India is the country of diversity, both culturally and gastronomically. One of the attractions of travel is to experience new flavors and combinations of foods. Of all meals, breakfast is the best way to better understand the culture of a nation or its weather conditions. Indian breakfast is no exception.
The two main varieties of Indian breakfast are from the north and the south, although there are more than ten types of breakfast in India, depending on the region in which one is, with multiple variants of each. But they all have something in common with the spices and the prevalence of vegetarianism.
The basic ingredient in North Indian breakfast are the parathas, a kind of wheat flour bread fried in a pan with ghee or clarified butter. They are often stuffed with vegetables such as potato called alu paratha and cauliflower called gobi paratha, or fresh cheese called paneer paratha. They are taken with dahi or yogurt and achaar or pickles.
Another popular breakfast of the north, present in the street stalls is chole bhature, an inflated fried wheat bread, which is accompanied with curried chickpeas or chana masala and aam ka achaar or mango chutney. It is taken with fruit lassi, a milkshake with cardamom and pistachios.
In the region of Delhi, a regular breakfast are the vermicelli Upama, a tasty semolina dish that has onion, carrot and peas and is flavored with coriander, ginger, turmeric and curry leaves. If you prefer a omelet, do not forget that in India chunks of chili are added.
Instead, in southern India, the breakfast par excellence are the dosas, a thin and crispy cakes, made with rice flour and lentils, which acquire a consistency of pancake. They are called masala dosa when they are stuffed with a fry of potatoes and mustard.
The sambar is a common dish in southern and consists of a broth made with tamarind and different spices, to which are added lentils and vegetables such as okra, radishes and pumpkins. To give flavor, curry leaves or cilantro are added. It is served with southern specialties such as idlis, a kind of buns with the shape and texture of a donut made with fermented rice batter, that is also accompanied by coconut chutney.
The most common drink in the whole country is chai, black tea with milk, cardamom, cinnamon or ginger. It is very effective for combating heat. In South India and Bengal, coffee is also very popular.
If you are not accustomed to spices or prefer other breakfast options, most hotels in India offer continental breakfast and English breakfast. You will not miss scrambled eggs, toast, fruit, cereals and freshly squeezed natural juices. Do not miss the watermelon, mango and grenade. And in some hotels you can find even a small section of Japanese breakfast, with rice, tofu, miso soup and seaweed.