What to eat in South India for breakfast

There are three dishes that I’d recommend trying for breakfast when in South India, each a mile apart from my daily porridge bowl. You’ll find that they’re hearty with a bit of spice, but you’re in India so you may as well tuck into the local cuisine.

Without further do, here are the three dishes that will start your day right in South India.


Masala Dosa

Masala Dosa, India

What is it?

Masala Dosa is essentially a lentil pancake with potato curry inside. You can get all kinds of Dosa with different fillings but masala (potato) is my favourite. It comes with sambar which is a lentil dahl, some coconut chutney and sometimes a more spicy red chutney too.

Masala Dosa is my all time favourite meal. If you asked me what food I would be happy to eat day after day for the rest of my life, then this would be it.


Idli with Sambar

Idli, India

What is it?

The best description of idli is rice dumplings. Their made from rice flour and water. You put the mixture in an idli mould and then place that in a pressure cooker. Once complete they come out soft and fluffy. They usually come with sambar and coconut chutney again.

Usually I would submerge the idli in sambar, but as I didn’t have a bowl big enough I went for the dipping method here.

If you’re interested in making them, then check out my Idli Recipe post.


Medu Vada with Sambar

Medu Vada, India

What is it?

Medu Vada is an Indian fritter (aka savoury doughnut) made from black lentils or urad dahl. You’ll find that it’s made in a doughnut-shape, with a crispy exterior and soft spongy interior. They’re quite often made with onion or cabbage which give them some extra flavour.

I hadn’t actually tried these before coming to Bangalore but they were absolutely to my taste. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Delicious.

The dish is usually served with sambar and a coconut chutney. I liked to submerge my medu vada in the sambar. However you could just dip them in too.


There you have it, my top three South Indian breakfast dishes. I love eating these for breakfast, however idli and masala dosa are dinner favourites of mine in the UK too. If you’re vegan like me, then follow the tip below and you’ll be just fine.

Top tip: When ordering any of these dishes, makes sure that you ask that they cook them without ghee or butter and instead use oil. Most of the time they use oil anyway, but better to be safe.

If you’re off to India then have a truly wonderful time. Now you know what to order to start your day Indian style.

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