Surprising Indian breakfast recipes


Posted on: 21 December 2015 by Katherine Morgan

Indian restaurant in London

What do Indians have for breakfast? It’s an interesting question. Traditional Indian breakfasts are often truly impressive, and take a lot more effort than a quick bowl of cereal or piece of toast.

Many people simply eat leftovers from their dinner the night before, with a fresh flatbread or roti. Some enjoy freshly scrambled eggs with bright green coriander and a generous sprinkle of red chillies.

There are also regional differences. In the North, many Indians tuck into a delicious fried bread called Paratha, often stuffed with potato, cauliflower or other vegetables. In the South, the typical breakfast is a fermented rice and bean dumpling called Idli, served with a spicy tomato soup called Sambar.

Let’s look at some specific breakfast recipes that will give you a truly special start to the day.

Kerala Puttu

This highly popular traditional Keralan breakfast dish is a refreshing start to the day. It is made from freshly grated coconut mixed with special roasted rice flour, moulded into a sausage shape and steamed. The fluffy, light white puttu can be enjoyed with bananas, papadums or boiled lentils, and looks best served on a freshly-picked banana leaf plate.

Lemon Semiya

Noodles for breakfast – why not? In South India, this lurid yellow dish made from ultra-thin vermicelli noodles is a popular breakfast option. To make lemon semiya, onion, carrot and chillies cut into long strips are fried in a pan. A spice infusion is made from mustard seeds, chillies, and ginger, then lentils are added along with the onion mixture. Cooked vermicelli is added to the pan along with powdered turmeric, which gives the breakfast its distinctive yellow colour. The noodles are served with a generous squeeze of lemon juice and a spoonful of pickle.


You may have tried dosa before; the giant rice pancakes from southern India are increasingly popular in the UK. In India, they are a popular breakfast food. The pesarattudosa is a special version from Andhra Pradesh. It is made from green lentils and rice, mixed with onion, ginger, cumin seeds and green chillies. The spicy, floppy pancake is served hot with delicious chutney.


This rice-based breakfast dish is traditionally made in the Maharashtra region. It is a filling and healthy first meal of the day. To make kandepoha, a spicy oil infusion is made by roasting mustard seeds in oil, then adding cumin seeds, roasted peanuts and curry leaves together with onion and green chili. Rice flakes are added with water and lemon juice, then simmered until it forms a porridge-like consistency. The dish is best served with fresh coconut and coriander.


Have you ever had semolina for breakfast? In southern India, millions of people do. Ravaupma is a semolina-based breakfast food that carries some powerful flavours. Mustard seeds, lentils, chillies and curry leaves are fried with onions, then water and salt are added to make a savoury soup. Roasted semolina is added and boiled until it absorbs the liquid. This delicious breakfast dish should be eaten with some tasty chutney.

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Katherine Morgan

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