East meets West: How to Make Hong Kong-style French Toast with a Touch of ‘Golden Berries’ | Eat Drink
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KUALA LUMPUR, May 22 – Tough times demand comfort food and personal care. What better way to take care of yourself than with the familiar flavors of your childhood?
Sheltering in place means I spend more time in my kitchen. As I looked through my pantry, I realized I had a surplus of eggs. It reminded me of what my mom used to do when there were too many eggs in the house.
No, it wasn’t an omelet. Instead, as a special treat, she made us French toast. Not the French toast we associate with brunch coffees, with lovers of thinly sliced fruit and dollops of whipped cream.
It was something simpler, more suited to his frugal nature (a trait I realize as I show the older I get). A French toast plus egg, with crispy edges, almost tempura.
My family did not drink fresh milk, so there was none at home. No cream either, of course. It was a more basic take that avoids making a custard.
The one who feels more right, for me at least. It’s remarkably similar to what you get in Hong Kong cha chaan teng but it has always tasted of Malacca for me, and not of a distant city.
This humble French toast tastes like home.
Of course, now that I a m older, I can’t help but worry a bit about the recipe. I doubt my toast is as good as my mom’s version, but a little twist helps bring more of me to it, more of my own life experiences.
Readers with fond memories or those who pay close attention may notice that I incorporate berry compote into a lot of my recipes. On the one hand, it’s always good to make a jackpot and go through it quickly, using every spoonful creatively.
Homemade berry compote is delicious to spread on bread (of course!) Or as a garnish for granola. Cereal and smoothie bowls. A tea with very berry flowers, even.
But mostly because I have a lot of berry compote at home and I need to know how to enjoy it otherwise. The frugal approach to his pantry can offer wealth, if you look at it enough.
Sometimes it can be as simple as adding an extra ingredient, a new element to brighten up what you’re slowly getting bored of. A square of full cream, unsalted butter in this case.
Rather than using corn syrup used by professional kitchens, a generous knob of rich butter can also add a nice shine to your berry compote, especially if you dilute it with a little water to create a decadent sauce.
The magic of the pantry just uses whatever we have on hand, you see.
This modest but beautiful French toast (if you ask me) is a bit East meets West: it tastes like the house I grew up in, and it tastes like the house I have. made in the years to come.
FRENCH TOAST WITH GOLDEN BERRIES
My version of the Hong Kong-style French toast here uses three standard-sized slices of bread, the type we would normally get when we buy a loaf of bread from our neighborhood bakery.
If you’d rather slice your bread at home (and have a trusty bread knife – not rusty! -) then definitely cut two thicker slices (just like the bona fide Hong Kong kind. cha chaan teng would use) instead.
In such a scenario, you might be tempted to layer twice the amount of peanut butter between these two larger slices, but a word of advice: take it slow. Too much peanut butter and the excess can spill out during frying. Pieces of burnt melted peanut butter don’t make a good French toast.
For bread, opt for softer and softer breads such as pain au lait or brioche. Hokkaido-style milk bread is especially good when you go the thick cut route. But honestly? Even sourdough or whole grain bread would taste good, albeit coarser in texture.
When plating, Hong Kong-style French toast is usually topped with a cube of butter or copious amounts of condensed milk. Since there is already butter incorporated into the golden berry sauce, I omit other dairy products for the toast, otherwise we would really brown the lily here.
Ingredients: golden berry sauce
1 tbsp unsalted butter
250g berry compote (click here for the recipe)
Ingredients: French toast
3 slices of square bread (e.g. milk bread or brioche)
1 teaspoon of sugar
Neutral cooking oil
Golden berry sauce, for garnish (see above)
To make the golden berry sauce, first melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, stir in the berry compote and a little water (to dilute the compote to the desired consistency for the sauce) until everything is combined. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Spread a generous amount of peanut butter on two slices of bread. Sandwich them with the third slice in the middle. To create a neat square shape, cut off the crusts from all four sides.
In a shallow dish, whisk the eggs with the sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Lightly soak your sandwich in the egg mixture. Just a few seconds; you don’t want the sandwich to be soggy and the soft bread to fall apart. Make sure each side is coated.
Heat the cooking oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. You opt for shallow frying, so not too much oil.
Place the sandwich in the pan and cook until golden brown before turning it over to the other side. Once the other side is also golden brown, use a pair of pliers to press the sides of the sandwich against the hot oil so that even those parts are fried as well.
Remove from the pan. Place the French toast on paper towels to soak up any excess oil before plating. Pour the golden berry sauce over the toast and serve immediately.
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