Quick and Easy Bread Snacks

Sundays afternoon siestas are so divine. A happy tummy, the nip in the weather and an obliging baby who sleeps without throwing any tantrum is my idea of a perfect prologue to a siesta these days. Our household stirs out of this solemn ritual at around 5 pm. I always wake up with the feeling of wanting to snack on something. Well, gone are the days when I used to lazily loll out of the bed and ask mom what she was making for tea. But I am not complaining, I love experimenting in my kitchen and I love the fact that whatever I make shall be accepted, no matter how inedible that is!

So today was one of those Sundays when my mind was debating on whether to go for sweet or savoury for tea. I opened the fridge and caught myself staring at the packet of brown bread that the husband had bought for our birding trip. Again I was assailed by the thought of ways to cook with bread. A number of recipes came to my mind. But I was still in that just-out-of-sleep mode and did not want to make anything elaborate or which involved much activity. 

But the question of sweet or savoury still remained to be settled. Now, my mother-in-law has a massive sweet tooth, my husband has a ‘medium’ size sweet tooth, mine is a size small and my father-in-law has zero tolerance for sweets! I counted the number of bread slices and came up with a great idea to kill both birds with one stone. How about making 3/4th of the bread for something sweet and 1/4th for savoury? Brilliant, isn’t it?  

I will go on a tangent here, but I love to watch cookery shows (is that a surprise?). Earlier I used to watch the program Top Chef and nowadays I am into Masterchef Australia. I like it when they are given only a few minutes to come up with their dishes. Sometimes I put myself into their shoes and think what I would have cooked if I was given 10 or 15 minutes. I tried that concept today. I pretended that I have been given 10 minutes and I have to produce two dishes, one sweet and the other savoury, with bread being the prime ingredient. Here is what I came up with – Bread Halwa (or maybe pudding?) and Bread Upma. Both these dishes took just 10 minutes, not more, and I was happy with the outcome. You can, of course, make them more exciting with a lot more ingredients. The quantity I have mentioned in my ingredients list is good enough for 1 or 2 persons. You can increase the number of bread slices as per your requirement. Also, I removed the edges of the bread slices to get a more even consistency. So, here goes my basic recipe for both these dishes.

Bread Halwa

5-6 bread slices, soaked in water and the excess water squeezed off
½ cup condensed milk (you can also use milk and sugar) or as per your sweetness quotient
2 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter)
7-8 raisins

Mash the water-soaked bread. Now, heat up 1 tablespoon of ghee in a kadai and add the mashed bread to it. Stir well till some of the water in the bread evaporates. Do not let the bread stick to the bottom of kadai. Next, pour in the condensed milk and stir. Add the raisins and take the halwa off the gas. Drizzle another tablespoon of ghee over the halwa and serve hot.

Bread Upma

5-6 bread slices, soaked in water and the excess water squeezed off
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 green chilli, chopped
1 tablespoon refined oil
1 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter)
Salt to taste

As in the halwa, mash the water-soaked bread. Splutter the mustard seeds in the refined oil in a heated kadai and add the chopped onions and green chilli. Fry till the onions turn brown. Then add the turmeric powder and stir. Now, tip in the mashed bread, add salt and stir some more. If the bread mixture is too watery, let some of the water evaporate. Pour 1 tablespoon of ghee before taking the upma off the gas. Serve hot.

Now, wasn’t that easy enough to be cooked in 10 minutes? You can add dry fruits to the halwa and different vegetables to the upma to make them more interesting. 

We had a happy and satisfied household with these two easy and quick dishes this Sunday. How about making some for your family the next time you have only 10 minutes to spare?


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