Breakfast in India
The soft noise of frying, the subtle aroma of the kachori, the sight of the morning poha, the subahwali ki elaichi chai…aaaahhhh!! Just the thought of all these waters your mouth, doesn’t it? The morning affair in every Indian household apart from family members getting ready for the day happens to be the sounds coming from the kitchen. When the son doesn’t get up, he’s lured by his Mum for a plate of desi ghee ke paranthe. When the little daughter doesn’t want to have breakfast, there comes jalebi especially made by Raamu Halwai. The health conscious bahu wishes to have rava dosa, the gharelu Maa wants her son to be fed with aloo ke paranthe and the Maharaaj ji stands confused about what to cook for the day. And when it is a Sunday the whole family enjoys some yummy and heavy calorie plate of aloo kachori.
A typical North Indian breakfast consists of aloo k paranthe, pyaaz ke paranthe, matar ke paranthe served with achaar, dhania or tamatar chutney, dahi or aloo ki sabji. This is what you’ll find at any Punjabi family. Move towards Uttar Pradesh and you can savour the flavor of garma garam kachori or puri with spicy aloo ki sabzi. To complement all the spices, there comes dahi jalebi to add a tinge of sugar in the morning meal. Go Gujarat and you’ll find theplas and dhoklas making it to the dining tables early morning. Theplas are similar to paranthas stuffed with methi. Dhoklas are light snacks made with fermented batter prepared from chickpea splits or rice. Come towards Madhya Pradesh and it’s Poha with which people start the day. Poha is best enjoyed when accompanied with bhujia and sprinkled lemon juice.
As you tend to come down South, tastes start to differ big way. Major dishes on the plate for the morning consists of dosa that comes in different types, idli, vada, upma, uttapam, appam, etc. The exceptionally delicious dosa is a light fermented crepe made out of rice and is served with sambhar and tomato or coconut chutney. There’s another dosa called rava dosa that is kind of more popular because it doesn’t need fermentation. Whether you pick the rava dosala or the normal dosa, both can be stuffed with a little bit of potato and onions to form a masala dosa. It works well for people on the look-out of a little heavy meal. Made out of rava (semolina), it is as crispy and works amazingly great for a quick and light breakfast. Vada is a urad dal recipe shaped like a donut, deep fried and served with sambhar or chutney. Sambhar happens to be a spicy vegetable stew with a sour that comes from tamarind. While combination involves sambhar vada, another one consists of dahi vada which quite a delicacy. Poori aloo is one preparation that forms a part of all the parts of India although the South Indian sabji would have south Indian spices and rai ka tadka while Northern sabji would find jeera in it. Nevertheless both styles taste delicious. When it comes to South Indian breakfast, the options are plenty and if one takes the health point of views, we get to see that it is a lot more light and fat-free.
Apparently, there’s a reason behind the heavy breakfast of India. Ages back in our country, major chunk of people were involved in professions that required a lot of physical labour. In the present times, however, work is more about working on our laptops sitting on comfortable chairs in an air conditioned office. So yes, digesting heavy food does become a task for the body. Moreover, the Indian style of eating goes as per Ayurveda, the ancient medicinal aspect. According to this, eating and digestion is connected to each other. It’s about what you can digest, not what you eat. So, even though food is required for survival but if that is food isn’t accepted by your body then it’s of no use if it’s light or heavy or tasty. On a general note, a typical Indian digestive system is able to digest heavy food and is also likely to take in more spices as compared to people used to having continental items.
When it comes to keeping the calories under control, South Indian food gets an upper hand over North Indian. Whether you take the rava dosa or the uttapam, most of the dishes on the plate are quite light and easy to digest. Moreover, the coconut chutney helps nullify the effect of the spicy sambhar. And if you are one of those who don’t like having spicy food at all, just leave the sambhar aside and wobble it up with the sumptuous coconut or tomato chutney. However, it’d be quite unfair to mark North Indian food totally unhealthy reason being heavy food keeps your stomach full till the lunch time without any worries. Paranthes served in the North are one of the most fulfilling breads. There’s a sense of satisfaction that’s common to find in Indian
mothers when they see their son leaving for school/college/office with their stomachs full. Paranthes with all the butter are sure to keep you energetic all day.
Taking it further, one shouldn’t be stereotyping North with heavy food. There are some light snacks waiting to be unveiled. The Gujarati dhokla and the Marathi Poha are sure to give a sigh of relief for all the health conscious people. With their minimum usage of oil and spices, these two delicacies are one of those easy to prepare, quick and light meals. Rest of the meals of the North when taken in consideration like kachori aloo or poori aloo might turn out to be a little heavier but trust me, nothing’s better than having them garma garam on your plate on a lazy Sunday. Had a heavy breakfast today? Not to worry, the chaanch (butter milk) will help you digest it all.