Today, I'm sharing my mom's delicious Savoury French Toast that I like to call as Spicy Bombay Toast. Think green - fresh mint, coriander, green chillies with aromatics and my favourite fennel seeds!
We call this eruville rotti vaatiye (spicy bread toast) in malayalam! This easy savoury french toast recipe involves dipping bread slices in a herb-infused egg mixture and pan-frying until deliciously toasted. Growing up, this or the sweet classic version was always a weekend pre-breakfast or snack after school kinda dish.
This is my mom's spicy french toast recipe but like always she never shares exact measurement. And I don't share a recipe on this blog without making sure you can recreate it any number of times. I understand when some friends and relatives say they don't measure. I make notes each time I attempt so that I have a data to fall back, to rework, etc. This way there is no wastage and I can easily double or triple the recipe based on it.
If you are a savoury-for-breakfast kinda person like me, then this herb french toast recipe is going to be your new favourite. Trust me.
- Fresh herbs: I have used only mint and coriander.
- Ginger or garlic: You can either use ginger or garlic or both but avoid ginger garlic paste if possible. But in a crunch, you may use the paste.
- Green chillies: increase or reduce as per taste
- Mini shallots: You may use red onions
- Fennel seeds: You may use cumin instead but I highly recommend fennel seeds!
- Eggs: If you want to avoid eggs, you can substitute with about 2 tablespoon of any flour or custard powder.
- Full-fat milk: I have not tried with other kinds
- Salt and pepper: as per taste
- Bread: a stale bread (more on it below)
- Butter: unsalted. If using salted butter, then adjust salt in the batter or use ghee
This recipe took some time to perfect. My mom's savoury French toast often had visible chunks of green chilies or onions, which we enjoyed. But I aimed to ensure every toast was consistently packed with the same amount of flavors. So like my Kadala curry recipe, I can boldly say this is better than mom's recipe! Hope you will try this recipe and share your feedback as always!
Let's see how to make savoury french toast!
Firstly, prepare the green paste. Add all the ingredients into a grinder or food processor and grind to a paste. It won't get smooth but continue grinding until no big chunks. You may add a splash of milk to get it to process better.
It won't get smooth but continue grinding until no big chunks. You may add a splash of milk to get it to process better.
Transfer the content into a bowl. Add a portion of the milk into the jar and shake well. This is to get every bit of greens out of it. Pour the content into the same bowl (I prefer to use brownie pan or pie dish)
Add the eggs, remaining milk, salt and ground black pepper.
Whisk this mixture until combined and no large traces of egg yolk strands remain.
Heat a flat pan over medium heat. Add some butter and spread it all over the pan. Dunk a bread slice into the egg mixture for about 10 to 20 seconds. Repeat each side and place it on the hot greased skillet. You may use your fingertips or a spoon to keep the bread slices dunked. Repeat with bread slices as much as the pan can hold.
Toast on medium heat until golden brown on both sides. Takes about out 1 to 3 minutes on each side depending on the thickness of your bread.
Cooking time may vary depending on the bread's thickness and density and how much egg it has soaked up.
How to make the spicy Bombay toast? I had mentioned in my French Toast recipe that I go with "every 1 egg needs ¼ cup liquid" formula. So, the ¼ cup liquid can be a mixture of milk and cream or all milk. For the savoury version though, as we are making a green paste, that counts as the "liquid". Keep that in mind when making a large batch.
- Fresh Mint Leaves: You can substitute fresh mint leaves with dried mint leaves, although the flavour won't be as vibrant. You could also try using fresh basil or parsley for a different twist.
- Green Chillies: This complements the herbs but if you don't have, you can skip it or use red chillies or chilli flakes.
- Ginger: Ground ginger or ginger paste can be used as a substitute. Use approximately ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger for every ¼ inch of fresh ginger.
- Garlic Cloves: Garlic powder or garlic paste can be used as a substitute. Use about ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder or ¼ teaspoon of garlic paste for each clove of garlic.
- Fennel Seeds: If you don't have fennel seeds, you can try using cumin seeds or caraway seeds for a different flavour.
- Mini Shallots/Red Onion: You can replace mini shallots or red onion with regular onion or scallions. Adjust the quantity to your taste.
- Full-Fat Milk: Whole milk can be substituted with low-fat or skim milk if you prefer a lighter option. Alternatively, you can use plant-based milk like almond milk or soy milk.
- Eggs: You can skip the eggs and use custard powder. Prepare the custard per pack instructions.
- Butter or Ghee: Use cooking oil or cooking spray as a substitute for butter or ghee if you want a lighter option.
