21 Amazing Bangalore Breakfast Dishes

The first time I saw the menu, I was lost. Sure, I knew dosas and idlis, but that was as far as it went. The other items were utterly alien to me.

indian-menu

And so I did the only thing I could: I decided to eat them all.

It took longer than expected. Tasted better than expected. And added more pounds than I would have thought possible. But here they are…

Pongal

Poongal
This peppery rice and dal stew looks like jailyard slop and tastes a lot like heaven and home. It’s filled with mustard seeds, red chillies, curry leaves and peppercorns. Add a hint of lime, maybe some cashews, a heck of a lot of spice, and a splash of raita on the side, and you’re really cooking! Feeling beat down? A cold coming on? This is the place to go.

Khara Bath & Kesari Bath, “Chow Chow Bath”

Chow Chow Bath
Apart they are glorious. On the left is savory Khara Bath (maybe also known as Upma), a fistful of spiced semolina, coriander, ghee, chillies, awesomeness. On the right sits the sweet, sweet twin: Kesari Bath. My god is it sweet. One recipe I have calls for 1 cup ghee, 1 cup semolina, and 2 cups of sugar. Together, they’re served with coconut chutney, and called Chow Chow Bath. My lord is it good. “If you eat that every day,” Varun warned, “You’ll be so fat.” I’m on my way, pal, on my way!

Puri Sagu

Puri Sagu
You’ve probably had poori alongside a curry for dinner. Well, this tasty breakfast alternative ain’t too different at all. The deep fried paper-thin bread is served up with a tasty coconut-vegetable curry — the sagu — and if you’re lucky some coconut chutney as well. Because everything goes better with coconut.

Idly

idli
What can you say about an idli? It’s steamed, it’s light, it’s spongey, it’s rice and semolina and dal, packed together in a fluffy patty. At Brahmin’s Coffee Bar, off Bull Temple Road, you can find something so light it literally melts in your mouth. Sometimes served with a thimble of ghee oil, which should be drizzled on top. Wow.

Rava Idly

Rava Idly
Here’s one great way to beat any hint of bland from the idly: add more dal and spices to the mix, drop the rice, and add a hell of a lot more semolina. Still steamed, still spongey, but twice as tasty.

Idly Sambhar

Idly Sambar
If the Rava Idli isn’t flavorful enough, try your idlis doused in sambar, a spicy red stew of tomatoes, dal, onions, and whatever else the kitchen has lying around. You’ll need to brush your teeth after — it’s a wonderfully pungent broth — but don’t skip this version. Jeez is it good.

Vada

Vada
This small savory donut has no end of pronunciations and spellings, and includes more or less the same ingredients as everything else here. Some dal, maybe some flour, some peppercorns and spices, and a whole lot of love. Try the deep-fried-but-fluffy-inside ones at Mavalli Tiffin Rooms, which serves the Krispy Kreme of vadai, and smile.

Dahi Vada

Dahi Vada
The name says it all: yogurt (“dahi”) vada. After deep-frying, the doughey wada is tossed in a bucket of thick sweet yogurt, and then doused in crunch and spice. Sprinkle on some chili powder, a touch of cumin powder, a little coriander, and you’re set. It’s like a South Indian Rice Krispies, if you ask me.

Idli Vada Sambhar

Idly Vada Sambar
One idli, one vada, and a huge gorgeous slop of sambhar splashed all over. Uttam called it the Bangalore classic. Uttam was telling it right.

Rice Bath

Rice Bath
You know, to me a good rice bath is just a solid pongal: a spicy mix of rice, vegetables, curry leaves and black peppercorns, something that can close in on perfection. It’s filling and tasty, and I’m always ending up with bits in my teeth. And that’s the way a good meal should be, yes?

Pakoda Bajji

Pakoda Bajji
Chickpea-battered, deep fried vegetable fritters may be a standard appetizer in Indian restaurants, but for breakfast? Even with the chilli powder, turmeric and coriander it’s a little strange. Now maybe if they’d start using bacon… then we could talk!

