10 Steamed Indian Dishes That Are Best Enjoyed in Breakfast

10 Steamed Indian Dishes That Are Best Enjoyed in Breakfast

10 Steamed Indian Dishes That Are Best Enjoyed in Breakfast

Indian cuisine is known for its rich diversity and the use of a variety of cooking techniques, one of the most popular being steaming. Steaming is a method that not only retains the nutritional value of the ingredients but also enhances their natural flavors. It’s a healthier alternative to frying and is especially favored for breakfast dishes. Here are ten steamed Indian dishes that are perfect for a nutritious and delicious start to your day.

1. Idli

Origin and Popularity

Idli is perhaps the most iconic steamed breakfast dish in India, originating from South India. These soft, fluffy rice cakes are enjoyed across the country and are particularly popular in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, and Andhra Pradesh.

Ingredients

  • Rice
  • Urad dal (black gram)
  • Fenugreek seeds
  • Salt

Preparation

The process begins with soaking rice and urad dal separately. They are then ground to a fine paste, mixed together, and left to ferment overnight. The fermented batter is poured into idli molds and steamed until they rise and become spongy.

Serving Suggestions

Idlis are typically served with coconut chutney, sambar (a spicy lentil soup), and a variety of other chutneys. They are light on the stomach and packed with carbohydrates and proteins.

2. Dhokla

Origin and Popularity

Hailing from Gujarat, Dhokla is a savory steamed cake made from fermented rice and chickpea batter. It’s a staple in Gujarati households and is enjoyed as a breakfast item or a snack.

Ingredients

  • Gram flour (besan)
  • Rice flour
  • Yogurt
  • Green chili-ginger paste
  • Lemon juice
  • Eno fruit salt

Preparation

The batter is prepared by mixing gram flour, rice flour, yogurt, and spices. After fermentation, Eno fruit salt is added to the batter, which is then steamed until it becomes light and fluffy.

Serving Suggestions

Dhokla is garnished with mustard seeds, sesame seeds, and fresh coriander leaves. It’s served with green chutney and sweet tamarind chutney, making it a tangy and delightful breakfast option.

3. Puttu

Origin and Popularity

Puttu is a traditional breakfast dish from Kerala, often enjoyed with a variety of accompaniments. It is a cylindrical steamed cake made of ground rice layered with coconut.

Ingredients

  • Rice flour
  • Fresh grated coconut
  • Salt
  • Water

Preparation

The rice flour is mixed with water and salt to form a crumbly texture. This mixture is then layered with grated coconut in a puttu maker and steamed.

Serving Suggestions

Puttu is typically served with kadala curry (black chickpea curry), ripe bananas, or even sugar and ghee for a simpler version. Its unique texture and flavor make it a beloved breakfast item.

4. Rava Idli

Origin and Popularity

Rava Idli is a variation of the traditional idli, made using semolina (rava) instead of rice. This dish was invented by the popular South Indian restaurant chain MTR during World War II when rice was in short supply.

Ingredients

  • Semolina (rava)
  • Yogurt
  • Eno fruit salt
  • Green chilies
  • Mustard seeds
  • Curry leaves
  • Cashew nuts

Preparation

The semolina is roasted and mixed with yogurt, water, and spices. After letting it sit for a while, Eno fruit salt is added just before steaming the batter in idli molds.

Serving Suggestions

Rava Idli is served with coconut chutney and sambar. The addition of spices and cashews gives it a unique flavor and texture, making it a wholesome breakfast option.

5. Momos

Origin and Popularity

Momos are steamed dumplings that have their origins in Tibet but have become immensely popular across India, especially in the northeastern states.

Ingredients

  • All-purpose flour
  • Vegetables or meat for filling (cabbage, carrot, chicken, etc.)
  • Ginger-garlic paste
  • Soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation

A dough is made from all-purpose flour and water. This dough is then rolled out, filled with a mixture of vegetables or meat seasoned with ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and other spices, and then steamed.

