A South Indian breakfast is anything but sweet; it is delicious, nutritious, and satisfying. Our breakfasts of steamed rice cakes, wafer-thin pancakes, delicate dumplings, and thin, soft rice noodles are a true revelation of the subtle tastes and variety of textures that can be achieved with a few simple ingredients. Although almost all these recipes are prepared with batters or dough made of rice and lentils, variously shaped and spiced, all have their own distinct texture, taste, and appearance. Compare these dishes to croissants, muffins, and breads—all made with the same ingredients, and yet, each one different from the others. The dishes in this chapter are traditionally served with savory chutneys, spicy curries, and various other accompaniments. All of them also make excellent brunch choices.
While the first three of the following recipes are of Kerala origin, the influence of Tamil Nadu cuisine is clearly reflected in the recipes for dosa, idli and vada. Today, these dishes are as much a part of Kerala cuisine as they are of Tamil Nadu cuisine.