Mangalore Bun

Mangalore Bun
Apparently the true Mangalore treat, Bhubhus Rotti buns are now found everywhere in Bangalore. Slightly sweet, banana-hinted rolls. Perfectly crispy on the outside, and oh so fluffy inside. Rip off a tear of bread, scoop up the spiced sagu vegetable curry, and know happiness. Is there anything better than this? For breakfast, for dinner, alongside a double-order of Chow Chow Bath, the Mangalore Bun is the way to go.

But then I started on the dosas… and, oh, the dosas!

Plain Dosa

Plain Dosa
The dosa is everywhere in South India, rice batter and dal griddled into an Indian crepe. Thick or thin, greasy or dry, flat or folded or rolled into a cone, they’re all the same beast. And all completely awesome. “You must use your fingers,” says every old Bangalorian man. Yes, you must. You really must.

Benne Masala Dosa

Benne Masala Dosa
A masala dosa is stuffed with fried onions, potatoes and spices, a fresh and filling concoction that starts the day right. But this is more — this is a benne masala dosa! The benne dosa is smaller, fried in heapings of butter, and drizzled with a light pour of butter or ghee. At Central Tiffin Room and Vidyarthi Bhavan the b.m.d. masterpieces can be found: something so crispy and fried on the outside, yet so fluffy and lush inside, they might just make you cry.

Rava Dosa

Rava Dosa
Like pumpernickel in a New York deli, you can always find your semolina alternative in a Bangalore breakfast joint. The rava dosa is just that: no rice in the making; just semolina.

Set Dosa

Set Dosa
Like silver dollar pancakes, the set dose are smaller, rounder, and just as delicious. They’re only fried on one side. Does this make them the healthy alternative?

Palak Dosa

Palak Dosa
It’s like a Mediterranean pizza! With pureed spinach in the batter, served open, and covered in potatoes and tomatoes, carrots, raisins and spices, this is where the real one is at.

Paper Masala Dosa

Paper Masala Dosa
If you’re sick of short dosas, try this manly beast. A foot, two feet, sometimes even four feet long, these delicate paper-thin dosas are the ultimate in showoff. They never fit on your plate, and sometimes they don’t even fit on your table.

Paneer Butter Masala Dosa

Paneer Butter Masala Dosa
You can honestly get anything in a dosa. A food truck in Koramangala sells 99 different flavors. I asked if they had chocolate dosas, and they looked disgusted — and instead sold me on a Chinese-Indian hybrid called the Shezwan Paneer Dosa. A shop called Dose Mane, sick of the 99 dosa food truck in the news, now offers 110 varieties.

Unlike the avalakayi, pudeena, and sixer khara dosas, or even the shezwan variants, panner butter masala dosa is actually on my local breakfast joint’s menu. So I eat it a lot. And damn is it good.

And now, the quest continues.

me-with-paper-dosa

Photos taken at Sandhya Sagar, Sri Krishna Sagar, Ganesh Fast Food, Mavalli Tiffin Rooms (MTR), Vidyarthi Bhavan and Central Tiffin Rooms (CTR), all in Bangalore.

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83 Responses to 21 Amazing Bangalore Breakfast Dishes

  1. John Kuo says:

    Andy, you’re killing me here…

  2. pRiyA says:

    I can’t tell you how happy I am to read through this post. I agree with everything in it.
    I see the author sports a South Indian moustache too!

  3. svk says:

    Ha ha. I think this post should have been called “21 Amazing Bangalorian Breakfast Dishes”.

  4. Anu says:

    As a South Indian and a foodie, and a human being with eyes, I completely approve. I just ate idlis this morning (homemade, though), and I can now smell that paper dosa through the screen. Yum.

    • Andy Deemer says:

      I really need to learn to make idlis. The best I’ve done is Khara Bath from an MTR package. But a bag of semolina sits on my kitchen counter now, begging to be used! Soon, I tell it every day… soon.

      • Anu says:

        MTR packages are the best, their Rava Idlis are by far the best I’ve ever had. As for regular idlis, my mum, who is an idli expert, just soaks rice and some pulses overnight, then grinds and mixes them together with some yogurt, ferments it for a couple of days and voila! Twenty minutes in a steamer and they’re in my stomach :P

        P.S – Nice facial hair, I giggled :)

        • svk says:

          And the trick to a good dosa is “ID Idili Dosa” batter. (Get the idli/dosa batter, not just the dosa one).

