Cameraperson: Abhay Sharma
Video Editor: Puneet Bhatia
India is a country of many colours, tastes and cultures. So, it’s only obvious that there is no one type of food that defines India. It's a lip-smacking mix of different plates and palates.
While you can easily pick and choose one dish that can represent a particular country’s breakfast, good luck trying that with India! Between idlis and dosas from the south, parathas and kachoris of the north, vada paos and dhoklas of the west to doi chira and rice-based dishes of the north-east, it’s impossible to pick one.
So, we tried to do the slightly less difficult job, pick one from different states (where again we were spoiled for choice) and see which state wins the calorie contest.
The delicious pesarattu upma combines two dishes to make one wholesome meal. Pesarattu is a dosa-like lentil-based crepe and upma has won international cooking shows! (423 Calories)
Doi chira is basically a mixture of flattened rice, curd and jaggery. Both healthy and easy to make, it’s the go-to meal for many. (229 Calories)
Litti chokha is the state’s gift to the world. Littis (dumplings) dipped in loads of ghee and a healthy chokha made of vegetables makes taste buds tick like no other dish. Bihar's ingredient of choice is sattu or a flour made with roasted gram flour and grains. It’s also stuffed in littis and parathas and also mixed with water, lemon and cumin powder as a refreshing drink. (401 Calories)
According to historians, dosa originated in the Udupi town of present-day Karnataka, from where it spread to other parts of south India and has now traveled around the world. (400 Calories)
Garnished with peanuts, namkeen and pomegrenates, poha is a staple for several north and central Indian households. And while the crispy jalebi wins the favourite sweet contest for many, it’s combination with poha is a popular breakfast in the state. Poha is a light and breezy breakfast option, but the jalebis shoot up the calorie count meter! (505 Calories)
The light and healthy Odia dish chura bhaja is widely eaten. Like in Assam, flattened rice is popular here, which is eaten with freshly chopped onions and tomatoes or with curd, banana and sugar. (212 Calories)
Jammu and Kashmir
Kashmir has an old tradition of baking in traditional clay ovens or tandoors, so a typical breakfast often comprises of several freshly-baked breads bought from the local bakery. A popular one is the slightly sweet sheermal, which is served with butter and a salty noon chai. (350 Calories)
Chhole Bhature! We need not say more. Those delicious fried bhature with the spicy chhole are full of calories, but shout out India’s love for food. (522 Calories)
A trip to the state is incomplete without having a vada pao from the umpteen roadside stalls lining every city. The cheap and tasty breakfast option is a staple for everyone, from daily-wage workers to businessmen of the financial capital of the country. (404 Calories)
People here like to start their mornings with kachori and spicy aloo sabzi. Jalebis are a popular addition to the meal in the state as well. (370 Calories)
Gujaratis are known to be passionate about their food. Dhokla, fafda, khandavi, thepla – the list of yummy breakfast options goes on. (408 Calories)
The desert state loves it spicy fried street dishes. Mirchi vadas and flaky onion kachoris are devoured in the cities. In rural areas, bajra rotis with curd and chutney is a staple for many. (588 Calories)
Think food and you instantly think Punjabis. They love their makhan-laden food and proud on their hatta-katta built. Parathas with white butter and a big glass of sweet lassi takes the cake. (552 Calories)
The coastal state’s classic bhaji pao is a popular breakfast combination. Popular non-vegetarian options such as sea food work well for traditional dishes as well. (302 Calories)
Begalis’ love for fish is well-known. But they love their luchis as much, if not more. The famous luchi with aloo makes for a filling and flavourful meal. And how can you forget sweets! Mishti doi brings tears of joy to many. (599 Calories)
Go to Sikkim and enter the land of momos! The chicken-filled steamed dumplings have taken over taste buds across the country. However, popular Sikkimese breakfast dishes also include whole wheat breads, which are eaten with the local cow milk cheese churpi and aloo dum. Each of Sikkim's three communities, the Bhutias, Lepchas and Nepalis, have their own morning meals, but most families generally start their day with a heavy meal that includes lentils, vegetables, rice, pickle and chutney. (342 Calories)
The light and steamed idlis and the fried vadas with sambar (lentil-based stew) and chutney are great go-to breakfast meals. (379 Calories)
Healthy puttu utilises two of the most common ingredients in Kerala cuisine: rice and coconut. Puttu is a soft steamed rice cake, made with rice flour and grated coconut and eaten with different curries.
A traditional Manipuri breakfast includes a savoury flatbread called tan, which is had with changang or black tea.
The states consumes various Indian grains that it grows. Mornings usually begin with a meal of missi roti made with wheat, bajra and chana flour, a dollop of white butter, green chilli pickle and a glass of buttermilk or curd.
mizo cuisine is generally marked by simplicity and is not a spicy affair. They feature rice with bai, a mixed vegetable stew cooked with pork.
Traditional breakfast in Meghalaya comprises several dishes made from either rice or pounded rice flour, generally steamed or baked. Putharo is a sticky rice flour pancake moulded and baked in an earthen utensil, often eaten with pork curry. And there are many more variants.
Mornings in Nagaland start with an early meal that typically includes an indigenous variety of red, brown or black rice, served with a helping of vegetables and a meat dish.
While different communities have different plates, an average morning meal consists of rice with meats like pork and vegetable curry. Traditionally, locals make use of various varieties of millet in their meals.
A typical breakfast in the hill state includes paranthas and aloo gutke, or potatoes tempered with a rare pungent Tibetan herb called jamboo.
A traditional Himachali breakfast features siddu, a steamed bread made from wheat flour and yeast, stuffed with onion, chillies, coriander and khus khus (poppy seeds). It is consumed with ghee and green chutney.
Dhuska or deep fried pancakes are a cross between a dosa and kachori are unique to the state.
Fara or muthia are rice flour dumplings are a much-loved breakfast dish in Chhattisgarhi homes. They are made with spices and eaten with chutney.
Like its neighbouring states, Tripura's food makes ample use of rice in dishes such as bhater bhat, where it is had with different vegetables. It also has various preparations of rice like steamed sticky rice with curry.
While none of these can fully portray all the meals that are had for breakfast by people from different states, these are just some of the popular dishes we have picked up. So, go ahead and comment with your favourites and tell us if we’ve missed them out.
(Calories have been counted for standardised quantities.)
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(The article was originally published on 24 September 2017. It has been republished from The Quint’s archives to mark World Idli Day.)