Bread Peas Masala – A sandwich of the ’60s

When bread is not a common food at home, when it visits homes only during days of sickness people were not aware of sandwiches here atleast in the coastal villages of Tamilnadu. Amma used to make a french toast occasionally and serve with a tomato chutney.

But the hotels during 1960’s were serving this wonderful dish. Appa is a great fan of this particular dish. Even though its very common and can be made anytime in a day now, those were the days when Appa used to visit his favorite hotel to give himself a treat. Appa was living on hotel food during his bachelor days of work. He is such a nice foodie (that should have go into my gene) as even in the remote village he worked, he was able to find places which serve good, quality and tasty food and he won’t mind walk/cycle miles to have them. Once he has said he used to visit a hotel sharp 10:30 AM everyday morning to have his hot plate of biriyani which would keep him full till 3 PM in the evening. He used to describe about how many hotels owners took efforts to serve good food. It was done as a ritual and those were the days when the owners walk around and monitor the service the entire working time. Those people know their customers by names and develop a nice wrap-around which made the customers hooked to their business for long term.

And coming to the title this particular dish contains 2 / 3 servings of Peas masala (recipe follows) and 2 large slices of crisply toasted bread. The peas masal would be in a slightly gravy consistency and not too dry. The bread peices are toasted with little ghee / butter till hard and crisp in slow flame in a tawa. Appa was able to describe it exactly even now.

This Sunday I treated appa with his favorite dish and he said its almost close to the original except that the peas masala was bit dry. But he enjoyed it thoroughly.


2 Slices of Sandwich bread

Fresh Green peas –  1 cup

Onion – thinly sliced 1 medium sized

Tomato – chopped 2 T spoon

Ginger & garlic paste – 1/2 tea spoon

Sambar podi – 1/2 tea spoon

Turmeric powder – 1 pinch

Salt – as per taste

Peanut oil – 1 T spoon

Butter / ghee – for toasting


How to make it ?

Apply ghee or butter on the bread slices and toast in a slow flame on a tawa until crisp and bit hard.

For the Peas masala:

In a thick bottomed vessel heat the peanut oil. Once hot add the ginger garlic paste and fry till they turn golden brown. Now add the sliced onions and saute till they turn pink. Add the tomatoes and cook till they turn mushy. Add the sambar podi and turmeric powder and salt and saute for 5 seconds. Now add the fresh peas. If you are using dried peas soak them in water overnight and pressure cook for 2-3 whistles and add it to the gravy. Saute all of them for 1-2 minutes till the peas wilt slightly. Add 1/2 cup of water and cook covered until the peas get cooked. If pre-cooked peas are used this time can be just enough for the entire mixture come together like a thick gravy. Decorate with chopped coriander leaves and take it off the stove.


Serve the warm bread slices along with the masala.

And coming to the fun part of this post Appa narrated an incident when he took his friend for a treat to that hotel. His friend is a person not so used to spoons and forks and this particular dish is served with a fork and a spoon. Somehow due to several visits appa have mastered the technique of using those “special instruments” to break the hard toasted bread but his poor friend is very new to these. After the waiter has served them Appa had demonstrated how to cut the bread using the fork and the spoon. When his friend tried the same steps (would have applied more force I think) the crispply toasted read slice flew like a flying saucer and landed exactly in the next table. You can imagine the after the effects but these two bachelors (my father having an innocent face) had somehow esacped before the situation turn furious 😉 We cannot stop laughing how many ever times we hear this incident!


9 comments on “Bread Peas Masala – A sandwich of the ’60s

  1. hey that i ssuch a lovely combo.. im taking a bite..

  2. great one..and a nice joke too..I can imagine how your appa’s friend must’ve felt…

  3. I like the first pic…..nice and simple recipe….and I enjoyed the narrative.

  4. lovely. we do this often with any leftover veggie, but peas do make this sandwich special. esp with ketchup.

  5. Nirmala, what a lovely story to go with a great recipe. I would love to try this.

  6. Looks like a wonderful idea! Nice idea of a different sandwich! 🙂

  7. You said it right. Bread was only for sick people. I used to crave for these sandwiches and my friend’s mom made the best ones. She makes it with aloo and peas. The mashed mixture is scooped onto a single slice. She then toasts the bread along with the filling. So its toasty filling on top with a crusty bread down. Yum!

  8. Couldn’t agree more on the sick people’s food part…even to this day by granny says the same when I ask her for bread in the evenings instead of chakli, and the other snack stuff. That is such a lovely pic Nirmala, loved it. Will surely try this.

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