your liking. Remember, dates are sweet!)


Feel free to use and hold off on the dry fruits of your choice!

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap/lid, and refrigerate overnight (minimum7 hours).

You can eat it by itself or with the french toast!

Suddenly can't wait for Ramadan. For more reasons than one.


  1. Yummy toast,looks so inviting n love the presentation.

  2. Thanks so much, Hema! Usually I struggle with presenting food, but this one didn't need much effort to be prettified!