Breakfast is perhaps the most difficult meal to reconsider, it’s the ritualistic meal, the one where little thought is given. A fairly plain monotonous breakfast diet is common, a little cereal, some bread or bakery products, perhaps eggs, some tea, coffee or juice. Many people struggle with the idea of accepting different food groups onto their breakfast table.
Considering everyone in the world eats breakfast it would be horrifying if they all ate the same boring stuff we do in the west. Many cultures don’t distinguish between breakfast and other foods and rely on foods uncommon to us to break their morning fast, sometimes these involve heavily spiced items.
Having spent a few days in a guest house with breakfast included I relished the opportunity to further my introduction to Indian breakfast foods. Some of the breakfasts I have had the pleasure of enjoying so far are.
Idli with sambar –these spongy steamed convex white discs are served with a spiced liquor called sambar and a cooling coconut chutney. Idlis are South Indian in origin made with a fermented batter of rice and white lentils.
Lacha paratha – Parathas are a frequently appearing item on the breakfast table, either as layered flat bread served with a chickpea or potato curry. Or stuffed with a mildly spiced vegetable paste, the pumpkin and spinach version is my favourite so far, but the lentil and potato variations are also very good.
Upama – like polenta like food is seasoned with curry leaves and mustard seeds and served with sambar, the firm polenta texture is really good at soaking up the zingy sambar.
Mysore masala dosa – Dosa are crisp pancake thin like a crepe rolled and served with sambar and dal. Made from the same fermented rice and lentil batter as the Idli, they are made in a similar way to crepes. When served as a masala dosa they are stuffed before rolling, often with a stuffing similar to that of the stuffed parathas
Uttapam – These slightly sour pancakes are also made with the Idli and Dosa batter, making them South Indian in origin, mixed with chopped onion, chilli and peppers they are also served with sambar and dal.