        • Andy Deemer says:

          Brilliant! I’ll pick up some MTR Rava Idli mix tonight!!

          P.S – Thanks. ;P I tried for the Dr Rajkumar pencil, but it really came out wrong. Now I’m trying for something more serious, like Rajini in Thirupathi. Heh heh heh….

  5. Superb post, and you seem to have raided most of Bangalore’s good hotels. :)

    And as a Bangalorean and a Mangalorean – I can’t help but grin at all these perfect choices.

  6. deviousDiv says:

    Dear Andy,

    As amazing as the dishes look- the best part of this whole post- was that picture of you rocking a hard core Tamil/Malayalam movie hero’s mustache. Swap those jeans for a veshti or mundu (that white cloth that men wear around their hips) and you could be a movie star.

    ;)

    ~deviousDiv

  7. Alison Wiktil says:

    Love this! As I am just coming off 8 days of detoxing it all looks absolutely delicious to me. Haven’t been to Bangalore yet, but there were are few items on here that I didn’t recognize from Chennai. Would love to try the paneer butter masala dose – that looks awesome! I wonder if there’s anywhere in Delhi that does these?

  8. anil kumar says:

    Alison:

    In Delhi, try Sagar Rathna (many outlets across the city); Naivedyam in Hauz Khas Village. The dosas in Delhi are influenced by the Tamil / Andhra style of cooking and will not be the same as what is seen in the pictures, but they are not bad.

    - Anil Kumar

  9. venky says:

    Alison, try Naivedyam at Hauz Has in Delhi for good South Indian food in a nice ambience.

  10. Alison Wiktil says:

    Thank you Venky & Anil – I am a regular customer of Sagar Ratna and have been to Naivedyam a few times. I was just wondering whether it was possible to find the same dishes that Andy has shown us up there. I guess I’ll just have to pay a trip to Bangalore! :)

    • Andy Deemer says:

      YES! On your way back from Goa, perhaps? We’ll start making “reservations” now. (By reservations, I mean, um, flagging down an auto?)

  11. Harsha K N says:

    Look so beautiful and yum. If finding best South Indian dish places in Bangalore was a test, I would say you have nailed it. Also few places you have mentioned are quite near to where I stay. I can only say you have good taste for food ;)

    • Andy Deemer says:

      Let me know if you find others worth checking out! And this comic is so sad…. great, but sooo sad.

      • adithya says:

        You MUST try out davanagere benne dose in basvangudi(near netkalappa circle) and slv( banashankri 2nd stage) and adigas!!!

        Davangere benne dose’s open Masala dosa is something to die for!
        Also do try , bisi bele bath! :)

  12. Ishwar V H says:

    Brings tears in your eyes, especially when you are having peanut butter and bread for breakfast! :(

  13. rkan says:

    Try out Brahim’s Coffee Bar for Idli ! Sure you will love it !! Have you not tried filter coffee yet in South India, that’s only missing from the breakfast list :) Best is breakfast list continues all day long be it lunch or dinner :) :)

  14. Those are some breakfast items but you missed a couple.
    1. Avalakki – another staple breakfast food in Bangalore (also called pohe in Mumbai and other Maharshtrian cities)
    2. Shaavige baath – this is one of my favorite breakfast foods – try it in http://bangalore.burrp.com/listing/upahara-darshini_basavanagudi_bangalore_restaurants/143237366

    • Andy Deemer says:

      I haven’t heard of either of these!!! Also missing the crucial Bisi Bele Bath — which I’ve never managed to find!!! Clearly I need some help. Thanks!!!

