Gluten Free in India Part II: Indian Breakfast

Gluten Free Breakfast in India

Quickly I learned how much I love traditional Southern Indian breakfast dishes and I am proud to say I only ordered a plain cheese omelette a couple times throughout my stay. Many traditional Southern Indian breakfast dishes are gluten free. Here’s a listing of my favourites:

Masala Dosa was hands down my favourite breakfast.  It was just disappointing that I could only eat it on the weekends since they weren’t able to make it on the weekdays when I ate breakfast at 3:30 p.m. before work.  For the first week I actually stayed up until 8:00 a.m. after work so that I could eat this for breakfast before going to bed, but I quickly realized this was greatly messing up my sleeping pattern.  Dosa is a thin rice flour and yellow lentil pancake wrapped like a crepe and usually filled with delicious potatoes.  It is served with coconut chutney and lentil broth.  The breakfast chefs on the weekend would always know my order.  One morning I had a conversation with the Dosa chef about how making dosas is a skilled technique.  The batter is made ahead of time and then has to be left out for a while before cooking it.  To cook, the batter is quickly poured in a circle on the grill and flattened out into a perfect circle with a wooden tool.  They were so good, I hope I can find them in Toronto!

Masala Dosa

Masala Dosa


Filled with delicious potato

Filled with delicious potato

With a similar rice batter to Dosa, I ate two other traditional Southern India breakfasts that were naturally gluten free: idli and uttapam.  Idli are plain rice cakes served with sambar and tomato and coconut chutney.  Personally, I found this dish boring with an odd texture.  But I really liked uttapam and I started ordering it all the time.  Once again it’s a rice and lentil based pancake, but this time it’s much thicker and it is cooked with diced onions and tomatoes inside.  It’s amazing dipped in tomato chutney,  which is like South India’s ketchup!






Another staple breakfast that I ate was poha.  It is pressed, flattened rice lightly fried in oil with diced cooked vegetables, mustard seeds, peanuts and curry leaves!  Mmm the peanut flavour was so good in it.  Since the rice is flattened, the dish tastes so fluffy.  I got hooked on this dish and ate it for about a week straight!  I’ve never tastes anything like it before, amazing!




In addition to these typical Southern Indian breakfast dishes, I would often get a bowl of curd and eat it with gluten free granola I had brought from home.  Plus, bananas, watermelon, pineapple, and of course sweet lassies were frequent visitors to my breakfast table!