Serving Suggestions

Momos are typically served with a spicy red chutney and a clear soup. They make for a light yet satisfying breakfast option, especially during colder months.

6. Pathiri

Origin and Popularity

Pathiri is a type of rice pancake from Kerala, traditionally made by the Malabar Muslim community. It is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed with both savory and sweet accompaniments.

Ingredients

  • Rice flour
  • Water
  • Salt

Preparation

Rice flour is mixed with boiling water and kneaded into a dough. Small balls of this dough are rolled out into thin discs and steamed until cooked.

Serving Suggestions

Pathiri is often served with coconut milk and sugar or with spicy meat curries. Its delicate texture and subtle flavor make it an excellent breakfast choice.

7. Modak

Origin and Popularity

Modak is a sweet steamed dumpling, traditionally prepared during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Maharashtra. It’s believed to be a favorite of Lord Ganesha.

Ingredients

  • Rice flour
  • Jaggery
  • Fresh grated coconut
  • Cardamom powder
  • Ghee

Preparation

A dough is made from rice flour and water. This dough is then shaped into small cups, filled with a mixture of jaggery, coconut, and cardamom, and steamed until the outer shell is soft and translucent.

Serving Suggestions

Modak is often enjoyed plain or with a drizzle of ghee. It’s a delightful and sweet start to the day, perfect for those with a sweet tooth.

8. Faraa

Origin and Popularity

Faraa, also known as pithas, is a traditional breakfast dish from Bihar. These are steamed rice flour dumplings stuffed with spicy lentil paste.

Ingredients

  • Rice flour
  • Chana dal (split chickpeas)
  • Ginger-garlic paste
  • Spices (cumin, coriander, etc.)
  • Salt

Preparation

A dough is prepared from rice flour, and the filling is made by grinding soaked chana dal with spices. The dough is shaped into small discs, filled with the lentil mixture, and steamed.

Serving Suggestions

Faraa is typically served with green chutney or tomato ketchup. It’s a filling and nutritious breakfast that combines the goodness of lentils and rice.

9. Patra

Origin and Popularity

Patra, or Alu Vadi, is a popular steamed dish from Gujarat and Maharashtra. It consists of colocasia leaves layered with a spiced gram flour paste, rolled, and steamed.

Ingredients

  • Colocasia leaves
  • Gram flour (besan)
  • Tamarind paste
  • Spices (turmeric, chili powder, cumin, etc.)
  • Jaggery
  • Sesame seeds

Preparation

The gram flour is mixed with spices, tamarind paste, and jaggery to form a thick paste. This paste is spread on colocasia leaves, which are then rolled up, steamed, and sliced.

Serving Suggestions

Patra is often served with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and grated coconut. It can be enjoyed on its own or with a side of chutney, making it a flavorful and healthy breakfast option.

10. Sandesh

Origin and Popularity

Sandesh is a popular Bengali sweet that is traditionally steamed. While it is more commonly enjoyed as a dessert, it makes for a light and sweet breakfast option.

Ingredients

  • Chhena (fresh paneer)
  • Sugar
  • Cardamom powder
  • Saffron (optional)
  • Pistachios (for garnish)

Preparation

Chhena is kneaded with sugar and cardamom powder. This mixture is then shaped into small balls or discs and steamed. Some variations include a stuffing of saffron-infused chhena or a garnish of pistachios.

Serving Suggestions

Sandesh is best enjoyed chilled or at room temperature. Its subtle sweetness and creamy texture make it a delightful way to start the day.

Conclusion

Steamed dishes are an integral part of Indian cuisine, offering a healthy and nutritious start to the day. Whether you prefer savory or sweet, there is a steamed breakfast option to suit every palate. From the soft and fluffy idlis of South India to the sweet and delicate modaks of Maharashtra, these dishes showcase the rich culinary diversity of India. Incorporating these steamed delights into your breakfast routine not only ensures a wholesome meal but also brings a variety of flavors and textures to your table.

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