Bread is the essence of every cuisine around the world. In India, it is enjoyed by the natives as roti, which is flat, unleavened bread and has no rising agent like baking powder or yeast. Thanks to the British, the yeast bread was introduced to India. The natives were flabbergasted to see such a tall bread loaf. Politely they called it Double-roti , even though it was about hundred times the height of roti !

The true charm of Indian cuisine is it never rejects any food for its foreign origin, but the food is just cleverly transformed with spices and herbs to suit the local taste and food habits.

Bread is no exception to the rule. While the British had their cucumber sandwiches with the afternoon tea, the native Indians innovated the spicy chutney sandwiches. Bread is used in a variety of ways besides making sandwiches.

Here are some interesting ways to enjoy bread-Indian style

Bread Uppit (Diced bread coated with spices)

10 slices of bread
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2-3 green chilies (minced)
1 small onion (diced)
10-12 curry leaves (optional)
½ cup peanuts ( unsalted)
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon cilantro
1 tablespoon coconut (unsweetened)

Cut bread slices into ½ inch cubes and keep aside.

In a large pan, heat oil and add cumin seeds. Wait till it sizzles and changes color. Add the chilies and stir for 30 seconds. Add the peanuts and onions and cook for 4-5 minutes till the onions are translucent.

While the onions are being cooked, add salt, sugar and lime juice to the bread cubes and mix well. Add turmeric powder to the onion mixture and mix well and then add the bread cubes. On low heat, mix all the ingredients well so the bread cubes are well coated with the spice infused oil. Cover the lid and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Serve piping hot, sprinkled with cilantro and coconut.

Hema' Hints:

It is great breakfast food and excellent as a snack too. This recipe tastes best with stale sourdough bread.

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Grilled Potato sandwiches

This is ahealthy alternative to grilled cheese sandwiches.

2 potatoes (baked and grated)
1 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon garlic (minced)
1-2 green chilies (minced)
2 bunches of spring onions ( chopped)
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt to taste
8 slices bread

Heat oil in pot and add garlic and chilies. Cook for 1 minute and then add spring onions. Cook for 2-3 minutes.

Next throw in the potato, lime juice, sugar and salt and cook it for 5-6 minutes. Smear two tablespoon of the potato mix to the bread slice and place another slice over it. Grill these bread slices in sandwich maker. Repeat with the other slices of bread.

Serve it with tomato ketchup.

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Veggie chops

1 cup cauliflower florets
3 medium size potato
2 cups peas
½ beet
1 teaspoon ginger
2-3 green chilies
1 tablespoon lime juice
3 slices of bread
salt to taste
1 cup bread crumbs
½ cup oil

Cook potatoes, cauliflower, potato, peas and beet in a pressure cooker for 4 minutes, or cook them in boiling water for 10 minutes.

With a potato smasher, make a coarse paste of all the cooked vegetables. Grate ginger and chilies or make a fine mince of it. Add this mix to the veggie blend along with salt and lime juice.

Dip the bread slice in water and squeeze the water out of it. Add the bread lump to the veggie mix. Make small oval shaped patties, about 1 inch thick and dip them in bread crumbs. Bread acts as a binding agent with the mashed vegetables to make chops.

In a small fry pan, place the veggie chops and drizzle ¼ teaspoon oil around and over the chops. Flip them over and cook them till a firm dark brown crust forms.

Serve hot with onion rings and green cilantro chutney

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Bread Pakoda

Bread squares are dipped in batter and deep fried to make a fun snack.

6 bread slices
1 cup rice flour
1 cup water
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
¼ teaspoon cumin seed powder
¼ teaspoon coriander seed powder
1 teaspoon cilantro leaves finely chopped
Salt to taste
Oil for frying

Make four squares of each bread slice. Make a smooth paste of rice flour and the spices with a cup of water. Heat the oil in a fry pan.

Take the bread pieces and dip them in the flour batter and immediately slide it into the hot oil. Fry these bread pieces till golden brown.

Serve hot with tomato ketchup.

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Ribbon sandwiches

A gourmet sandwich for your next party with bread and chutney's.

12 slices of bread ( Buttermilk or potato bread)

Green chutney

1 bunch cilantro
1 tablespoon coconut (unsweetened)
1-2 green chilies
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt to taste

Red chutney

½ cup tomato ketchup
½ teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon ginger paste
¼ teaspoon red chili powder

Make a smooth paste of all the ingredients in the green chutney in the blender. Use as little water as possible to keep the blender running. Keep aside.

Heat a small pan and add oil. Throw in the ginger paste and stir it for 1 minute. Add the tomato ketchup and chili powder and remove from heat.

Take 3 slices of bread. Remove the edges. Apply a tablespoon of green chutney to one slice. Place another slice of bread on it. Apply red chutney to the other bread slice and place it on the sandwich. Now cut the sandwich diagonally.

Repeat with all the other slices too.

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Shahi Tukda

Here pretty shaped bread pieces are deep fried and served with chilled aromatic sweet sauce. A dessert fit for royalty.

3 cups half and half
5-6 cashew
¾ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
4-5 cardamom pods
¼ teaspoon saffron strands
1 tablespoon almonds, chopped and roasted
12 bread slices
Oil for deep frying

Heat milk in a big thick bottomed pan. Make a paste of the cashew with a little milk and add it to the milk. Add sugar and cook it for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add nutmeg and cardamom powder. Keep aside to cool.

Make fancy flower shapes on the bread with a cookie cutter and deep fry these flower shaped bread to a golden brown. Remove from the fry pan and repeat with the rest.

Just before serving place the fried bread on a plate and ladle a tablespoon of the aromatic milk on it. Take a couple of saffron strands and gently crush them and sprinkle on the bread and milk.

Finally garnish with chopped roasted almonds.

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