India is a food lover's paradise. We have so many states and union territories and each one has its own delicacies to offer. Why, even within the same state, there is often stunning culinary diversity. Since breakfast is the most important (and often most interesting) meal of the day, let's take a look at what India eats for breakfast.
Kashmir: Local bread and noon chai
A food market in Kashmir
Noon chai or sheer chai is a striking pink in colour, thanks to the addition of baking soda. It's usually made with salt but some versions include sugar as well. In the mornings, you'll find a mind-boggling variety of breads on the streets of Kashmir. So if you want to breakfast like a Kashmiri, prepare some noon chai (check this recipe) and have it with a fancy bread of your choice. We suggest Kamini Patel's whole-wheat fruit bread.
Punjab: Aloo paratha with sweet lassi
Seriously, how do they remain so fit with all those calories? If you opt to have this breakfast, do us a favour and walk to work. Follow our Punjabi food expert Seema Gadh's recipes for dhaba-style aloo paratha and Punjabi lassi.
Gujarat: Khaman, Handvo or Methi Muthias
Khaman and handvo are quite similar but while the former (better known as dhokla) is pressure cooked, the latter is prepared on a pan. Both employ idli batter. But our pick would be the tasty and healthful methi muthias - gram flour and methi oven baked to perfection. Try this palak dhokla by Monika Manchanda or Asha Khatau's scrumptious khatta dhokla for a taste of Gujarat.
Rajasthan: Kachori with Kadhi
Rajasthani women prepare roti
Rajasthani pyaaz or dal kachori and kadhi are completely different from other versions elsewhere in India. The crispy kachoris have a soft, spicy filling and when topped with creamy kadhi, every bite tastes like heaven.
Maharashtra: Missal Pav
Honestly, poha is the commoner breakfast in Maharashtrian households with the two main variants being kande (onion) and batate (potato) poha. But since the next state on our list also favours poha, we decided to go with missal pav, another delicious breakfast featuring healthy sprouts. As Archana Arte explains in this recipe video, there are various types of missal. But the most famous one is the Kolhapuri missal.
Madhya Pradesh: Poha and jalebi
We are not sure who thought it would be a good idea to have poha with jalebi but that person was a genius indeed. Most of you would already know how to make poha but have you tried rustling up meetha poha or prawn poha? Pair it with Archana Arte's halwai jalebi for an indulgent start to the day.
Bihar: Kachori Jalebi, thekua
Kachori with jalebi is something you'll easily find on the streets of Bihar. But we love thekua more - a sort of cookie made of wheat flour and jaggery. Pallavi Niham Sahay tells you how to make both thekua and sattu ki kachori in this article.
Andhra Pradesh: Pesarattu
Pesarittu is the Andhra version of moong dal dosa. It's very nutritious and easy to make but requires some advance preparation. Soak the moong dal overnight and grind the next morning to prepare the batter. Often, the pesarattu is served with steaming hot upma. Here is Preetha's recipe for pesarattu.
Kerala: Puttu kadala
Puttu is a steamed rice flour and coconut cake, eaten with black chickpea or kadala curry. The crumbliness of the puttu is balanced perfectly by the wholesome, spicy curry. You can mop up Preetha's kadala curry with any bread of your choice and even dosa.
Tamil Nadu: Idli or dosa
These two items need absolutely no introduction. And considering how delicious they are, we think Tamilians are a rather lucky lot. Refer to Geetha Sridhar's recipe for super soft idlis and Chennai-style masala dosas.
Variations of rice, yoghurt and jaggery are consumed in Assam for breakfast. It could be regular, flattened or glutinous rice. Usually, the rice is soaked for a few hours before cooking. The yoghurt is sometimes swapped for cream. We feel this is a rather exotic variation of the western milk and cereal. You have a grain, you have dairy and you have healthy jaggery to go with it. What's not to love?
West Bengal: Luchi Aloor Dum
Not a breakfast but jhal muri is a popular snack in West Bengal
Luchi is a fried bread, eaten with a potato preparation. That might sound like the Maharashtrian puri bhaji but Bengali aloor dum is slightly sweet and features a spiced onion-tomato gravy.
This is by no means an exhaustive list as there are many more states and territories in India. Each state has more than one signature breakfast but we think the ones on this list are particularly delicious. So what will it be tomorrow? Kashmiri or Kanyakumari?