Monday, February 15, 2010

Puffed up!

If you're from the North of India, you probably would understand the term 'bread puff'. In my ealiest memory,  the puff-maker was a bread toaster, with two concaved rhombuses to hold the bread and the stuffing. It had two long handles, one from the top and the other from the bottom, which locked near the end with a small hook-like contraption that could be swung to a tight closure.  This would be placed over an open flame, being turned often, and opened as often, to see if the bread was done. The perfect bread-puff had to have a brown hue and crustier sides (the part which I enjoyed most).

During my school days, this was a staple tiffin, my recess lunch, the stuffing usually being the remaining dry subzi of the previous night. Aloo was everyone's favourite. My personal combination was to have cheeni puff after every aloo puff. The cheeni puff had a thin layer of white sugar in between the bread slices. Though this puff would be thinner than those with other stuffings, it would also become crispier and sometimes, the sugar inside would even melt a little, remaining half-crunchy, half-absorbed into the spongy bread.

For best results, the bread had to have a generous layer of home-made ghee on both sides (in my later years I have begun to use flavoured olive oil), and the aromas of softly cooking bread, ghee and stuffing made a heady, redolent mix. After I shifted to Mumbai, I only saw the puff-maker at roadside sandwich-walas. When I shifted from a PG into my own place, it was the first kitchen equipment I wanted and I ended up getting the electric-type, with twin slots. Though the outcome is quite tasty, it never matches the puff-taste in my memory. I use this electric, twin-slot puff maker at least thrice a week for a quick breakfast, but I am also searching for a flame heated puff-maker to pander to the taste buds of my memory.

Here is one of the simplest, yet tastiest breakfast meals.
Potato-mash puff

For all puffs, you can lightly spread some olive oil on the outer layer of the bread.

Main ingredients

- 2 potatoes, boiled and mashed well (with the skin)
- 1 medium onion [chopped fine]
- 1 green chilli [chopped fine]
- 1 small cup of coriander leaves [chopped fine]

Other ingredients

- 1/2 tsp Chaat masala
- 1/4 tsp of aamchur
- 1/4 tsp of red chilli powder
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp Olive oil


Mash all the ingredients well to make the bread stuffing and puff till outsides are brown and crispy.

One can experiment with almost anything in a bread puff. If it can be eaten, it can probably be 'puffed'.

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