You can never go wrong with South Indian breakfasts. American and English breakfasts have their own charm but South Indian breakfast ensure one thing – a full tummy and that too a healthy one. Am calling this post Madras Cafe not just because I love the cafe on Dadar East but also it signifies all things South India in breakfast.
Being a South Indian by birth predisposes you to have idli, dosas, neer dosas, upmas, puri bhaji etc. And this you will probably get at a Udupi restaurant. But what you do get is the stuff that South Indian households make.
At my home spring hoppers or appams are quite popularly. While neer dosas are quite regularly made, we also make tuppa dosas which very few South Indian joints make. A lot of homes make ‘Mutlin’ which is basically tempered rice powder with shredded coconut and eaten with spicy chutney or with chicken curry! There was a similar version of these rice balls that I ate at Coorg. Called kodambattus these cute little balls of rice are served with sambar. If you are lucky you might even get to eat these with pork….for breakfast.
JSome other interesting breakfast options are Bhakris which are rice pancakes roasted on iron tawas, on a naked flame sometimes too. Best eaten with piping hot tea for breakfast or for high tea! My mum spices this up with some mutton curry. Just too divine to describe.
My dad’s standard breakfast is ‘sajjike bajile’ which is upma topped with spiced beaten rice with a sprinkling of sugar at times. The beaten rice or poha is sometimes mixed with jaggery which then lends this dish a sweet salty flavour.
When I had gone to Kerala I had rice noodles steamed and served with egg curry for non vegetarians and black gram curry. Heartiest breakfast ever. We also make something similar in mangalore called rice sev and serve it for breakfast with sweetened coconut milk. Kerala is also famous for rice puttus which is rice flour mixed with coconut.
What you might have noticed in most South Indian breakfasts is the strong presence of rice and coconut, against most popular diet recommendations. Rice is not considered as healthy and a lot of dieticians ask you to skip rice from your meals. But the people who live and work in the places where these breakfasts originate from are seldom overweight and unhealthy. Maybe it’s worth then to reconsider the way we city dewellers reconsider the way we lead the rest of out lives than skip healthy and wholesome breakfasts like these.
I might have missed some of these rice based breakfasts while mentioning some of what I have experienced. Love to hear your favourites!