  15. South Indian? Where is putt, appam, idiyappam? :\

    • Andy Deemer says:

      They’re clearly missing!!! (Although I did have some amazing appam and idiyappam this weekend down in Kerala.) Expect more posts on the topic!!! :)

  16. Ashwini says:

    There are a few more dishes that you might have missed and not heard of. There is this savoury snack called Curd Kodbale. These are fried rings which has yoghurt as one of the ingredients. Another one is the Holige which is sweetened flat rotis, sort of like pancakes. It has either coconut or cane sugar as filling and is served hot with a lot of clarified butter. The same dish has its own names like Puran Poli in Maharashtra, Boli in Tamil Nadu etc. These again you get only at select places. Do try these next time.

  17. Karuna says:

    Oh just wow! all my fav items on one page! yummy! :)

  18. Karthik says:

    Well these are amazing but the title is wrong. These are just from Karnataka. You are missing out a lot from Tamilnadu and Kerala. Especially the varieties in Vada, idiyapam, puttu, adai. You should try those too.

  19. Aravind says:

    This is largely food from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. South India has other states too, y’know! Kerala has some amazing stuff including appam, Idiyappam (String Hoppers), Puttu (which btw was named one of the best brekfast items in the world by NatGeo) – none of which you sampled.

    • Andy Deemer says:

      To everyone upset about their states’ sweets and savories missing — sorry! These are just 21… more are coming!!! :) But do post more recommendations! I love appam and idiyappam and egg hoppers (um, sorry — appam). Haven’t tried putty or holige or adai or the Kerala vadas… but this weekend I’ll be in Kochi! Any breakfast hotspot reccs for there??? Anyone want to show me?!?

  20. sita says:

    sadly, none of the above breakfast dishes can guarantee health. better switch over to nls (natural life style) and have sprouts as break fast that really helps us a lot in maintaining health.

    • Andy Deemer says:

      Whereas I’d argue that a plate of Chow Chow Bath does wonders for one’s emotional health… It’s just the beltline you need to worry about.

  21. prachee says:

    you get chocolate dosa in hyderabad! Aviyal restuarant. Try it if you ever come here!

    • Andy Deemer says:

      I’m supposed to head to Hyderabad soon — the transport museum (with the giant bicycles) sounds absolutely amazing. And I may have to get my chocolate dosa fix sated there! Thanks!!!

  22. Sanjay says:

    Such a lip-smacking post :P Btw, you gotta visit the “Food Street” @ V V Puram in South Bangalore… It’s the mecca of street food in Bangalore…

    It’s got a wide variety of amaaaazing hygienic street food prepared right in front of you as you soak in the sights, flavors and the aromas… Idlis, dosas, paddu, akki rotti, ragi rotti, rumali roti, rice items like chitranna & bisi bele bhath, pav bhaji, chaats, corn, rose/badam milk, rabri, jalebi, masala soda, jaljeera, gulkhand (prepared from sweetened rose petals) fruit salad ice cream et al :O

    Another specialty of this food street is the “Avarekai Mela” (Flat beans food festival) which is held every year in the first half of January, where they serve a number of super yum food items prepared using the seasonal flat beans… Foodie heaven I say!!! :)

    Here’s more info about food street:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gcqED4Zsvk
    http://www.beontheroad.com/2011/07/thindi-beedhi-bangalores-famous-food.html
    http://www.bangaloresrestaurants.com/2013/01/avarekai-mela.html

    Location:
    https://maps.google.co.in/maps?q=food+street&hl=en&sll=12.953997,77.63094&sspn=0.758833,1.352692&hnear=Thindi+Beedi,+VV+Puram,+Bangalore,+Bengaluru+Urban,+Karnataka+560004&t=m&z=16&iwloc=A

    • Andy Deemer says:

      We actually were on Food Street then, without even realizing it was a festival! Had so much fun, and so much great food. (Although we didn’t join the longest queues… I’ve regretted that ever since.)

      My favorite food was something like a paratha filled with kesari… do you have any idea what that would have been? I’ve been thinking about it ever since, and cursing that I didn’t write down the name. (Although I guess all I need to do is head down to Food St this week to make up for it!)

  23. KiloDelta says:

    HOLY SHIT NOW I AM CRAVING FOR ALL 21 OF THESE! I WANT THEM ALL, AND I WANT THEM NOW :(
    Why oh why did you have to do this!

