Ever had those mornings where you're pressed for time, but the tummy is growling for a hearty meal? Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Well, in our home, it feels like a common occurrence. As a dedicated father, I always feel obligated to ensure my kids, Rohan and Parvati, don't go to school on an empty stomach. To add to the challenge, my tasteful better-half, Zara, appreciates variety in our meals. Therefore, I've had to master the speedy art of cooking and serving delicious Indian breakfasts in under 15 minutes, and it’s a joy I wish to share with all of you today.
Flattened rice or 'Poha' holds a distinctive spot in the Indian breakfast lineup. It's zesty, easy to digest, and a perfect match for a hurried morning. To make it, you'll need flattened rice, a medley of finely chopped veggies, mustard seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves, turmeric powder, and a dash of lemon. Begin by washing the rice gently and draining the water. Meanwhile, heat a pan, splutter the mustard seeds, toss in the diced veggies, and work in your spices. Once the colors brighten and the aromas fill your kitchen, stir in your flattened rice, garnish with fresh coriander, and voila! You've got a nutritious breakfast sure to impress.
Idli, a traditional South Indian delicacy, is a great choice for a healthy and rapid breakfast feast. The key to quickly making fluffy, soft idlis lies in storing a batch of 'ready-to-steam' fermented batter in your refrigerator. The batter, generally made from urad dal and rice, can easily be prepared and stored a night before. So all your morning requires is to pour this batter into Idli molds and steam them for about 10-12 minutes. While our golden retriever, Milo, often looks up with hopeful eyes, even he knows that Idlis are too good to share!
When I oversleep, I turn to my trusty quick-fix – Upma. It's a savory semolina pudding traditionally hailing from the southern part of India. What I adore about Upma is its versatility. You make it sweet or savory and throw in a colorful palette of vegetables, making it a healthy, balanced meal. At times, I'd mix in some roasted cashews for an added crunch that Rohan and Parvati enjoy. Cooking Upma takes little more than fifteen minutes - a splash of hot water, a drizzle of ghee (clarified butter), and a sprinkle of jeera (cumin seeds), and you've got yourself a nutritious, warming breakfast.
For an unusual, but oh-so-satisfying breakfast, I recommend Bread Pakora, a popular Indian street food. It is crispy on the outside, softly spiced on the inside, and can be served with ketchup or mint chutney. What I love about bread pakoras is how you can sneak in leftovers. Got some leftover potato curry from last night? Make it a filling. It adds a layer of surprise, and my children guess what’s inside. On a side note, beware of canary birds. Our canary, Olive, though wild about songs, does not appreciate the sizzling sound in the kitchen when you fry these golden crispy treats. I've learned it the hard way! So, make sure your feathered friends are not nearby when you are about to deep-fry your bread pakoras.
Last but not least, let me share my 'super-dad' move - The Quick Parathas. This stuffed Indian bread is easy to make, filling, and a family favorite. All you need is whole wheat flour, a pinch of salt, water, and your choice of stuffing. I usually go for mashed potatoes, finely chopped spinach, or grated paneer (cottage cheese), depending on what I have handy. I knead the dough a night before and pre-prepare stuffing to accelerate the morning assembly. Rolling the dough with stuffing inside, frying it on the pan, and anointing it with a dollop of butter makes for an irresistible breakfast staple. Remember to make a few extra, Zara loves sneaking them for lunch!