Thursday, July 10, 2008

Have you had your lunch?

In India, it seems customary rather than asking "How are you?", to ask "Have you had your breakfast/lunch/chai?" To answer the question, it is vital to know a bit about the choices, which at times, can seem minimal.
There are certain items which you can usually have anytime of day. At breakfast, lunch or dinner you can nearly always find idli, vada, dosa or perhaps, a paratha of some sort. Idli are white, steamed rice flour patties. Vadas are a bit like savory fried donuts.

Poori are breads which when deep fried, puff up. They are usually served with coconut chutney and a veg curry.

Dosa are made from fermented dahl and rice batter, fried on a flat grill or pan. They come in may varieties, one of the favorites being the masala dosa which is filled with cooked up potatoes and onions. Parathas are another types of gently grilled soft bread. All are served with coconut chutney and another side, often sambar.

Thali's (also called meals) are a lunchtime favorite, rice with several small portions of unidentifiable-to-us gravy. Each is poured on the rice a bit at a time and consumed sans fork or spoon. There, of course, are other choices which have not been mentioned. Variations on a theme depending on what part of the country you are in, but these seem to be staples.

We thought it might be interesting to report a three day menu, which we consumed while staying in Bangalore. Not flashy Bangalore, but the city market area, also called Old Bangalore.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner beginning at the train station.
Day 1
Veg fried rice

Day 2
Masala Dosa

Day 3
Masala Dosa
Masala Dosa

Not much variety, but who can complain when it's considered normal to eat fried bits of bread for every meal?
Sooo, "Have you had your lunch?"

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