  24. Vidya says:

    Oh Gosh isn’t lunch time yet but this photo-menu list has made my food imagination just that much racier!

  25. Prasad says:

    Hey Andy,
    You may also want to try the idlis at Veena Stores in Malleswaram and the idli/vada combo at the hole-in-the-wall place just outside the Malleswaram Railway Station (not sure of the name, and wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t have one).

    Also, I know they’re not really South Indian, but have you tried the chaats in Bangalore? Gullu’s chaats in Seshadripuram/Kumara Park is one place that comes to mind. I think the ‘masala puri’ is unique to Bangalore.

    Have you tried the potato buns and “toast” in any of the bakeries (the “Hassan Iyengar’s” bakeries)? The “toast” is a slice of bread topped with a spicy topping of onions, tomatoes, carrots etc. Yumm!!

    Prasad

    • Andy Deemer says:

      The only BLR chaat I’ve had was at Angeethi, and I’m not sure how Bangalore that was… certainly no masala puri, which sounds great!

      But something I’ve definitely never had are the potato buns or toast! They sound fantastic. Is there a specific Hassan Iyengar you would recommend? Or are they all about the same?

      THANKS!!!

  26. Jai says:

    Great reviews, Andy..!! Not to mention the amazing pictures. Bangalore is my hometown and I’ve eaten at all these restaurants multiple times. However, I’ve been away from my hometown for close to 2 years now. Sad, ain’t it? But you made my day with this post..!! Thank you.

  27. Siri says:

    You made my day with this post..Staring and drooling :D :D

    BTW if you coming to cochin visit pai dosa on M.G.Road,they offer more than 100 variety of dosa including ‘chocolate dosa’.

    • Andy Deemer says:

      So many people recommended Pai Bros Dosa to me… and sadly, we ended up staying in Fort the entire weekend — we were there for the biennial. :( But I guess that just means I need to go back to Cochin. (And hopefully sometime sooner than my last visit, which was 27 years ago!!!) Thanks!!!

  28. Siri says:

    Also visit ‘Ila’ Restaurent at Menaka for some good Kerala dishes

  29. narendra says:

    Like my friend Mike Clegg used to say,” You are a Bangalorean in a white skin!”.

    You made my day with your superb photos, I am just back from Bangalore where I had all this mouth watering stuff.

    I wish more non-Indians try and taste these delicacies, worth dying for.

  30. Veer says:

    You should try avalakki, thalipattu, benne dose, holige(only on monday noon) & mirchi bajji at “Hotel Nalapaka” in Rajajinagar, Blore – its just :)

  31. Dr harimohan says:

    In cochin the Pai dosa is famous and has more than 30 varieties more of a fast food joint kerala has amazing fluffy appams with spicy crunchy egg curries gossamer thin idiyappams and coconut milk stew puttu with steamed bananas and pappadams all downed wit a glass of red chaya

  32. My3 says:

    What a fabulous post!!!! Thank you for making us salivate and cry.

  33. S.R.Ayyangar says:

    I hope our friends in North read this post who keep making fun of South dishes. Let me know if ANY OTHER BREAK FAST IS THERE APART FROM SAMOSA,ALUBONDA,POHA,PURI & JILEBI?

  34. Sriharshan says:

    A Good list… But you still need to taste Puliyogare and Sweet Pongal. Try them at Kadambam in Basaveshwarnagar or at Puliogare Point in Gandhi Bazaar…… Slurp……

  35. Anup says:

    Awesome post. Making my mouth water and miss proper Masala Dosa.

  36. ruchi says:

    Andy D.,

    about the chocolate dosa, i absolutely see why they gave you the disgusted look [for dosas, i'd do the same].. but i tried a different pair.. nutella slathered on hot cross buns, grilled for abt 3 mins.. maybe you can pack the dosas home and try this?.. [i got the idea after trying the pancake/crepe version of this at curlies, goa :) ]

    • Andy Deemer says:

      Sounds excellent! And I do plan to pocket a bottle of nutella on the next trip to Vidyarthi Bhavan. To misquote Mangaru Male, “Sacrilege is painful, but deliciousness is forever.”

