Be careful what you wish for… because you might actually get it.
I decided at the beginning of the year that I wanted my official job description to read – PROFESSIONAL JET-SETTER. Because travel is one of my true, deep passions… well, this last October I got to visit India for the second time. In the last 2 months, this is my 4th trip. My friend Annie Mariel asked me to accompany her run some errands in Delhi and I immediately said yes. How could I really say NO to that invitation?!?!?!
My first trip, exactly 5 years ago, had a spiritual purpose – visiting various religious temples in the Himalayas – but this one was much touristy. We visited Delhi, Varanasi and Agra, to see the Taj Mahal.
Breakfasts are really important to me… especially when traveling. I do not know why, but my appetite is HUGE during breakfast when I travel. Delhi has a lot of smog and is much dustier than what we’re accustomed on our side of the world. So I made it a point to always eat lots of fruit and yogurt to maintain my body’s defenses. Here are a few examples of typical breakfasts I had at our hotels:
The first was in Delhi – papaya pieces, plain yogurt, porridge or oatmeal made with milk. Just the way I like it. I always complemented breakfast with some freshly squeezed juice and apparently something very popular is watermelon juice. I found watermelon juice in Delhi and in Varanasi. They would even prepare it to order… super sweet and delicious.
This second was in Agra – papaya pieces with pomegranate seeds, plain yogurt, corn or wheat flakes. Here breakfast was complimented by salted lassi and pineapple juice. I much more prefer sweet lassi, but we’ll talk about that a little later on in a future post…
But these are very typical breakfasts… you might be thinking. But this was not all I ate each morning… this was just the starter complimented also by one of two Indian versions of breakfast too. Indians do not limit their curry and savory food intake from lunch on. They have their savory and spicy foods right after they open their eyes. Even though we stayed in Northern India, we got to taste the breakfast preferences of both North and South India.
When we were in Delhi, I was intrigued by what my table neighbor was eating. I saw this puffed up bread and I immediately was curious. It is called chole bhature and it is fried bread made from either maida flour (very-fine wheat flour) or rice flour. I had them both and you can barely notice a difference. You eat this fried, puffy bread with curried chickpeas and spicy/sweet mango chutney. The yogurt on my regular breakfast plate helped to cool my mouth because of the spices for the chickpeas and chutney.
Our servers at the hotel restaurant were so impressed with our interest in their local food, after I ordered just out of curiosity, that they would bring a service of this chole bhature without us having to order it.
Not what I normally crave for breakfast, but certainly interesting enough to enjoy it while in India… and I am all to have the most out of my travel experiences.
After an overnight train experience that left a lot to be desired, we arrived in Agra at 9:30AM and we were HUNGRY for breakfast. The buffet spread was exactly what we needed. That’s where we learned about Dosas.
Dosas are the typical South India version of breakfast… it’s a rice flour crepe filled with a curried-potato mixture. They’re made to order and you enjoy them with a coconut or tomato chutneys. And you know me, I am a crepe fanatic.
The potato mixture is spicy, but the chutneys were way spicier for my taste. So after tasting them initially, I kept on eating without the accompaniments. Salted lassi helped ease the spice level on the tongue. They were so good, we had dosas every morning we had breakfast in Agra.
I hope this encourages you to try out these Indian favorites the next time you travel to India or visit an Indian restaurant in your neighborhood. Tasting the local flavors is an integral part of getting to know a new country/culture. It’s what separates the travelers from the tourists… don’t you think?