Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Noel's Bread Upma

Finger sandwiches look best crustless. After the DA marathon I am left with a mound of crusts. No many ideas come to mind short of sharing them with the birds. Many moons ago I was tasked to make crumbs out of crusts. Back then in Bombay breadcrumbs were usually a home-made item. Loaf ends, slices and crusts were either dried in the  noonday sun or in the oven, the former more often the latter. Wasting LPG gas on crumb-making was a nono! I would arrange bread on newspaper and lay it out on a sunny veranda. I was also tasked with shooing away errant birds that came for these morsels. After moving to the US, for years I ferried Progresso Breadcrumbs to Mum, her then crumb of choice. 

But I digress. No more crumb making for me. So these crusts will morph into one tasty treat...bread upma. I make it for breakfast or as a snack with tea. Pepperidge Farm bread has good texture, but the upma turns out well with sourdough, ciabatta or leftover garlic bread. My favorite upma recipe comes from Noel Louis. He effortlessly puts together a moist and spicy snack. A whole lot of onions, curry leaves and turmeric turn bread cubes into a delicious savory treat.

Makes 2 generous portions

4-5 cups Bread cubes (crusts and slices)
3 tablespoons Canola Oil 
A Pinch of Asafoetida (Hing)
1/2 teaspoon Mustard Seeds 
1 large Onion
5-6 Curry Leaves
1 Green Chile (more if you like it spicy)
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt 
1/2 cup fresh Cilantro leaves and stems
1/4 cup lightly fried or roasted Cashew Nuts (optional)

Dampen cubes by sprinkling a little water over them.

Chop onion into small chunks.

Slice green chile thinly.

Heat oil in saucepan or wok.

Add  asafoetida and mustard seeds. 

Once they splutter, add curry leaves, chopped onions, chile and turmeric. Saute a few minutes till onions are soft.

Add bread to onions and stir well to mix.

Season with salt.

Cover saucepan and cook bread on a very low flame for 5 minutes to let spices infuse.

Uncover, garnish with cilantro and cashew nuts and serve hot.

It's upma for lunch, carbs be damned! There is something so satisfying about these carbs laden with chile and spice. I break bread and give thanks to Noel for this gem.