- Bread Slices: Stale bread is preferred, but you can use fresh bread if that's what you have.
I have already tried these variations in my Spicy Bombay Toast recipe and we loved it:
- Cheese slices: Add a layer of grated cheese (cheddar, parmesan cheese, mozzarella, or your favorite cheese) between two slices of bread before dipping them in the egg mixture. This creates a gooey, cheesy center when cooked.
- Protein: Include a protein element such as cooked chicken, turkey, or even beef bacon to make it heartier.
To make this spicy Bombay Toast, you'll need some basic kitchen equipment:
- Mixing Bowl: A medium-sized mixing bowl for preparing the egg mixture.
- Mini Mixie or Food Processor: This is essential for grinding the green paste. If you don't have one, a mortar and pestle can work as well, although it might require more effort.
- Whisk: To whisk and combine the egg mixture thoroughly.
- Flat Pan or Skillet: A non-stick flat pan or cast iron skillet for toasting the bread slices.
- Spatula: Use a spatula for flipping the toast while it's cooking to ensure even browning.
If you have any leftovers or want to prepare your savoury french toast in advance, here's how you can store it:
- Refrigeration: Place any leftover Bombay toast in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.
- Freezing: If you'd like to store it for a longer period, you can freeze the Bombay toast. Place the individual slices on a tray and freeze until they're solid. Then, transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or a container. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 1-2 months.
- Reheating: To reheat refrigerated or frozen Bombay toast, you can use a toaster or oven:
- Oven: Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and warm the toasts for a few minutes until it's heated through.
- Toaster: Add two slices of toast and press the Defrost settings with the knob pointing at 2.
Remember that the texture of reheated Bombay toast may not be as perfect as when freshly made, but it's still a tasty option for a quick meal.
In the 90s, every mom in India probably used good old white bread or milk bread to make Bombay toast. Whatever bread you are using, make sure it is at least a day old which makes the best french toast. I love to use brioche french toast, normal white bread or brown bread or store-bought baguette!
What can go wrong with French toast? You can end up with either a dry or soggy outcome. I've experienced both! Dry toast results from insufficiently soaking the bread in the egg mixture. Soggy toast is the result of over-soaking and inadequate cooking. Dry French toast has a dry center while soggy wet and heavy in the middle due to incomplete cooking.
What to serve with savoury french toast? I grew up having spicy Bombay toast with a cup of chai and so continues even today. But I would suggest you can add some assorted cheese board along with the toasts for a fancy breakfast spread.
Looking for other recipes using mint and coriander? Try these:
Savoury French Toast | Spicy Bombay Toast
For the green paste
- ½ cup fresh mint leaves tightly packed
- ½ cup Fresh coriander leaves
- 2 to 3 green chillies
- ¼ inch ginger
- 2 garlic cloves
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- 3 to 4 mini shallots ½ a small red onion
For the batter
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup full-fat milk
- salt and pepper to taste
For the toast
- 6 to 8 bread slices stale preferred - meaning a day or two old
- 1 to 2 tablespoons butter or ghee to pan-toast the bread slices
Prepare the batter
- Prepare the green paste by adding all the ingredients into a mini mixie or food processor and grind to a paste. It won't get smooth but continue grinding until no big chunks. You may add a splash of milk to get it to process better.½ cup fresh mint leaves, ½ cup Fresh coriander leaves, 2 to 3 green chillies, ¼ inch ginger, 2 garlic cloves, ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, 3 to 4 mini shallots
- Transfer the content into a bowl (big enough to fit the sliced bread)
- Add a portion of the milk into the mixie jar and shake well to get every bit of greens out of it.
- Pour the content into the same bowl (I prefer to use brownie pan or pie dish)
- Add the eggs, remaining milk, salt and pepper and whisk this mixture until combined and no large traces of egg yolk strands remain.3 large eggs, ½ cup full-fat milk, salt and pepper to taste
Prepare the toast
- Heat your favourite flat pan with some butter and spread it all over the pan1 to 2 tablespoons butter
- Dunk one bread slice into the egg mixture for about 10 to 20 seconds on each side and place it on the hot greased skillet. You may use your fingertips or a spoon to keep the bread slices dunked. Repeat with bread slices as much as the pan can hold.6 to 8 bread slices
- Toast on medium heat until golden brown on both sides which is for about 1 to 3 minutes on each side depending on the thickness of your bread. Cooking time can vary based on thickness and density of bread as well as the amount of egg soaked into the bread.
- Remove and stack on the serving plate with more butter or ketchup. Serve with my hot cuppa chai! or use it to make a cheese sandwich!