Hong Kong French Toast

4 eggs
2/3 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dash of salt
3 cups panko bread crumbs
Canola oil for deep fat frying
8 slices of good French toast bread (brioche, cinnamon raisin, soft white bread)
Peanut butter
Powdered sugar
Warm maple syrup
Fresh fruits and berries
Ginger whipped cream (see recipe)

In large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, vanilla and salt. Place panko bread crumbs in another large bowl. Heat at least 2 inches of canola oil in large wok or fryer over medium high heat.

Make 4 peanut butter sandwiches with the 8 slices of bread. If using soft white bread, trim off crust. Slice sandwiches once, diagonally. Using tongs, dip each sandwich triangle in egg mixture, covering well, about 1 minute each side to allow bread to soak in mixture. Transfer to bowl with panko bread crumbs and cover completely.

When oil is hot, deep fry 2 to 3 triangles at a time, until golden brown. Turn over and brown the other side. Drain on paper towels. Place 2 triangles on plate, dust with powdered sugar and serve with warmed maple syrup, fresh fruit and berries and ginger whipped cream. Makes 4 servings.

To treat your friends to an Asian brunch, you don't have to learn how to crimp your own dim sum items - the Asian markets and many of the progressive supermarkets carry the more popular items such as gyoza (Japanese pan-fried dumplings with vegetables, chicken or pork), har gow (shrimp dumplings) and shu mai (pork dumplings) in their frozen sections. Pick up some edamame also - whole soybeans in the pod - they'll boil or steam quickly. They're a fun finger food that just needs a little sprinkling of kosher salt after they're cooked and drained.


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