Though it is said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, I myself am not used to those huge breakfasts you can find in international hotels with bacon, eggs, toast, cereal, fruit,... I just have a cup of coffee with milk and three biscuits. That is it!
But what was my surprise when my first morning in Punganur I found noodles (spicy, of course) and idli with some chutney or pickle. "Oh, my! How can they have this for breakfast?" I said to myself. I mean, you get up, you brush your teeth and you simply start narcotizing your mouth with hot food not to feel your tongue for the rest of the day? Was that the way?
In the beginning (as would happen to you) I didn't like anything. But as I had to nourish myself, I swallowed (without letting my taste buds noticing much) a little amount of whatever was on the table. As my friend saw that I didn't eat much, every now and then he brought me some sandwich bread and jam (which, by the way, I didn't like, either). But after some time I learnt to enjoy everything we had for breakfast, including jam. Well, not everything! Neither Aravind (one of the kids at the boarding school) nor I liked pongal much.
But, to tell you the truth, we had a wide range of dishes, and nearly every day we could choose between two different ones. So, if I didn't like one, I could have the other.
We had idli, pongal, upma or semiya upma with sambar, pickle or chutney. We also had dosas (which I loved), Maggie (which later I found out that was the Brand of the noodles), poori and the occasional omelet.
My favourite breakfast food was yellow rice, which Leena and Anitha used to cook on Sundays, but I kept it for lunch instead.
Apart from having all these delicacies, there was milk. Rich, tasty milk! We had a cow at the boarding school. Somebody milked it every day. Being used to that tasteless carton "milk" that we drink in most parts of Spain, that milk was like God-sent milk. I remember I exclaimed, "it smells of milk!" when I was given a cup of it with my first breakfast there. Everybody laughed, but its aroma really awed me. It took me back to my childhood in my mother's village where I used to drink fresh milk.
As I told you in one of the posts, two of the bosses there weren't very fond of me. As they knew ('cause I told them) that I "needed" a cup of milk just after waking up (I think that is the only whim I had in a whole year), what they did was lock the dining room and the kitchen so that I couldn't get any until the cooks came two hours later. I asked for a key to the door over and over again, but with not even a thin excuse or anything (that's the Indian way) they just refused to give me a copy of it. There was a side door, anyway, with a kind of broken mosquito net and a latch, so every night, before they locked everything I made sure this door was not latched. You can imagine the rest: every morning, at 6, I would sneak in through that door, prepare a cup of milk, have it, leave everything in the exact place I had found it and crawled out again. When the children saw me they must have thought I was nuts or something! I did that for about three months; that's what it took me to get hold of a copy of the key.
If you think about it, that was funnier than going straight to the fridge and getting your milk!
Before finishing I must apologize for the "English" used in the menu in the main photo. It was written by the asshole who ran (and still runs) the place. It was one of his brilliant ideas" Shakespeare must be turning in his grave!
Here you are some recipes of Indian breakfasts. Enjoy them!