  37. ruchi says:

    also, do try this telugu/hyderabad breakfast.. if u enjoyed the items u had listed, im sure u’d like this one too : “pesarattu”.. try finding out what it is.. i wont waste time describing it :)

  38. i’m jp arumugam from kolkata but was born & grown from Bangalore and now i’m proud to say that im from that place that serves awesome wonderful tasty breakfast from all overthe world that anybody will like it Grt place from india

  39. Arya says:

    Such a wonderful post. I am missing the Bangalore food…Such yummy mouth watering dishes.
    OMG I am craving for all those 21 dishes… I want to eat it now!!!

  40. Cherry says:

    i’m missing my b’lore .. missing my sweet mum … homesick .. homesick .. homesick !!

  41. Indian Assault says:

    Nice article and photos. But these are not Bangalore breakfast items, they are also made in Bangalore. Except for the Idli Vada Sambar, Chow Chow bath and Rice bath, Mangalore Bun, rest of the items are typical Chennai breakfast items .I would suggest you to go to Chennai to taste the tastier versions of these items.

    • Andy Deemer says:

      Haha! Originally this was called “South Indian breakfasts”, but enough people complained that it was only Bangalore foods… so I changed it. ;P (Scroll up for some of those comments.) Now I may have to change it back!

      • Indian Assault says:

        Oh is it? You can go back and safely change it to the “South Indian breakfast” then. :) . Thanks for replying.

    • Foodie says:

      lol that’s wrong on so many levels. First of all, some of them are pan-South Indian breakfast items. Other than Pongal, there’s nothing here that Chennai can lay claim to. In fact, you get the fluffiest idly in Bangalore restaurants. The Masala Dosa you get in Bangalore is called Mysore Masala Dosa elsewhere (Mysore indicating the name of the region prior to 1973, when the state was renamed to Karnataka), which tells you something about where the Masala Dosa comes from. Yes, I agree they’re made in Chennai too. And whether you find it tastier than Bangalore food is entirely subjective (I only said Bangalore idlis are fluffy; maybe there are people out there who don’t like idlis being fluffy). Oh and, Paneer Dosa can’t really be considered a Bangalore thing. It’s probably more like a north Indian version of the Dosa (paneer being a Punjabi thing).

  42. Ranga says:

    Andy.. great collection of what’s quintessential bangalore food..

    That list is incomplete without “Akki Roti” – http://mysoorean.blogspot.com/2009/09/avarekalu-akki-rotti.html. You can find this @ Halli mane in Malleswaram (http://www.hallimane.com/rural-menu.html). There is also the ragi roti – a variation.

    For a rural variation of Idli, try Ragi Mudde..

    For desserts, Chiroti is an experience not to me missed.. more on karnataka cuisine – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuisine_of_Karnataka

  43. I hate you man….. Now I miss home looking at all the delicious food :(

  44. Shantaram K R says:

    Hi.. A great post !! Photographs are very attractive..Makes one yearn for the heavenly things..!!I am a Bengaluruean for the past 62 years… And oh boy,do I love them all..YES YES YES !!! The other places you could try is 1) Janatha Hotel,8th Cross,Malleswaram,Bengaluru..8th Cross by itself is an icon and a legend;and in Janatha Hotel the Masala Dose and Uddina Vade are consumed with total abandon. 2) S L V Hotel,Opp BDA Park,Banashankari gives you amazing Iddly+Vade and good Dosas 3) The newly opened Mysore Mailari Hotel in Basavanagudi offers yummy Sagu Masala Dose… Well,the joints are plenty;Bengaluru is blessed !! Incidentally,your Puri Sagu photograph seems to be missing the Sagu (and,if it is there,it is not distinctly visible)..Well,hats off to you a connoisseur of good Bengaluru food items.Regards

  45. Poornima says:

    If its is deep fried its called ‘Sajappam’ otherwise it is sojji appam, a parat filled with sojji or kesari!

  46. Smita says:

    Noooooooo!!!!! I read this post while having an apple and juice for breakfast. You have no idea how much I envy you right at this moment.But man, that’s an awesome list.

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