Nothing beats waking up to the aroma of curry leaves and the sound of sputtering mustard seeds. Simple yet elegant and full of flavour, here’s a list of some of the most popular South Indian breakfast specialties that you shouldn’t miss out on.
Mustard seeds, ginger, chillies, and curry leaves are cornerstone ingredients in South Indian cuisine, which boasts fresh aromatic flavours very different from the spice-dense curries common to other parts of India.
Top 16 Popular South Indian Breakfast Dishes
This south Indian breakfast item is a coconut-y steamed rice cake that is extremely popular in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and some parts of Karnataka. It is best served hot with some delicious potato curry, a rich egg curry, or even some ripe bananas.
Uttapam or Uttapa has a variety of ingredients mixed in the batter while cooking. The preparation is similar to that of your typical Dosa and is made with a mixture of rice, urad dal, and fenugreek seeds. Have it plain or spice it up with some onions, tomatoes, green chillies, and coriander.
3. Ven Pongal
A South Indian take on the famous dal khichdi, Ven Pongal is a South Indian special made with rice and lentils and sauteed with cumin and ghee. It pairs beautifully with tangy sambhar and the iconic coconut chutney. It is a savoury dish with a taste of spices.
It’s has a soft, thick center and paper-thin exterior—a perfect companion to any curry you like. The batter is made by grinding raw rice along with coconut water, cooked rice, and cooking soda. It is a type of a pancake that can be eaten for breakfast as well as dinner.
5. Medu Vada
This iconic doughnut is made with urad dal, spices, and curry leaves. Crunchy on the outside while remaining soft on the inside, this South Indian breakfast specialty is best served hot with coconut chutney and sambhar.
6. Rava Dosa
Crispy Rava Dosa is made with some green chilies for that extra zing along with semolina, cumin, ginger, and coriander leaves. Best served with coconut chutney, kara chutney, sagu, or vegetable kurma. They’re thin and crispy in texture.
7. Daal Wada
Masala Vada or Chana Dal Vada is a famous lentil snack made using Bengal gram, assorted spices, and herbs. It is a popular street food dish and is also made in most homes. It is best served with a chutney and its crispiness will make you wanting for more.
Traditionally called as Uppumavu or Uppittu, the Upma is a dish made by simply cooking dry roasted wheat semolina or Rava in water. It is mixed with spices and herbs along with peanuts, cashews, onions, ginger, mixed veggies, ghee, etc. which are added as per taste. There are various versions of the Upma made along with a different set of flavors – a creative canvas for your culinary skills.
Idli is a soft & fluffy steamed cake that is made of fermented rice & lentil batter. These provide one with a protein-packed, healthy South Indian breakfast. Easy on the stomach, Idlies can come in various preparations such as Rava Idli, stuffed Idli, and so on.
These are steamed rice noodles. It is referred to with different names, for instance, Diappam in Tamil Nadu and Kerala; Nool Puttu in Coorg and southern Karnataka; and Puttumayam in Malaysia. This South Indian breakfast dish is made with flour mixed with a little water, a pinch of salt, and some drizzled oil for flavor.
11. Mysore Bonda
The Mysore Bonda is a crispy fried snack with a soft & fluffy texture. Bondas are made with stuffing like potato mix or mixed vegetables combined with spices and combined together with all-purpose flour or maida. Served with chutneys and best served hot.
Vermicelli Upma, also is known as Semiya Upma. It is a quick and healthy popular breakfast dish and is typically prepared with vermicelli, mixed vegetables, and other spices sauteed together in oil. It is a very easy to make recipe that fills your stomach in no time.
This is a typical, healthy breakfast item, and snack made of fermented lentil and rice batter is often accompanied by chutney. It is known as Paniyaram in Tamil Nadu, Paddu in Karnataka, and Ponganalu in Telugu. They can be made plain, spicey, or sweet.
14. Kesari Baat
Kesari Bath or Kesari Baat is a sweet breakfast dessert made of semolina, ghee, saffron, nuts, and sugar. It is flavored with cardamom powder. This is a common recipe in South Indian households that can be eaten as a breakfast or a dessert after the meal.
15. Poori Masala
Poori Masala is quite popular across India. It’s mildly spiced with hints of ginger, curry leaves, and is garnished with coriander leaves and served alongside deep-fried pooris. This nutritious dish can also be served as a side dish.
16. Akki Roti
Akki Roti translates to “rice bread” in Kannada and is unique to this state. It is made of rice flour mixed with salt and water and is kneaded well enough till the dough gets soft. This South Indian breakfast item is best served hot.