Food says a lot about a culture; it's essentially a defining feature. I love finding new recipes, but I also love finding out what is behind the recipes. Like the Vietnamese banh mi, a French-style bread roll that is most commonly filled with shreds of barbecued meat and strings of asian vegetables. The baguette-like roll that holds this filling is a product of French colonialism in Indochina. As a history buff, it's pretty cool to think of such a cultural fusion and even cooler to think that it has become an infamous street food star!
Rabanadas are not so much a cultural fusion but I think of them as an awesome mix between french toast and a doughnut. I've never been a lover of french toast, or doughnuts actually, but when I saw this recipe in SBS Feast magazine, I knew I would be making it for breakfast the next day. Rabanadas are traditionally made with one or two-day-old bread, because stale bread absorbs the milk far better than fresh, moist bread. Once cooked, you'll find that this milk soaking ensures a deliciously tender centre while a quick dip in the egg makes for a cripsy outside. (That is unlike french toast, which I often find to have a kind of mushy centre because the eggs soak right into the centre of the bread.) Having been (essentially) deep-fried, the rabanadas are deliciously crispy and are then encased by the perfect ratio of sugar and spice. The wedges of lemon totally complete this dish as the juice cuts through the sweetness to compliment the fried bread perfectly.
What you'll need:
4 x 3cm-thick slices of ciabatta or sourdough
3 eggs, lightly beaten
110g caster sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 lemon, cut into wedges
What to do:
Pour the milk into a shallow bowl and put the lightly beaten eggs into a separate shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon, set aside. It's also a good idea to grab a plate and top it with paper towel. Set this one aside for later too.
Place bread slices into the milk and allow to soak for 1 minute, before turning over and allowing the other side to soak for a minute. Remove and transfer to a plate or place back onto your chopping board.
Pour oil into a large frypan until it is around 3cm deep. Heat this oil over medium-high heat and, after a few minutes, drop a breadcrumb in to see if the oil is hot enough. If the crumb sizzles immediately you are ready to fry!
Dip each slice into the egg and turn to coat. Carefully place the slices into the oil and allow to cook for a minute or until golden. Turn and cook on the other side until golden.
Once both sides are beautiful and golden, transfer bread to a plate with paper towel to drain. Once the fried slices have cooled a little, place into the cinnamon sugar and turn a few times to coat. Place rabanadas on a serving plate and give a final (generous) sprinkle of sugar. Serve with lemon wedges and enjoy!