It’s always a heart-warming experience to indulge in a delicious breakfast of humble South Indian delicacies served on banana leaf. While we identify a typical South Indian breakfast with idli and dosa, do note that these two have immense variations as we move every few kilometres in the five southern states of India - Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana & Andhra Pradesh. Also, there are delicious preparations beyond the aforementioned two that are lip-smacking and beckon applaud.
So, with a glutton's appetite, an urge to sample fares and learn something about South Indian breakfast, I landed up at the famed Arya Bhavan eatery in Matunga East, Mumbai. Here is a glimpse of what I devoured and what do these delights entail :
THATTE IDLI - This form of idli derives its name from its size which is similar to a thatte or plate. The fermented batter for this idli comprises of soaked, ground urad dal, raw rice and has a thick consistency. This batter is steamed in special thatte or platelike idli mould stand. This idli at Arya Bhavan was soft in texture and came topped with the famous gun powder chutney or Milagai Podi (this is a powdered mix of lentils, asafoetida, red chillies) that balanced off the neutral flavor of idli with its spiciness.
BRAHMIN IDLI - This is a popular preparation in Tamil Brahmin cuisine. The steaming of the batter (again that made of urad dal & raw rice) is not done in regular idli moulds but is usually carried out in conical vessels in a steaming pot and the end result is a silken textured idli. The one at Arya Bhavan was exceptionally soft and simply melted in the mouth. It was served with a side of ghee (clarified butter), Milagai Podi and coconut chutney.
MEDU VADA with SAMBAR - One of the most popular fritters down south of the country also happens to be one of my favorites. This is made from a batter of ground urad dal (black gram) with spices like ginger, green chillies etc. Shaped like a doughnut, it is fried until crisp and golden brown in color. It is best served with piping hot, tangy, sambar or lentil broth made of tur/arhar dal (pigeon pea). This can also be eaten with the quintessential scraped coconut chutney tempered with curry leaves, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and urad dal (black gram).
RAWA BISCUIT - This could be called the miniature version of popular preparation of rawa (suji/semolina) dosa crafted from a batter of semolina, rice flour and refined flour. The texture was crispy and each biscuit came with an onion, tomato, capsicum and cheese filling.
PANIYARAM – These are a delicious preparation of rice and urad dal batter made in a very special pan called appam chetti that gives them their spherical shape and a crunchy exterior. This preparation can be made the sweet or the savory way. The one in the picture that I indulged in comprised of chopped onions and was scrumptious.
KAAPI - No South Indian breakfast is complete without a steaming hot serving of filter coffee. So, I too ended my morning meal with it. This stimulating beverage was served in the customary tumbler (a tapered bottom metal mug) after numerous rounds of alternating the mixture of coffee, milk and sugar between it and the davarah (a small broad bottom dish) to give a frothy and delicious drink.
So, the next time you get a chance to try out South Indian breakfast, go ahead and indulge in it. Do share your experience.
Till then, HAPPY EATING....
- Regional Indian Food & Travel enthusiast