How To Cook An Indian Breakfast

Learning how to cook an Indian breakfast combines two culinary loves, Indian food and breakfast! When cooking an Indian breakfast, it's important to remember that they, like American breakfasts, vary by region, religious beliefs, and cultural practices. There are several food items that are used throughout India, like eggs, potatoes, and onions, also fresh fruits and yogurt. The breakfast menu that we will be preparing today is a traditional Upma and a Garlicky Mushroom Masala Omelette.


  • 2 cups of semolina or cracked wheat
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 onion, cut into small pieces
  • 2 green chiles, cut into small pieces
  • 1 carrot, cut into small pieces
  • a small piece of ginger, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup of fresh peas
  • Popu, which is 1 teaspoon of each: urad dal, chana dal, minced garlic, curry leaves, cumin, and mustard seeds
  1. First roast the semolina or cracked wheat. This brings out the flavor of the grains and also allows it to mix with the water without forming lumps. Roast the semolina until it goes from a cream color to a light brown. It's not necessary to roast the cracked wheat, but it always helps to bring out the flavor.
  2. Next, heat 2 tsp. of oil in a pan. Once the oil is warm, add the Popu ingredients, in the order that they're listed.
  3. When the mustard seeds begin to jump, add in the vegetables. Saute all the ingredients until they become tender. Other vegetables can be added in to make it thicker and richer.
  4. Add the four cups of water and a teaspoon of salt. Mix in the water and salt until the ingredients are well-combined, then cover the pan. Bring the water to a boil on high heat.
  5. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat. Stirring continuously, slowly add in the toasted semolina or cracked wheat. The stirring keeps the ingredients from lumping together.
  6. Add the peanuts or cashews. Once the nuts are stirred in, cover the dish back up and allow it to cook until all the water has been absorbed. The dish should be soft and smooth, like porridge.

Tips: Serve the upma warm, sprinkled with a little lemon or lime juice to taste. Serve with coconut or peanut chutney for extra flavor.

Masala Omelette 

  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 1/4 c. Vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 medium mushrooms, sliced lengthwise
  • 3 scallions, cut into fine rounds
  • 1 hot green chile, cut in fine rounds with seeds
  • 4 large Tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp. peeled and grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup canned chopped tomatoes
  1. Break the eggs into a bowl. Add the salt and pepper and beat well. Pour into a measuring cup.
  2. Put 2 Tbsp. of oil into a medium frying pan over high heat. When it's hot, add the mustard seeds.
  3. When the mustard seeds pop, add the garlic. Stir it once or twice until the garlic is browned.
  4. Add the mushrooms. Stir until they lose their raw look.
  5. Turn the heat down to medium. Add in the scallions, chile, cilantro, and ginger. Stir until the green seasonings have wilted.  
  6. Add the tomatoes. Stir for about 30 seconds, adding salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat.
  7. In a separate frying pan, put 1 Tbsp. of oil and turn on the high heat. When hot, pour in half of the eggs. Stir them with a wooden spoon for 3 or 4 seconds until they look like soft lumps held together in one layer.  
  8. Add half of the tomato mixture along the center of the eggs. Fold the eggs over. Cook for another few seconds, then flip the omelet onto a warm plate. Make the second omelet the same way.

Tips: When using hot oil, always pour slowly. For a change of pace from the normal cereal or eggs, Indian food works great. The foods are flavorful, filling, and delicious and are sure to satisfy any appetite. 



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