Eight Ways to Start the Day

Remember breakfast? No, not some skimpy continental affair, nor those instant meals where all you do is add water, but a real breakfast. Breakfasts with Halwa Pori, Cholay, Parathay, Sunny side up eggs, Omelet, grilled meat, muffins, biscuits, - all served in dinner style with Chutney and some gravy. 

Breakfasts like this have fueled Pakistani families for generations, and though such hearty cooking is too filling and time-consuming to be eaten regularly by most modern working people, it is just the thing to warm the body and soul on a frigid winter's morning. These traditional breakfasts like Halwa Pori, connect us to the roots of Pakistani food, to a time when the good life comprised little more than working hard and eating well.

Preparing such breakfasts are much complex than slipping a piece of bread in the toaster, it is not nearly as time consuming as you might expect. You can make a hearty breakfast by using leftover meat from the previous night. 

A sure way to make a breakfast meal would be to serve it in courses, so that you include everything in the most important meal of the day. Have a hot cereal before eggs and later, serve, Egg Halwa as simple dessert.

Most people don't like cooking first thing in the morning. Many of these recipes don't take a lot of time and are so tasty. All recipes make 4 servings.

1. Scrambled Eggs with Cheese

Beat together 8 large eggs, 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, salt, pepper, and 3 tablespoons milk. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over high heat until foamy and add the eggs. When a film of egg sets up across the bottom of the pan about 5 seconds, move it toward the center with a spatula. Continue in this way, until all the egg is mostly set but still quite wet. turn heat to low, sprinkle 4 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese over the eggs, cover the pan, and cook for 30 seconds more. Fold the egg over itself.

2. Grilled Tomatoes

Cut 2 large tomatoes in 3/8-inch slices. Brush with 1/4 cup melted butter and season liberally with salt and pepper. Grill 2 minutes per side and serve with eggs.

3. Stir-Fried Scrambled Eggs with Shrimp

In a wok, stir-fry 1 cup cleaned, shelled baby shrimps, and 1/4 clove minced garlic in 2 tablespoons hot oil until shrimps are opaque. Add 6 eggs beaten with 1 tablespoon water, salt, pepper, and 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce. As eggs set on the floor of the wok, scrape up with a spatula until all the egg is set.

4. Real Good French Toast

Beat together 1/4 cup maple syrup, 4 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and a pinch each of grated nutmeg, and salt. Soak 8 thick slices bakery quality white bread in the custard until all has been absorbed. Brown in the batches over moderate heat, in 4 to 6 tablespoons unsalted butter. Serve with honey or sautéed fruit salad.

5. Sautéed Fruit Salad

In a pan, warm 3 cups chopped fruit (cherries, berries, peaches, plums, bananas, apples), 1 tablespoon butter, and 2 teaspoons sugar until fruit becomes shiny and starts to release its liquid. Remove fruit from pan and deglaze pan with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Serve immediately. 

6. Orange Butter

Beat 1/4 pound butter until light and fluffy. Beat in 1/4 cup sweet orange marmalade, 2 teaspoons frozen orange juice concentrate, and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Use as a spread or a topping for French toasts.

7. Real Oatmeal

In a heavy saucepan, bring 4 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil. Slowly add 1 cup oatmeal, stirring constantly. Do not allow the water to stop boiling. Cook oatmeal briskly until water starts to cloud. Turn down to a bare simmer, partially cover the pan, and simmer 30 minutes more, stirring briefly every 10 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 2 tablespoons butter, if desired. Serve with cold milk, cream, or buttermilk.

8. Muesli Cereal

In a large deep iron skillet, mix 2 cups quick or old-fashioned oatmeal, 1 cup slivered almonds, 1/2 cup sesame seeds, 1/2 cup flaked coconut, and 1/2 cup wheat germ. Stir until small pieces begin to color lightly, remove from heat, and continue stirring until cereal is uniformly lightly toasted. Stir in 1 cup raisins and a pinch of salt. Cool completely and store in a tightly closed container. Eat as is or in a bowl with milk. This makes 5 1/2 cups or about 8 servings.

Enjoy your first most important meal of the day and be energetic all day!!

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