This dish brings back waves of nostalgia. Growing up, bread upma was my favorite hot after-school snack. What's not to like - it has a perfect balance of sweet and salty, and just a bit of kick from the green chilis (which you can easily omit). You don't want to load this up with too many spices, or you'll completely lose the subtle flavor of the bread.
Growing up, mom used to make this dish to use up leftover bread, and all we had was white bread. To keep the bread from completely turning to mush, Mom used to use a healthy dose of oil (I'm sure Mom disagrees). No, I'm not complaining -- oil-fried bread? Yum! These days, I'm trying to eat a bit lighter, and I like bread with texture, so I have adapted this recipe a bit. I use day (or week) old Ciabatta bread. I love the way the bread thirstily soaks up the tomato mixture, and yet holds its integrity. Yes, leave the crust on!
As go other ingredients, I like red onions here, for color, and sweetness. Also, I think turmeric makes this dish. If you don't like it that much, use half the amount. I think skin-on spanish peanuts would be fabulous, but I didn't have any in the pantry, so I used regular split roasted, salted peanuts instead.
If you are stressed out about carbo-loading, then you can add in some more nuts. Also, a nice olive-oil fried egg on top would just be great! I hope we still have some leftovers; I know what I'll be having for breakfast.
For today, it was a perfect evening snack with a nice cup of strong Indian Chai.
Indian-style Bread salad (Bread Upma)
Serves 2 as a meal; 4 as a snack
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3 cups cubed day-old Ciabatta bread
1/2 red onion, chopped (1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno (or serrano) chili, diced
1 roma tomato, diced (1 cup)
1 cup frozen green peas
1/2 tsp turmeric
3/4 or 1 tsp kosher salt (depending on taste and salt-level in your bread)
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup peanuts
cilantro, for garnish, and to taste
1. Heat olive oil in medium saucepan. Add cumin seeds. Fry 30 seconds. Add onion, garlic, chili, and salt. Saute 5 minutes till onions wilt and color slightly. Add turmeric. Saute 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and saute 2-3 minutes till they turn pulpy. Add sugar and green peas, cook a few more minutes.
2. Add bread cubes. Stir gently, but thoroughly to coat with the tomato-onion mixture. Saute a few minutes till bread absorbs some of the tomato pulp. Squeeze lime juice, add chopped cilantro and peanuts, stir well and serve. Pass extra lime slices on the side.