[Kochi, India] Idlis and other South Asian breakfast staples, Dutch Bungalow

Iโ€™ve always loved ๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ญ๐˜ช, steamed South Indian rice cakes, for as long as I can remember. In Singapore, my go-to places for ๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ญ๐˜ช are ๐— ๐—ฎ๐—ฑ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐˜€ ๐—ก๐—ฒ๐˜„ ๐—ช๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ฑ๐—น๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ๐˜€ on Upper Dickson Road, and ๐—ž๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ฎ๐—น๐—ฎ ๐—ฉ๐—ถ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜€ on Serangoon Road.

The best ๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ญ๐˜ช I remembered ever tasting was from ๐— ๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐˜‚๐—ด๐—ฎ๐—ป ๐—œ๐—ฑ๐—น๐—ถ ๐—ž๐—ฎ๐—ฑ๐—ฎ๐—ถ in Chennai. That was back in 2005.

Itโ€™s a South Indian specialty, so those I had in Mumbai last week were poor imitations, really.

But here in Kerala, Iโ€™d finally got to have some of the best ๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ด ever, such as these ones from the ๐——๐˜‚๐˜๐—ฐ๐—ต ๐—•๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ด๐—ฎ๐—น๐—ผ๐˜„ ๐—›๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ด๐—ฒ ๐—›๐—ผ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—น in Kochi, where we stayed the past 3 nights.

Here, the pillowy-soft, perfectly moist and spongy discs were served alongside a full-flavoured sambhar, replete with lentils, moringa sticks, carrot, pumpkin & aubergine, and a creamy, well-spiced coconut chutney. It was the breakfast of champions!

Some other breakfast options we tried included:
Rava uppma (spiced semolina - one of my fave brekkie items ever), ethakka appam (Keralan banana fritters) and, wait for this: a hash brown!

I actually asked our waiter if what looked, and tasted like a hash brown, was actually an obscure Keralan food item. He gave me a South Indian head waggle and said, โ€œNo, sir, Americanโ€. :joy:

Uttapam - these tasty South Indian muffin is made of a batter with 1:3 ratio of urad dal (black lentils) and rice. The lentils and rice are soaked overnight, then ground and allowed to ferment until it rises. Griddle-cooked, and topped with onions, shallots, green chilis and curry leaves, uttapams look deceptively light, but can be quite filling. Served with coconut chutney and sambhar.

Dosa - these crisp, golden crepes were the piece de resistance of any South Indian breakfast table. The ones here were wonderfully light and shattered at the merest touch.

If one chooses oneโ€™s hotel on the basis of that hotelโ€™s breakfast offerings, I think Dutch Bungalow has got it all covered.

The Food Mill at the Dutch Bungalow
Intersection of Elphinstone Street and Napier Street, Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala 682001, India
Tel: +91 0484 221 5333
Opening hours: 7.30am to 10.30pm daily


Really fascinating stuff! Are the idli flavored with anything, or are they meant to be enjoyed with condiments?

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The Standard Idli is a very plain fermented Rice and Urid Dal Batter, meant to be eaten with Chutneys and Sahmbar.
There are Varieties that are not as plain, Kanchipuram Idli comes to mind. They are also made with Rava (semolina) and these are usually flavored as well, but the Batter is not fermented. They are still eaten with Chutneys and Sahmbar.
Leftover Plain Idli are also stir-fried with Mustard Seed, Chilis and Podi called Masala Idli.
Also served with Chutneys :smile:


Hey, a good chutney makes everything better :wink:

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Definitely the the Mantra at Breakfast in South India.


My nephews on a recent visit to one of our standby South Indian spots discovered that they are also now cut into fingers, deep fried, and served as Idli Fries โ€” I was appalled, but we all tried a bite, and there was a second order :roll_eyes:

(Gujarati dhoklas are also tempered the same way when theyโ€™re a day or two old.)

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Ohhhhh @klyeoh nooooo! We have fabulous idlis in Bbay (and in nyc and in CA too). There are a few concentrations of South Indian fare, and while those are definitely fabulous, the proliferation of Udupi restaurants means there are good idlis to be had pretty much anywhere in town.

There are, however, plenty of bad idlis to be had too, just like crappy bagels in New York.

Our favorite (proximal) idlis in Bombay are only served with chutney, but as much of it as you want (which is an anomaly, and a great feature for the 2 people in my family who eat chutney as the meal with idli as the condiment :rofl:). But they are idli specialists only, which means you canโ€™t get a dosa there. For that you have to go next door to their restaurant (the idli place is a cafe/shack), but then the idlis are different :woman_facepalming:t2:

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I fix and eat uttapam every day for breakfast and have for years. Red onion, hing and Hatch green chile ('m in Texas) with sauteed curry leaves . Your pictures there look excellent. I love all that stuff and can never get enough.


Dhoklas. OMG. The best foodstuff on earth.

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I have done the same with Kothimbir Vadi instead of frying them (not that they arenโ€™t great fried).