Indian Cuisine-Inspired Breakfast Ideas

by Simona Terron
Yes, it’s the most important meal of the day but how many different ways can you really make your eggs? And what about when pancakes or cereal just don't do the trick anymore? Well, it might be time to infuse some exotic excitement into your morning, and with these great tips it's both easily said and done.

The following are simple ideas for your breakfast dishes that look to the Indian sub-continent as their muse. Delicious and appetizing, they mimic the flavors, techniques and even presentation of popular Indian breakfast foods from across my country.

Time to get started:

Stuffed Flat Bread: They’re known as parathas and are just unleavened or flat breads stuffed with deliciousness. You can either use spiced mashed potatoes, a mix of assorted vegetables or even just cheese and onions. Regular whole wheat flour needs to be rolled out into a circle like you would do with pastry; add the stuffing and pinch the edges together, then roll it out till it becomes a lovely circle again. Pan fry with a little cooking oil and serve after cutting into large wedges. They keep, uncooked, in the fridge for a week.

Rice Pancakes: Not all pancakes have to be sweet or eaten with fruit and maple syrup or honey. Maybe it’s time to try out some savory delicacies that resemble a variety of things, from lace doilies to dunce caps. Called dosas, these pancakes are usually made from some combination of rice and lentils that have been soaked overnight and then ground into a paste, which is then allowed to ferment. The batter is then spread on a griddle and cooked. The lace doilies are created using a runnier than usual batter, while the dunce caps take form after scraping off the extra thick batter on the griddle and leaving just a skinny layer that crisps up as it cooks. Roll it into a cone and set it vertically on a plate when it’s ready to eat. Dramatic and delicious, they go equally great with ketchup or pesto.

Lemon-Flavored Vermicelli: You know those glass noodles you always wondered what to do with? If you’re looking to take a break from oriental variations on this super skinny pasta-like ingredient, it’s very simple, really. Just soak them in a bit of hot water for a couple of minutes, drain and add it to a pan in which you’ve allowed some curry leaves, mustard seeds, slivers of garlic, and green chilies to splutter away in a spoonful of cooking oil and release their unique aromas. This tempering will only be enhanced by a dash of antioxidant-rich turmeric powder before the noodles go in, lending it a lovely sunny yellow hue. Stir well, season with salt to taste and serve hot.

Idlis: We spoke about these babies in our piece on how to Whip Up Party Snacks Inspired By Indian Street Food and they’re as adorable as cutesy babies, indeed. Mini-idlis or diminutive versions of this hugely popular Indian breakfast (also known as rice cakes), make for a great snack that can be packed in lunch boxes or eaten on the go. Add chopped veg to the batter or color them by adding the pulp of nutrient-rich veg: go pink with beetroot, orange with carrot or green with spinach. Kids will love it, and adults are just giant kids anyway, so they’ll enjoy this too.

Spuds & Peppers Breakfast Hash: A breakfast hash is not exactly exotic or specifically Indian, but just adding a dash of spices like turmeric and red chili powder can render it surprising and scrumptious. That egg on top completes the pretty picture and makes it a fantastic thing to start the day with.

Here’s the recipe for Potatoes and Pepper Breakfast Hash with a Fried Egg:
  • Egg-1
  • Potatoes-3 medium diced
  • Green and Orange Peppers-1 1/2 cups diced
  • Onions-1 medium sliced
  • Cumin Seeds-2 tsp
  • Turmeric-1/2 tsp
  • Red chili powder-1 tsp
  • Fresh Crushed garlic-2 tbsp
  • Salt-to taste
  • Oil-4 tbsp
  • In a cast iron pan heat the oil and add onions.
  • Once it’s golden add the potatoes along with turmeric, chili and salt.
  • Saute and stir every now and then until they turn golden around the edges and are almost cooked and hold their shape.
  • Add the crushed garlic and the peppers.
  • Mix and saute just until the peppers are slightly cooked and still maintain their crunch.
  • Check the seasonings.
  • In a separate skillet add a tsp or two of oil or butter.
  • Crack an egg into a small bowl.
  • Gently pour the egg into the skillet.
  • Cook until the white has set. Season and arrange on top of the hash.
  • Serve hot!
We do hope you enjoy making and eating these Indian-inspired breakfasts, and feel free to send us pictures, suggestions and even your friends’ and family’s reactions. We’d love to hear from you!

Image: Shutterstock
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