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Breakfast Recipes to Kick-start Your Day the South Indian Way!

Batul Nafisa Baxamusa Apr 28, 2019
It is said that breakfast should be the heaviest meal of the day. Thus, eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper. Here are some South Indian breakfast recipes just for you.
Breakfast is the first meal of the day after a good night's sleep. One should never skip breakfast as it gives the much-needed energy to face the day's rigor. In India, breakfast is commonly known as 'Nashta'.
Nashta consists of a range of lip-smacking recipes which vary from region to region. The different spices used in the Indian foods, add essence in the first meal of the day.
South Indian food is basically made from fermented cereals and pulses. Fermented food is easily digested and gives instant energy. South Indian breakfast is easy to make and delicious to eat.


A steamed, fluffy, and round cake is an idli. A couple of steaming hot idlis are served along with coconut 'chutney' (type of sauce) and 'sambar' (type of gravy).
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup raw rice
  • 1/2 cup white lentil
  • 1 tbsp. oil (for greasing)
  • Salt to taste
  • Preparations need to be made overnight as the rice and white lentil need to be fermented. For about 5 hours soak the rice and white lentil separately in water.
  • Grind the soaked ingredients, making a smooth paste.
  • Let the paste stand for about 8 hours.
  • Add salt to taste. Mix well.
  • Grease the cavities of the idli stand with oil and pour the batter in them.
  • Steam the idli stand in a cooker or a closed vessel for 15-20 minutes.
  • Take out the stand carefully from cooker and remove the idlis using a spoon.
  • Now, the idlis are ready to be eaten with coconut chutney and sambar.
Tip:  Coconut chutney and sambar can be replaced by Tomato sauce.

Plain Dosa

Dosa is a very popular South Indian recipe. Dosa is a type of pancake, and very easy to make.
  • 4 cups rice
  • 2 cups white lentil
  • 1 tsp. fenugreek seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • Grind the rice and white lentil to make a fine paste.
  • Mix the batters, add salt to taste, and leave it overnight for fermentation.
  • Pour and spread the batter in a flat frying pan in the shape of a very thin round pancake. Pour a little oil on both sides of the dosa.
  • Turn the dosa to the other side when it turns golden brown in color.
  • Dosa is ready to be served in a few minutes.
  • Plain dosa can be converted into a masala dosa by added some mashed potatoes inside it and folding it into a wrap.
Tip: The dosa batter should be a little more diluted than that for idlis.


Upma is made from Semolina. Semolina is called 'Rawa' or 'Sooji' in Hindi.
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup semolina (Sooji/Rawa)
  • 2 tbsp. Ghee
  • 1 tbsp. white lentils
  • 1/4 tsp ginger (chopped)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 2 green chilies (chopped)
  • 8 cashew nuts
  • Curry leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • Roast semolina in a dry skillet on a low flame until it starts giving off a distinct aroma.
  • Heat ghee in the same and add cumin seeds, curry leaves, mustard, white lentils, and cashew nuts.
  • Add chopped green chili, ginger, and onions. Continue cooking for about 3 minutes.
  • Add salt to taste, roasted semolina, and water.
  • Stir properly (such that no lumps are formed) and cover it with a lid.
  • The upma is ready to be eaten.
Tip: Upma can be served with pickle. One can experiment with spices and sticks of butter can be used in place of ghee.
South Indian food is spicy and shows a distinct variety in terms of its flavor, seasoning, texture, nutritional balance, and visual appeal. Try these south Indian recipes and treat yourself with the taste of India. Bon appétit!