Every region in India is like its own mini country, each with its differing traditions, customs and cuisines. Breakfast – in India known as ‘nashta’ – varies dramatically depending on where you are; no two regions offer exactly the same kind of food. Forget dry toast, soggy cereal or lumpy porridge; in India, the breakfasts on offer are so mouth-wateringly delicious, it’s no wonder it is one of the most popular, and important, meals of the day.
The southern regions of India boast some of the most delectable recipes for breakfasts, most of which are full of the right balance of proteins, fats and carbs to give you the perfect kick start to the day –keeping you full well into the afternoon.
Their dishes tend to be a mixture of rice and lentils, accompanied by tangy spicy side dishes such as sambar (a lentil-based soup) and homemade chutneys. Some of the most popular breakfast/brunch offerings include: Dosa–a fermented crepe-style pancake made from black lentils and rice batter (particularly popular in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh); Idli – a savoury, steamed rice cake that is also now popular in Sri Lanka; Upma – a thick porridge made from coarse rice flour or dry-roasted semolina (much-loved in Mumbai); and Idiyappam – rice flour made into thin noodles and then steamed (this is one of the most popular dishes for children).
Breakfasts served in the northern regions of India tend to be on the heavier side; this is thought to be because the climate is much colder in the north, so the inhabitants burn more fat and require more energy. Either way, their dishes have spread in popularity all over India. The most popular breakfast is probably Gobhi or AlooParatha: unleavened dough filled with a mix of either spiced mashed potato or aromatic cauliflower. In northern regions, these dishes are usually washed down with a thirst-quenching lassi.
The eastern regions of India serve and eat breakfast dishes that have been inspired by China. Momos, or dim sum, are one of the most commonly consumed dishes –dumplings filled with finely-chopped vegetables. Rotis – a traditional flatbread made with atta flour – are also very popular.
Some of the most well-known breakfast recipes in western parts of India include Poha – flattened rice cooked with chilli, onions, turmeric and mustard seeds (a dish that is becoming more and more widespread across India due to its healthy and light nature) and Thepla – particularly popular in Gujarat and used both for regular meals and eating on-the-go (they are a go-to favourite for long train journeys, as they can be eaten either hot or cold).
If that isn’t enough to whet your breakfast appetite, we don’t know what is. But fear not; you don’t have to travel all the way to India to sample these delights. If you fancy a brunch, light lunch, snack or dinner to remember, head to one of London’s most popular Indian brasseries. Here, you will find a wide variety of affordable, delicious, healthy and nutritious dishes to suit all tastes. With a menu inspired by the different regions of India, you can sample some of the freshest, tastiest Indian food in town.