Loaf Bread was not a great choice in Indian homes: one only resorted to bread if one was not feeling too well or if there was paucity of time to make the regular chapattis. Our mothers and elders not only fed the family members with love but also relatives and friends who visited.
Our grannies and mothers cooked food throughout the day making snacks, meals, the day to day masala mixes and lot more. On special demands kheer, fruit salad, ladoos, cakes were all made at home and with cooking they even experimented and learnt some tricks too. Most of it was home cooked and seldom food was purchased from outside.
Without the internet and Google then, sharing and borrowing recipes and documenting them in dairies was common. Living in cosmopolitan cities gave an opportunity of meeting people from different cities, of different cultures, different languages and different food habits. All this gave opportunities to understand people and in turn an opportunity to learn new recipes too. It’s like that a person living in northern India, with a south Indian friend around him, learns how to make fluffy idlis and dosas and relishing them with tangy sambhar.
A neighbor would bake stuffed bread which she used to make just as a treat for her kids. Taking a bit of assistance from my husband, who had faint recollections of his childhood treats. A new recipe was formulated. An entire unsliced loaf was procured and then with a knife a rectangular window was carved out, then very carefully the bread was scooped out. Then a stuffing of boiled potatoes, chopped onions, beans and carrots, green bell peppers tempered with a little chilli and garam masala was made they even at times, boiled eggs, cut very fine were also added to the mixture and finally with some bits of chicken too were added to the stuffing. This was very carefully stuffed in the belly of the bread using a long spoon, sealed the end with a well carved out rectangular piece of bread and finally brushed with butter and baked in the oven. Voila! The stuffed bread was ready to be devoured with love and nostalgia.
1 Standard sized unsliced loaf
2 large potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 carrot, grated
10-15 French beans, cut in small pieces
200g boneless chicken, chopped marinated in lemon juice, salt,
½ tsp garam masala
1 tsp chilli powder
Butter, sugar, salt as required