These savory French toast rollups filled with a flavorful aloo (potato) masala and served with two kinds of chutneys are easy to make, delicious, and perfect for Sunday brunch. Also includes recipes for a fresh & spicy green chutney made with cilantro & chilies, and a sweet & tangy chutney made with dates & tamarind.
So, I have this newfound love for French toasts. I say this because I was not particularly fond of them in my childhood. Shocking, right?! Now, I use the term “French toast” very loosely here. French toast as it is made in India is a uniquely Indian take on the real deal. We do not use brioches, challahs or other thick breads, but slices of a simple white sandwich loaf is dipped in a sweet eggy batter and pan-fried, usually in ghee or butter. Another very common interpretation you will find there is the savory French toast. Never heard of it? It’s absolutely delicious, especially if you add some onions, chilies and cilantro to the egg batter, dip the bread in this and fry it up, akin to an Indian omelette.
I am a sweet breakfast person and the only exception to that rule are eggs and a couple of my favorite Indian breakfasts like idlis or dosas. My mom, on the hand, is the master of savory. She has her French toasts and even oatmeal, you guessed it, savory.
When I wanted to make brunch last weekend, I had to use up either a quart of strawberries or some potatoes that were dangerously close to sprouting and turning into a real Mr.Potato-Head. I decided to go bold and chose the latter. I would stuff savory aloo masala (that’s your spiced Indian potato mash) into bread, dip it in an eggy batter and fry them to make savory French toasts. Once I got this idea into my head, there was no stopping me; hungry husband and kid be damned, I was perfecting this recipe right now and here!
They were perfect pan-fried till golden in some melted ghee, though you can use butter or regular cooking oil. But go with the ghee, it is just so good. Make sure to add a ton of cilantro in the egg batter, that way the outside of the toasts are not too plain. I love all the cilantro I can get and it goes really well with the aloo masala.
Now, let’s talk condiments. In a pinch, some tomato ketchup would do. Or sriracha, for the bold ones. But I decided to up my brunch game by making two beloved Indian chutneys – the fresh & spicy green chutney, and the sweet & tangy dates chutney. They are essential to Indian snacks and chaats and play really well with the flavors I had going on in my savory French toast. So do not be fooled by the number of steps in the recipe card below. They are actually not one or two, but three full recipes.
While making these rollups, I remembered my good friend Sonal, who has a semi-homemade event going on in her blog this week. We have been asked to come up with recipes that make use of some store-bought shortcuts like pastry dough, pie crust, etc. I hope a loaf of sandwich bread counts as well!
- Potato - 2 large
- Oil - 2 tsp
- Cumin seeds - ¼ tsp
- Red onion - ¼ cup, finely chopped
- Ginger - 2 tsp, finely chopped or grated
- Green chilies - 1, chopped (omit if serving to kids)
- Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
- Cumin powder - ½ tsp
- Garam masala powder - ½ tsp
- Salt - to taste
- Amchur powder - ¾ tsp (can replace with 2 tsp lemon juice)
- Cilantro - 2 tbsp, chopped
- Bread slices - 10-12
- Aloo masala - the above quantity, cooked
- Eggs - 2, large
- Milk - 4 tbsp
- Salt & pepper - to taste
- Cilantro - 3 tbsp, finely chopped
- Ghee, butter or oil - 2-3 tbsp
- Cilantro - 1 cup, roughly chopped
- Mint leaves - a few, optional
- Green chilies - 1-2 (as per heat desired)
- Ginger - a small piece
- Salt - ¼ tsp
- Water - as needed
- Dates - ½ cup, pitted and roughly chopped
- Tamarind - ¼ cup, seeds removed
- Water - 1½ cups, divided
- Red chili powder - ½ tsp
- Cumin powder - ½ tsp
- Dried ginger powder - ¼ tsp
- Salt - ½ tsp (or to taste)
- Aloo Masala Filling: Boil the potatoes, peel them and mash well. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and allow them to crackle.
- Then add onions, ginger and green chilies. Saute for a few minutes till onions soften and begin to turn translucent.
- Now add turmeric, cumin and garam masala powders and mix well. Tip in the mashed potatoes, season with salt and add amchur powder. Combine everything well to make sure there are no big lumps. (if you are using lemon juice instead of amchur powder, sprinkle it over the aloo masala now).
- Mix in the cilantro leaves and remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly before the next step.
- Savory French Toast Rollups: Remove the crust from all the bread slices. Roll each slice of bread with a rolling-pin to flatten it.
- Spread around 1 tbsp of filling on each slice of bread and roll it up tightly. Place on a large plate or tray, with seam sides down.
- Prepare egg batter by whisking together eggs, milk, salt, pepper and cilantro in a shallow bowl.
- Heat ghee (or butte or oil) in a large skillet over medium heat. Dip each rolled up bread slice in the egg batter and place on skillet, seam side down. Fry on each side for 2-3 minutes or till golden and crisp. Remove to a plate and keep warm. Do the frying in batches if you have to, dipping the bread only just before frying them.
- Serve hot with green chutney and dates chutney. Recipes follow.
- Green chutney: Blend the ingredients together with a little bit of water. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove to a bowl and serve with the rollups. Keeps well in the fridge for a few days.
- Dates Chutney: Soak dates in 1 cup of warm water for 15 minutes. Soak tamarind in ½ cup of warm water in another bowl for 15 minutes.
- Prepare tamarind pulp by blending tamarind in water and straining it.
- Take dates and the water it was soaking in, and tamarind pulp in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook till dates are very soft and mixture is slightly thick, 5-8 minutes. Add red chili, cumin and dried ginger powders.
- Transfer to a blender, add salt and blend to a smooth paste. Taste and adjust seasoning. Strain the chutney, remove to a bowl and serve with the rollups. Keeps well in the fridge for a few days.
Enjoy some warm and delicious savory French toast rollups with the spicy green chutney and tangy-sweet dates chutney.
You can cut down on the prep time by doing a bit of multi-tasking by soaking the dates and tamarind for chutney while making the aloo masala. But trust me, once you have these recipes mastered, you will keep going back to them again and again. They are so good!
I think the dates and tamarind chutney slightly edged out the green chutney as my favorite. But wait, I think my favorite was actually mixing both chutneys like you would do in a chaat plate, dipping the rollups in this and enjoying them. Yum!
Make these for your next brunch or even as an evening snack. Add a cup of hot tea or coffee and you are all set!
So, tell me, have you made French toast rollups? Are you a sweet or savory person? Do share.
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