Bored of the ubiquitous Western breakfast - toast and egg, oats with milk, and even the regular stuff you make and eat day in and out like poha, upma? Then it's time to jazz up your breakfast with some regional flavours. Try them, and make your mornings happier and brighter, and of course healthier too with these options from across the country. After all eating variety is an important tenet of a healthy and happy diet.
Chopped fruits, soaked chivda (rice flakes), and dahi (or milk) mixed together, looks almost like muesli, right? But it tastes remarkably different. And it’s really simple to make.
Simply wash chivda, drain and set aside.
Meanwhile peel and chop assorted fruits and nuts and then mix them all up with dahi, along with some grated ginger (for a zing and added health) and jaggery (optional).
Bengali Chirer Pulao
This dish is similar to poha but this is sweeter and tastes different.
Steam green peas, carrots, cauliflower and beans and keep aside.
Rinse poha under running water, fluff it up a bit and keep aside.
Heat oil, add bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom and clove, then add sliced onions and sauté till translucent.
Add chopped boiled potato, the steamed veggies, sliced green chillies, roasted peanuts and cashews, salt and black pepper to taste, and a wee bit of sugar.
Cook for a few minutes. Now add the rinsed poha and stir gently. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes on low heat.
Maharashtra Sabudana Khichdi
If you remember to soak sabudana as soon as you get up in the morning, it really takes no time to cook this delicious dish.
Wash and soak 1 cup sabudana (sago) in water for about 2 hours.
Heat the oil/ghee in a pan and add a pinch of mustard seeds.
When they crackle add cumin seeds, sliced green chillies and few curry leaves.
Add cubed boiled potatoes and stir.
Add crushed roasted groundnuts, and salt to taste.
Now add the soaked sabudana and mix gently.
Sprinkle grated fresh (or dried) coconut flakes, squeeze some lemon juice over it and eat warm
Panta (or Pokhal) from the East
Made in the eastern part of India mostly - Orissa, Bengal, Assam, this is a fermented rice dish made with leftover rice.
Add water to cooked rice, cover it and leave it to ferment over-night.
Next morning, that's your breakfast just as soon as you add some sliced onions and green chillies to it with salt and lemon, and perhaps a little roasted brinjal or mashed potato too.
Pair it with a homemade tangy pickle or chutney and some curd and a perfectly healthy, and ‘good for your gut’ breakfast teaming with probiotics is ready for you.
Want a variant of regular besan chila? Try this pancake made with rice flour and lentils; it is eaten usually with with coconut and or jaggery.
Wash equal amounts rice and urad dal and soak them separately overnight.
Grind both separately to make a smooth paste and then mix them.
Add salt, ground or pounded sauf (fennel seeds) and ginger to this mix, both 1 tsp.
You can add some very finely shredded green chillies, carrots, onions, coriander leaves and mushrooms (all optional) to the mix too.
Add water to get the right consistency of the paste (thin but not too runny).
Heat and grease a non stick pan or tawa, pour a ladle full of batter and spread it evenly into a thin, round shape.
Cook for a few minutes, then flip and cook on the other side.
You can pair it with last nights leftover curry too.
(Kavita is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico), Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa) and Fix it with foods.)