The perfect canvas for a myriad of ingredients, bread is a beloved breakfast staple around the world. Each country has its toast tradition, some with enough indulgent ingredients to put desserts to shame and others with protein-rich additions that give supplements a run for their money. We’ve curated a list of unique toast recipes that you should add to your weekly breakfast menu. By Eshita Srinivas
Although it made headlines for its ongoing tryst with avocado and eggs, toast has several renditions around the world that are just as delicious. In fact, an ingredient or two can transform it from a lazy cook’s go-to snack to a restaurant-worthy meal. For inspiration, peek through the food plates of people around the world. While some cultures like burying the toast under a pile of butter and whipped cream, others like tossing it in a frying pan for an ASMR-worthy crunch. Here’s a roundup of toast recipes to add to your repertoire.
Make breakfasts your jam with these toast recipes from around the world
Kaya Toast, Singapore
This classic Singaporean breakfast toast is often served alongside coffee and soft-boiled eggs. It features two slices of toast, slathered with butter and coconut egg jam (kaya) and was believed to have been created by Hainanese immigrants who switched out western fruit jams that they’d served on British ships with ingredients available locally. While it’s hard to find bottled kaya in India, you could whip up a batch of your own with easy-to-source ingredients like coconut milk, eggs, caramel, and pandan (annapoorna) leaves.
Ogura Toast, Japan
This traditional sweet treat of a toast recipe features thickly sliced bread, butter (or margarine), ogura jam (sweet red bean paste), and whipped cream. It’s native to Nagoya and the surrounding Aichi prefecture in central Japan and is an indispensable part of the regions’ cuisines. You’ll also find it featured across the menus of cafes in the country as well. To make the ogura paste, slow-cook raw, red azuki beans in water with sugar and salt until it’s tender and aromatic. Store this in the refrigerator and you could whip up this toast every day.
Banh Mi Chien Tom, Vietnam
A popular street snack in Vietnam, this toast recipe is packed with cheesy, umami flavours and has the perfect crunch. They’re also common party snacks in the country and the local recipes are believed to borrow from those in China and Hong Kong. Ingredients include finely-chopped shrimp (leave the shell on for added crunch), toasted baguettes with butter, caramelised shallots, fish sauce, green onion, mayonnaise, cheddar cheese, and mozzarella cheese. This mixture is then deep-fried.
This classic Italian appetiser calls Tuscany its home and is believed to be the region’s own spin on bruschetta. Other sources state that it’s a predecessor to the bruschetta, with origins dating back to the Romans. In the local dialect, it’s called “la fetta unta” which translates to an oily slice of local rye bread. Ingredients include rye bread (pane Toscano), olive oil, garlic, and salt. Some enjoy rubbing a clove of garlic and salt over the bread before pouring the olive oil on top. Although you can substitute the bread for a thick, hardy alternative or alternative rye breads, for an authentic experience you could whip up the traditional option with rye, active dry yeast, and all-purpose flour. Serve your toast as is or as an accompaniment to ragu or stews.
Possibly one of the easiest treats to whip up for breakfast, this Dutch recipe involves bread and chocolate sprinkles. The term Hagelslag translates to hailstorm in Dutch and the toast is sweet, buttery, and crunchy. Although it comes in a variety of flavours, the classic recipe calls for chocolate sprinkles and is had for breakfast or as a snack throughout the day. This one’s so simple, it’s a must-try. Some renditions add a banana to the mix.
Toast Hawaii, Germany
Made popular in the 1950s, this recipe is incredibly popular in Germany and features ham, pineapple, maraschino cherry, and Swiss cheese. The perfect marriage of sweet and savoury, the recipe is quick and easy and shot to fame when a German cook whipped it up on a TV show, using a recipe that was brought to the country by American soldiers who ate a similar toast called a “spamwich.” Since spam wasn’t readily available in Germany, it was switched with ham. Once all the ingredients are assembled, the toast is broiled in an oven until the cheese melts. It’s common to add a dollop of fruit preserve right in the centre of the pineapple slice, instead of the cherry.
For an indulgent start to the morning, whip up this toast which is also known as Polish pizza and is believed to have been around since the 1970s. Featuring mushrooms, cheese, and a French baguette, all you need to do is assemble the ingredients and toast in an oven until the cheese melts and the bread gets crispy. It’s imperative to drizzle your creation with tomato ketchup, although mayonnaise or spicy pepper sauce is common as well. Some recipes include ham in the list of ingredients.
While we’re on the subject of indulgent recipes, we’d be remiss not to include this traditional Mexican number. Molletes calls for ingredients commonly found in a Mexican kitchen, such as refried beans, pico de gallo, eggs, and cheese. Some renditions call for avocado as well. Whip this up with leftovers from a Mexican dinner or prep your ingredients a week ahead to enjoy this one. Add or omit ingredients depending on what you’ve got on hand.
Toast Skagen, Sweden
Sweden’s version of shrimp toast, this healthy toast recipe is often served as an appetiser. Named after a fishing port in Northern Denmark, the recipe calls for creme fraiche, mayonnaise, shrimp, fresh dill, lemon, white pepper, and whitefish roe. Rich in protein, the shrimp salad (Skagenrora) is chilled in the refrigerator before being heaped on white bread toasted with butter. Some recipes substitute the shrimp with crab.
Pan Con Tomate, Spain
A delicious summer toast, this recipe calls for hearty bread, tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and salt. Originally Catalan, not Spanish, the dish is served alongside a hearty salad for dinner or on its own for breakfast and needs little-to-no cooking. To really drive the flavour home on this one, use fresh, high-quality ingredients. Elevate things by including anchovies, cheese, extra garlic or any other complementary ingredients.
Pan De Dulce De Leche, Argentina
Breakfast is a sweet affair in Argentina, featuring its most beloved spread dulce de leche. Traditionally made with milk, sugar, and vanilla, this caramel-like creation has a gooey consistency and is added to everything from desserts to pancakes. Condensed milk at its core, you can whip this up in no time and top your morning buttered toast with it for an indulgent treat.
Bombay Toast, India
Commonly known as the Indian version of a classic French toast, Bombay Toast is the perfect lazy summer breakfast toast and renditions of it are served across street food counters in the country. Ingredients include sugar, eggs, and milk while other recipes call for custard powder. The toast, unlike French toast, needs to be fried crisp and is inherently sweet. Savoury versions of the recipe call for the addition of turmeric, coriander, garam masala, and other Indian spices to the batter. You could choose to experiment with ingredients depending on what you’ve got on hand.
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