Sunday, May 30, 2010

Indian Breakfasts

We stayed at a beautiful hotel called the ITC Maratha in Mumbai, just a few kilometers from the airport.  Breakfast was included every morning and it was quite the amazing spread.  Roaming through the hotel, I heard several languages - Chinese, Korean, Indian, Arabic, Spanish, English - and I'm sure there were many more that I just couldn't identify.  This was a truly international hotel, and the breakfast choices reflected that.  Malaysian, Indian, American, Cantonese, Chinese were all represented.  

I chose to stick with as much Indian as I could.  I did stop by to get a little bit of a Malaysian Penang curry, then was stopped by one of the jovial and well-trained servers I had been chatting with at my table earlier.  "This [curry] does not go with this," pointing at the Indian items I had on my plate, "you cannot mix these foods."  He actually held up his finger and shook it.  Wow.  Serious stuff.  I put down the spoon and backed away.  

In the meantime, the server took it upon himself to order typical Indian dishes for me.  Soon, this Aloo Paratha appeared at my table with its pickled mango and curd (yogurt) relishes.  "This is typically eaten for breakfast?" I asked.  "Oh yes," he answered, "very typical."  Okay, when in India...

Upon first glance, this looked just like a scallion pancake from Taiwan.  If it was just as good, I'd be hooked.  In fact, Aloo Paratha is a stuffed whole wheat flat bread.  This had a thin layer of potatoes and herbs in between the bread and it was just delicious.  I made the mistake of taking a little too much of the pickle relish onto my fork to check it out, and the saltiness kicked me back for a few minutes.  It was all I could taste for a while.  Careful with that thing.

The day after, Mohsin, the server who would take care of me the rest of my time there, ordered a stuffed Dosa for me.  Like a thin and delicate crepe stuffed with a savory potato and vegetable concoction.  But what I loved just as much about this dish were the colorful chutneys of mint, chilis, and coconuts.  Lastly, a lentil sauce/soup accompanies the dish, which you can dunk your dosa into.  As you could probably guess, I'd cut a bite-sized piece of the dosa, throw on some chutney (mint and chili were my personal favorites), then dip it all into the lentil soup.  Spectacular!  

1 comment:

Angela said...

The other ITC Hotel in Mumbai called Grand Central also does fabulous breakfast & lunch buffets! Love their variety & presentation.