Pudding for Breakfast

22 Mar

30 might be creeping into view, but there are still a lot of things that make me look guiltily over the shoulder in case my mother is standing there with a glare on her face and a dire warning on her lips. Leaving the house, even down the stairs to get my newspaper, without wearing a bra or brushing my hair (Things Nice Girls Don’t Do); staying up late enough to spend the next day yawning (I’m a night owl, so that’s really late – you might call it morning, actually); skipping a meal or substituting ice cream for one (whatchu lookin’ at?); refusing to attend a family function because My Magic Headache made an appearance (happens all the time), etc.

Most of my guilt, however, comes from food. The heart wants what it wants, even if the stomach can’t really take it. Right now, for instance, I’m battling a suspicion that I’ve become allergic to dairy but I refuse to get tested or lay off it long enough to tell the difference – because dairy is right up there in The Good Stuff category. We’ll talk when you’ve found a way to make cheese and rasgullas out of soy milk. Tasty cheese and rasgullas.

Of all my meals, however, breakfast is the one with which I struggle the most. As a child, I needed to be out of the house by seven / half-past seven to catch the school bus and we found out early on that feeding me things at that hour of the day is enough to make me throw up all over the place. It’s probably psychological but I need it to be at least past eight before I can think about eating food. And it has to be vegetarian – I can’t face flesh first thing in the morning. Preferably savory, not sweet. Hot is a plus.

At home, this is easy. Ma makes the best South Indian breakfasts ever and I’m all good. On my own, I don’t like the ready made mixes (they taste funny) and it never comes out properly if I grind things up in a blender or food processor. For picky purists like me, you need a wet grinder – either human or machine. Which is a headache unto itself for various reasons. So…

Granola, pancakes and oatmeal with fruits is the ticket. I’d so much rather just skip it and go straight to lunch! But some days that’s just asking for trouble. So I have pudding instead. Technically, it’s french toast. Make it the way I do however…

Amrita’s French Toast Pudding


2 slices thickly cut bread (3 or 4 if thinly cut), preferably a couple of days old. If you’re in a position to get your hands on some challah, then there’s nothing like it.

1 egg (for upto 4 slices of thickly cut bread)

1 tsp sugar, heaped, per slice of bread (adjust to liking)

1/3 cup milk per slice of bread

Vanilla extract or other flavor to taste

Butter / ghee as needed (honestly, you’re eating custard for breakfast, substituting oil at this point is not just pointless, it’s ridiculous)

Nonstick pan (to save on both butter and washing up. Use a stove top grill if you’d rather)


In a wide bowl, whip together the egg and sugar until frothy and combined. Add milk and whip some more. Use a blender if you’re too lazy to break out the whisk in the morning. Stir in vanilla extract. Dip in slices of bread and soak thoroughly, coating either side before laying them aside. Reserve leftover eggy milk.

Heat pan and smear a little butter so it melts. Arrange slices(s) of bread so the pan isn’t too crowded to flip. Spoon some of the eggy mixture all over the bread. One to three tablespoons depending on the thickness and size of the slices. Lower heat and allow the bread to cook.

When the bread has caramelized to your satisfaction on one side (never more than a nice brown), pour another few tablespoons of the milk mixture on the bread and sprinkle some butter on top and immediately flip the slice. Be gentle when you do this because sometimes the bread becomes super soft as it absorbs the mix and starts to crumble.

The bread at this point will puff up like a balloon and you wonder if it’s going to splatter all over you. Relax. It’s just bursting with the weight of its deliciousness. This side will take approximately half the time the first side took to cook. Toast is done when both sides are golden brown.

Eat cold or warm and melty, with fruit or with a light dusting of sugar or maple syrup if you’re researching ways to get diabetes. Dee-lish! It’s not like you were going to live forever anyway.


Posted by on March 22, 2010 in Personal


21 responses to “Pudding for Breakfast

  1. Amey

    March 22, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Where do you get butter? An Indian missing butter is not a good thing, you know. 😦

    • Amrita

      March 22, 2010 at 3:14 pm

      The supermarket? Try the French butter if you have an extra dollar to spare. It’s the best butter you’ll eat unless you’re eating homemade. If you want homemade butter, you’ll just have to make it yourself I’m afraid.

  2. bollyviewer

    March 22, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    You actually do ALL this in the morning?! Like, before coffee? Hell, even after coffee, I am lucky if I can pack pre-made food for lunch. But I WILL try this on a weekend. 🙂

    PS: do all your recipes involve milk, bread, butter, eggs and sugar?

  3. Arch

    March 23, 2010 at 12:28 am

    “We’ll talk when you’ve found a way to make cheese and rasgullas out of soy milk. Tasty cheese and rasgullas.”

    There’s a very good vegan cheese now – its called daiya cheese

    As for rasgullas, I am pretty sure my mom will find a way to make vegan rasgullas.. she made yummy gulab jamuns out of potatoes for me!

