India’s vast boundaries not only encapsulate a variety of languages and looks, but also a variety in palates! Each region of the country has its own specialities which are distinct in flavour. Here are some of the breakfast spreads that you may encounter in India, depending on which part of the country you are visiting.
1. Tamil Nadu
Rice is one of the key components of Tamil Nadu dishes and you can it slipping into recipes even at breakfast time. Steamed rice dough fat pancakes, or simply put, ‘idlis’ are a favourite with many. Light and also heated, these are safe for the stomach and are not likely to send you in any gastronomical frenzy. Try these with ‘sambhar’ and coconut ‘chutney’. If these are not enough, your breakfast spread may include pongal and dosas as well. Wash these down well with a cup of filter coffee as a grand finale.
Up in the northernmost state of India, the day starts early with a cup of ‘kavah’- sugar, cardamom and ground almonds added to normal tea. The bread that this is taken in with is called ‘samovar’. This is leavened wheat bread, made slightly sweet with bakirkhani and the sesame-sprinkled tsachvaru. It is difficult to develop a taste for this immediately, so have some fruits as back up breakfast.
Be ready to be trying plenty of dishes right in the first meal of the day. Kolkata (Calcutta) is known for its popular street joints which offer a lot of snack items. Out of these lentil crepes are quite famous as breakfast fare. Apart from these, there are aloo-pooris and kachori, a favourite with the locals.
The state of Gujarat is famous for its indulgent heavy food and snacks through the day. At breakfast, you may find the comparatively lighter Dhokla, a spongy yellow salty cake to be had with Chutney. Very close to the Rajasthani ‘chila’, people in Gujarat also like to have this salty pancake with tomato chutney.
Light meals are not an option in Punjab! Breakfast will be a long affair of stuffed paranthas (bread), slightly fried on a flat pan. Be ready to gorge down various combinations of potatoes, cottage cheese, onions and more. Yoghurt and chutneys are served for added taste.
A typical Kerala breakfast may include Puttu, Vellayappam or Idiappam made with pounded rice flour and served with a vegetable or chicken stew. Coconut chutney is a must with these. A cup of filter coffee will keep you from falling asleep after a big meal. Pictured above is a breakfast served at Glenora Homestay in Kerala where guests can also enjoy fresh fruits picked from the plantation.
Most homestays are happy to accommodate guests own tastes and will normally be able to offer a continental breakfast for international visitors who prefer to stick with food they are familiar with. However to get the real Indian experience make sure you try the local specialities. You might return home with a new favourite!
Find out about the homestay experience and don't forget to check out our ideas on things to do in India or browse our India homestays.