What India Eats for Breakfast

What India Eats for Breakfast

By LauraUpdated Sep. 24, 2021

While Western breakfast is often made of sugary foods, dairy, and eggs, Indian breakfast incorporates a heavy usage of bread like paratha and naan with a side of chutney (sauce) and rice. When visiting India, the typical Indian breakfast can be found at many 4-star and above hotels.

Some of the most common breakfast items include dal ka paratha, an Indian bread stuffed with lentils and spices, and methi ka thepla, a Gujarati flatbread made from fresh fenugreek leaves and whole wheat flour.

what India eats for breakfast, aloo paratha

What is a Typical Indian Breakfast?

Indian hotels often offer a wide selection of breakfast items for guests to choose from. These hotels typically serve Indian, Western, Continental, Chinese, or Japanese breakfast dishes.

Indian dishes often include Indian breads like naan, paratha, or roti. There will also be dosas, pakoras, samosas, and chaat. Western options are usually cereal, oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, eggs, coffee, and juices.

For the Chinese menu, you can find fried rice and noodles, steamed buns, porridge, wontons, dumplings, onion pancakes, and tea. Japanese breakfast items will include miso soup, agadashi tofu, and tamagoyaki.

When traveling, if you decide not to eat breakfast at the hotel, you can also opt to eat at the many eateries and street vendors selling breakfast items. Such street foods breakfast options include parathas, samosas, chickpea curry, and dosas.

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Which Indian Breakfast is the Best?

Breakfast items that contain bread or potatoes such as masala dosa, aloo paratha, and vada pav are the best choices because they contain more carbohydrates and are most likely to fill you up.

Idli is also a popular breakfast item in South India and is a type of savory rice cake made from fermented black lentil and rice batter. This can be eaten with many other dishes including sambar idli and rava idli.

Dishes with rice, potatoes, or bread are the best choices for the westerns who are new to Indian food. These dishes have unique Indian flavors but are not so strongly flavored that they become unpalatable for western people.

1. Dal Ka Paratha and Aloo Paratha

The outer layer of this stuffed Indian bread is made from fiber-rich whole-wheat flour and the filling is made from protein-rich lentils. Dal ka paratha is a delicious and filling breakfast food that is often served with Indian pickles or curry.

This is the most popular choice among North Indians. You can also try its close cousin, aloo paratha, which is a flaky bread stuffed with spiced potatoes.

Aloo paratha is one of the most popular paratha recipes in Punjab. It is a flaky Indian flatbread with a delicious stuffing of potatoes and spices like ginger, turmeric, and red chili. This dish is usually paired with yogurt or Indian pickle and can be enjoyed for breakfast, brunch, or even lunch.

To eat parathas, you can just rip off pieces with your hands and dip it in the sauces available. 

2. Dosa and Idli

Dosa and Idlis are commonly eaten in South India for breakfast. Both breads are made from a fermented rice and lentil batter which is gluten free and extremely good for gut health.

Dosas are large and thin crepes that are often rolled up into a tube. Dosas can come plain or stuffed with spices or ingredients like potatoes. Idlis, on the other hand, are a sponge-like steamed bun.

Dosas and idlis are often served togther along with different chutneys or sauces. These sauces usually include coconut and cream sauce as well as a sambar, or vegetable stew. 

You can eat dosas by ripping off a piece and dipping in the sauce and idli you can just dip and take bites out of it directly. 

3. Methi Ka Thepla

Methi ka thepla is a very popular Gujarati flatbread made from fresh fenugreek leaves, whole wheat flour, and gram flour. This breakfast food is light and healthy and is a good option for children who don"t like greens.

The fenugreek leaves and fresh spices added to this bread make it taste delicious and it is often served with sauces on the side which are perfect for dipping. 

