10 Best South Indian Breakfast Recipes

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South Indian food is one of the most popular cuisines in India. You have got to try some of the 10 best South Indian breakfast recipes!

It combines food and flavors from five different states; Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala.

South Indian cuisine uses a lot of curry leaves, mustard, asafetida, pepper and peppercorns, tamarind, chilies, and fenugreek seeds.

Compared to North Indian cuisine, it is a lot spicier and fresher. South Indian food prioritizes lots of chili and fresh vegetables in their food.

North India relies heavily on chicken and lamb, whereas South Indian food has more beans, rice, and veggies.

South Indian food is a varied and complex cuisine that is enjoyed by people all over the world. And did we mention it is so delicious?!

We’ve found the best South Indian breakfast recipes to incorporate into your morning routine.

These meals are nutritious, tasty, and easy to make. South India has some of the most unique, wholesome breakfast food in the world.

Forgo your scrambled eggs and choose a tasty medu vada or a vibrant poori masala.

Read on to find out more about the top 10 South Indian breakfast recipes!

1. Vegetable Upma

Rice upma is basically made from crushed rice and can be served with sambar or chutney.
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Upma is a common breakfast food in south India. It is a super easy meal that combines semolina flour (rava), spices, herbs, veggies, and some lentils.

Semolina flour flavored with ghee is the base of this meal. It has a texture very similar to mashed potatoes or a thick porridge, it’s soft, dense, and creamy.

Upma is essentially a blank slate to experiment with different flavor combinations. However, we do love the classic vegetable upma.

Combine carrot, peas, and beans with some urad dal (split black lentils) for your South Indian breakfast. Yum!

2. Dosa

Different types of traditional indian rice pancakes dosa. dosa filled with vegetables sambar and plain dosa served with dips chutney, on metal plate, stone background. dish of south india, top view, 10 best south indian breakfast recipes
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Dosa is a thin, savory pancake served for breakfast in South India. It is made from a fermented batter that gives the pancake a unique grainy texture.

Dosa can be a little tricky to get right, so it’s important you find a good, trustworthy recipe!

Essentially, you need to combine urad dhal, channa dal, basmati rice, and fenugreek seeds in a food processor after they have soaked overnight.

The processed mixture is then left overnight in a warm location to ferment.

Once the fermentation is complete, the ingredients will have doubled in size and appear bubbly.

Then, you fry the dosa batter into a delicious, crispy pancake! Dosa is a versatile and healthy breakfast. There are so many things you can eat with dosa.

Aloo masala is a popular side dish for dosa, but we also love to serve cheese or lentils with ours for breakfast!

3. Onion Uttapam

The batter to make uttapam is made of urad dal and rice that has been fermented. instead of making it like a crispy crepe, uttapam is thick and not filled, with ingredients cooked right into the batter. uttapam is traditionally made with tomatoes or an onion-chilli mix, other common ingredient choices are coconut or mixed vegetables. uttapam is sometimes called an indian pizza or pancake.
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Uttapam is very similar to dosa. It’s a thicker, heartier version of the traditional dosa.

This is a great alternative to dosa if you want something more filling than a dosa.

Uttapam uses exactly the same ingredients as a dosa, except more batter is poured into the frying pan.

Uttapam is also served with more veggies and toppings than dosa. Our favorite is onion, chili, ginger, and coriander with sweet mango chutney.

4. Idli

Indian cuisine - idli sambar steamed rice and urad bean dal dumplings served with sambar and chutney sauces on wooden table
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Idli is a fantastic easy, low-carb breakfast option originating from South India.

They are a plain savory rice cake that can be eaten with your chutney of choice or with tiffin sambar (lentil stew).

Idli can be purchased pre-made or they can be made at home. They make for a simple, but very tasty breakfast!

5. Pongal

Pongal lentil rice indian food made with dal
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Pongal is made with moong lentils, rice, spices, and curry leaves. It can also be made sweet with the addition of sugar, cardamom, and nuts.

Pongal is a traditional South Indian dish that is often offered to gods during festivals and other notable occasions.

Pongal has a gooey, thick consistency a bit like porridge. However, unlike porridge, it’s packed full of flavor!

Be warned, Pongal does take a bit of time and it can be quite complex. It’s definitely worth it though!

6. Medu Vada

Vada or medu vadai with sambar and coconut chutney - popular south indian snack
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Medu vada is a crispy South Indian fritter. Think of a savory doughnut made with urad dhal and you’ve got medu vada.

They are a very popular breakfast dish in South India due to their versatility and simplicity.

South Indians usually enjoy their medu vada with coconut chutney and tiffin sambar (lentil stew).

Medu vada is deep fried in oil to get its lovely texture. They shouldn’t really be eaten every day for breakfast as they do soak up a lot of oil.

Opt for something healthier like idli or poori masala for a healthier breakfast option.

7. Tiffin Sambar

Different types of traditional indian rice pancakes dosa. dosa filled with vegetables sambar and plain dosa served with dips chutney, on metal plate, stone background. dish of south india, top view
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Tiffin sambar is a lentil stew served with idli and medu vada. It’s a hearty and satisfying lentil stew that is perfect for cold winter mornings.

Idli sambar is made with arhar dal, masoor dal, onion, tomatoes, carrots, beans, okra, and eggplant. Pop your idli in the stew and eat straight away!

This is a unique change from your standard stew or curry. The idli offers an interesting flavor and texture to the tiffin sambar that will definitely spice up your breakfast!

You can also serve tiffin sambar with rice, uttapam, or dosa.

8. Puttu

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Puttu is made with ground rice and coconut shavings. The rice and coconut are shaped into a distinctive cylinder shape.

Puttu is a nutrient-dense, healthy, delicious breakfast from South India.

It is often served with curry or fresh fruit. Puttu goes particularly well with plantain, jackfruit, or banana.

9. Poori Masala

Puri bhaji or poori masala,aloo sabzi,aloo curry,fry bread indian food
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Poori masala is a curry that is served alongside poori (fried bread). It is made with lentils, chickpeas, or potatoes, with tomatoes, onions, spices, and curry leaves.

This is a thick, nutritious curry that is a unique breakfast option. If you’re bored of your cereal or eggs, try out this delectable and flavorful potato curry.

Don’t forget to serve your poori masala with crunchy homemade fried bread for the full breakfast experience!

10. Akki Roti

Akki rotti - spicy indian traditional breakfast dish, made from rice flour, carrot and coconut.
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Akki roti is one of the crown jewels of Karnataka cuisine. Karnataka is located in the southwest of India along the Arabian Sea.

Akki roti is a fried flatbread made with rice flour, spices, herbs, and vegetables. It’s basically a Karnatakan spin on the dosa or the uttapam.

Variations of fried bread and pancakes are the most common breakfast food in India.

Akki roti is more textured and flakier than dosa or uttapam and you don’t need to ferment the batter!

Akki roti is often made with carrots, cucumbers, onion, and herbs. It’s packed full of veggies and nutrients and is the perfect way to start your day off right!

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the 10 best South Indian breakfast recipes.

Now it’s time to jump into the kitchen and start experimenting with these amazing recipes! 

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