    • pitu

      March 23, 2010 at 12:59 pm

      Thanks Arch for the vegan cheese reco. Am vegan so will def check it out 😀

  4. DewdropDream

    March 23, 2010 at 6:24 am

    You do NOT want to know this since you’ve mentioned how much you louve dairy products. But I’m evil, so here goes. Some chap made cheese from breast milk. Read about it here:

  5. dustedoff

    March 23, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Ooooh. I am a French toast freak, and just reading your recipe’s made me put on a couple of kilos, I’m sure. Making and eating it (and that’s going to be soon) is bound to do something horrendous to my figure.

    No, wait. My figure can’t get more horrendous than it already is.

  6. M

    March 23, 2010 at 11:19 am

    You know, if you prefer savoury to sweet in the am, you could make savoury French Toast – my daughter and I dislike sweets for the most part, so this is our version – substitue spice of choice for the sugar and vannila extract in your recipe – my version is considerably lower in fat (unfortunately reqd!) and I use salt-chillie powder and sometimes finely chopped onions and cilantro – tastes absolutely wonderful.


    • dustedoff

      March 23, 2010 at 12:15 pm

      And finely grated fresh ginger along with the onions and cilantro – that’s another addition my mom taught me for savoury French toast. Delicious!

    • Radhika

      March 23, 2010 at 1:14 pm

      me too. i’m a sucker for savoury french toast. i put salt and pepper in the batter. dip the bread and flip it on the tawa. drop finely chopped onions and green chillies on the top surface and spoon over some batter over this, and then flip it over. it’s like a slice fosillized in a masala omlette. oh no, now i’m hungry, just thinking of this.

  7. M

    March 23, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    ooh nice to know the savoury french toast isn’t an oddity – will definitely try the ginger next time – for some reason I never use ginger in egg dishes, wonder why. Would diced tomatoes work? (Now it’s getting into uthappam territory I think! :))

    • dustedoff

      March 24, 2010 at 12:14 am

      I have a feeling tomatoes might get messy. But one won’t know unless one tries! 🙂

  8. Radhika

    March 24, 2010 at 8:44 am

    i must confess that i once gave salted french toast to this young guest who asked for it – not knowing he wanted the sweet one with tons of maple syrup. poor fellow, almost gagged at the only spoonful he had – i guess, when you expect really sweet stuff, it must be such a shock to the system to get salt instead. heh.

  9. Shalini

    March 24, 2010 at 9:24 am

    That recipe sounds gloriusly fattening. I want! Will you please come over and make it for me?


  10. Srinivas

    March 24, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Idli-Dosa-Upma FTW!!!

  11. Amrita

    March 24, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    BV – I do nothing before coffee. It’s a wonder I can go to the bathroom before coffee. But this is really more of a weekend thing anyway.

    Arch & Pitu – curses! brought low by desi moms of vegans! 😛 Out of my cold dead freezer will you take away my cheeses. Yes I lied 😀

    3D – is that the guy who has a restaurant in nyc or something? ew.

    Dustedoff – there’ll just be more of you to love! And I put in tomatoes in my omelets, with the seeds scraped out so there’s less water content and what I usually do is saute them on high heat with the rest of the ingredients, like a stir fry, to seal in the juices and then remove the pan from the heat and pour in the seasoned egg before returning it to high heat and flipping it. Sometimes I fold but that’s if I’m eating it plain or with bread. Usually, i eat my omelets with roti and salad so the flip is better.

    M – I can’t stand cilantro but the rest, including Dustedoff’s ginger, sounds good. When I’m feeling super hungry and reckless I make this Italian fried sandwich that’s a slice of mozarella (fresh i.e. the kind from speciality stores that needs to be consumed within the week if you can find it, otherwise your normal one) between two thin slices of bread, soaked in seasoned egg and pan fried. SO good! I don’t usually add anything more to it because I eat it with a generous side of tabasco sauce (red hot desi alert! :mrgreen:) but sometimes I’ll throw in a few slices of tomato and onion with the cheese because i LOVE those two. Yours might be much more healthy so I’ll have to try it out. 😀

    Radhika – My brother and I used to make those! Except we deep fry it 😳 The house of Rajan LIVES to find ways to turn up the calorie content! But my god! fried bread with masala omelet on it. How can it get better?

    Shalini – lazy object! 😀 you’re clearly a girl after my own heart!

    Srinivas – a big yes to everything but upma. Bleh. I’ll never understand it.

    • pitu

      March 25, 2010 at 10:16 am

      You don’t like upma!! *confiscates Amrita’s South Indian card and replaces self in her place*. Come to Mumbai sometime, I shall take you to Mani’s for some peshal uppuma. MMMMMMMMMMMMMM!

      • Srinivas

        March 25, 2010 at 1:20 pm

        I know!!! First she says she does not like rice and now she goes ahead and disses upma.
        I want to complain to someone about this but I dont know who!!! 🙂

        • pitu

          March 25, 2010 at 3:37 pm

          Let’s start a ‘Ban Amrita from anyplace South of the Vindhyas’ campaign. We’ll ensure she’s stuck in gehun ka atta land :mrgreen:

  12. Amrita

    March 27, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    This does not seem to be a good time to admit that I also hate sambar. :mrgreen:

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