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4. Chole Bhatore

Chole bhatore is a popular breakfast food in North India and especially Delhi. Chole is a chickpea curry and bhatore is a type of puffed bread. This breakfast is filling and full of protein and nutrients from the chickpeas. If you have a long day of sightseeing ahead, then chole bhatore is a great thing to eat before you start.

This dish is commonly served at street food vendors. If you aren"t sure which vendors are the safest, make sure to ask your guide or hotel staff for advice.

5. Moong Dal Cheela

Moong dal cheela is a healthy and tasty breakfast recipe. These Indian pancakes are made with split yellow lentils and basic spices and have an option of paneer (a mild Indian cheese) as a stuffing. Moong dal cheela is a gluten-free, healthy, and protein-packed vegetarian breakfast option.

6. Misal Pav

Misal pav is a popular Mumbai street food and breakfast option. Misal is a spicy side dish made from bean sprouts and topped with onions, tomatoes, and lemon juice. It is eaten with pav, an Indian soft bread roll.

7. Sali Par Edu

Sali par eedu is an essential Parsi breakfast recipe. This dish is made with deep-fried potato straws that are layered in a heaping pile and cooked with tomatoes, cilantro, pepper, and eggs. This is a flavorful dish that is rich in carbohydrates and protein.

8. Rava Upma

One of the most common Indian breakfasts, rava upma or simply upma is a savory porridge made with semolina and veggies. This dish makes for a filling and satisfying meal, especially with a side of tea or coffee.

9. Uttapam

Uttapam is a traditional delicacy from South India and means "poured pancake’ in Tamil. Uttapam is a soft and savory pancake that is delicious, healthy, and filling and can be served for breakfast, brunch, or as an evening snack.

Uttapam often include a mix of vegetables like tomatoes and onions and are topped with fresh coriander. 

10. Poha

Poha is an easy, delicious, and healthy breakfast recipe that is popular in Maharashtra. Made with red or white rice, onions, potatoes, and seasonings like chilies, lemon, and curry leaves, this dish is sure to leave you feeling full and satisfied.

11. Bread Pakora

Bread pakoras are an Indian fried snack made from bread slices, gram flour, and spices among other ingredients. This dish has a spicy and tangy taste that is sure to please foodies from all around the world and makes for the perfect breakfast item with a cup of hot tea or coffee.

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12. Vada Sambar

A vada is a donut-shaped fried bread that is commonly eaten in South India. These tasty fried treats are often served with a vegetable stew called sambar. You"ll often find this dish with the vada sitting on a plate and the sambar poured over the top like a gravy. 

13. Omelets

Having been a British colony for such a long time, Indians also enjoy eating a few western breakfast staples like beans on toast and omelets. Indian omelets are often spicier than western omelets and are likely to include ingredients like fresh red chilies, onions, and coriander. 

14. Sandwiches with Chai 

Another western item that Indians love for breakfast are sandwiches. You can often find these sandwiches served at street food vendors or at small shops. Popular Indian sandwich fillings include eggs, spiced potatoes, and chicken masala. Sandwiches in the morning go really well with a hot glass of spiced chai tea. 

Western Breakfast is Available in Most 4-Star and Above Hotels

All these breakfast items are available throughout the many 4-star and above hotels in India. These hotels will also offer a wide variety of food from all the regions of the country. However, some travelers may not be open to trying out new foods early in the morning and prefer a more western-style breakfast.

Not to worry, most hotels in India also offer your typical western breakfast and usually serve cereal, bacon and eggs, bread, sausage, toast, pancakes, oatmeal, coffee, and juice.

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Tips to Enjoy Indian Breakfast

    • It is best if you only eat cooked food and avoid salads or raw vegetables that may cause a stomach upset.
    • Don’t be afraid to use your hands to have the full experience of eating Indian food.
    • If you don’t like food that is spicy, you can ask for your dish to be cooked without red chilis or chili powder.
    • Many Hindus are vegetarians so it is easy to find dishes in India that are vegetarian or vegan.
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