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What dishes are eaten for breakfast in India: roti, rice porridge and masala

In any country, food is part of the culture, each meal has its own meaning. “Anisha Daily” begins a series of materials about how, with whom and what they have breakfast with in different parts of the world. In the first issue – India.

Breakfast culture

As in many countries, breakfast is primarily perceived as a meal that should energize the day ahead. Traditionally, hot breakfasts were prepared in India, and still most people prefer to have breakfast something warm. For Europeans, an Indian breakfast may be more reminiscent of lunch or dinner, both in terms of the composition of the dishes and in terms of energy value. But various flakes and muesli are clearly not held in high esteem in India.

Regional differences

The attitude to breakfast, its volume and composition vary greatly in different regions. In agricultural areas, breakfast is usually very satisfying in order to recharge with energy before the workday, which involves hard physical labor. In the northern regions of India, where it gets cold in winter, breakfast can also be quite high in calories.

In some regions – for example, in the south, where it is already very hot in the morning – breakfast is generally an unconventional practice. There, it may consist only of tea and a slice of bread or roti, a lean flat cake made from whole wheat flour, and water.

Breakfast time can also vary depending on the place: somewhere it is eaten very, very early, and somewhere closer to noon, or even combined with lunch.

In addition, it is important to note that, unfortunately, most of the population of our country still financially cannot afford three meals a day – they often donate just breakfast.

Breakfast at home

In India, people often live in large families: with parents, children. Therefore, any meal, as a rule, takes place with the family. Food in general plays a huge role in Indian family life: it is what unites generations. This is especially true for traditional families living outside of big cities.

But whether relatives all gather together for breakfast on a particular day depends on the traditions and foundations of a particular family. I think that if we talk about some traditionally family feasts, then dinner most often plays this role.

Younger people living in big cities often do not attach such importance to meals, since their pace of life, due to their busy work and the desire to do everything, is incredibly fast. They are more likely to prefer different ready-made meals, more “Western” breakfasts, or skipping a morning meal altogether.

What do they eat?

The answer to the question of what people eat in India for breakfast very much depends on who you are talking to.  But almost all of them are united by the absence of meat, poultry and even fish in the diet.

In very general terms, an Indian breakfast is tea or coffee, wheat, rice or lentil roti, rice dose pancake or deep-fried pure bread, sweet or savory porridge, and possibly a vegetable dish with potatoes and lentils.
The cereal market has certainly grown in recent years.

In southern India, breakfast usually consists of legumes and rice. The main breakfast dishes in the states of Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana and others:

idle – a steam cake made from fermented mung bean peas and rice flour;
Idiyappam – Rice flour and lentil noodles steamed with a variety of chutneys and sambars.
In many states, porridge is made from rice flakes with various, usually unsweetened, toppings, it is called Phou.

Closer to the north of India, be sure to find paratha cakes. They, like roti, are made from whole wheat flour, but the dough is made puff; they are thicker and fluffier, often stuffed with vegetables and served with hot butter.

My favorite breakfast dish is Mysore Masala Dose.  This dose – the trademark of southern India – is made from fermented rice and stuffed with potatoes and spices.

And this is only a small part of all the dishes with which you can find an Indian in the morning.

Breakfast not at home

In big cities, breakfasts outside the home are gaining more and more popularity – even special cafes and restaurants are opening. But they still make up a very small part of the total mass. There are few establishments in India that open early and cook Western-style food. Therefore, if we talk about breakfast as going out to meet with friends, for example, this is not a massive phenomenon in India – progressive and wealthy urban youth can most often afford such trips.

At the same time, there are a lot of cafes and restaurants serving traditional Indian breakfasts from different regions. For example, in Mumbai, many prepare complex dishes called Udupi. They usually consist of idle or dos with various additives – chutneys, thick sauces of seasonal fruits, vegetables and berries that set off the flavor of the main course, and sambar, a thick lentil sauce with vegetables. They are convenient to eat, which is why they are popular with office workers looking for a quick hot breakfast.

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