Poha – Indian Breakfast

Poha - Indian Breakfast - The Lotus and the Artichoke - Vegan Recipes from World Travel Adventures

On my first two visits to India in the early to mid-2000s, I had idly or dosa for breakfast almost whenever possible. I’m a huge fan of South Indian breakfasts. Unlike most North American and European breakfasts, which tend to be on the sweeter side (think: cereal, toast with jam or even chocolate spread, pastries, muffins, pancakes), Indian breakfasts are typically spicy and savory… and did I mention: delicious?

Amazingly, it wasn’t until my third and fourth trip to India that I got to know the Indian breakfast hit, poha. These kinds of things happen if you’re too focused on your favorite dishes and foods! That’s why it’s so important to try new things. Be open to suggestions, take chances, and enjoy invitations to home cooked meals! I encountered poha so late in the game probably because it’s much more of a family dish – prepared at home kitchens across India. It’s less likely found on restaurant menus. That said, some hotels (code word for restaurant on the sub-continent) and breakfast spots do offer poha.

The best poha I ever had, as with many Indian dishes, was not at a restaurant, but at a home. A very special home in fact, where I was welcomed and treated like family. If you’ve been following my stories on this blog, you know I lived for a year in Amravati, India – deep in the state of Maharashtra. I had amazingly generous and attentive neighbors, and my host family was particularly endearing and kind.

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Vegan Raita – Masala Potato Cucumber

North Indian : Vegan Raita - Masala Potato Cucumber - The Lotus and the Artichok

Every proper Indian meal includes a nice, cooling raita. Authentic Indian food is spicy and those who know have a yogurt-based raita on the side to cool things down if the fire alarm starts ringing.

A delicious side dish and appetizer, many a raita is just raw cucumber, tomato, onion, carrot, and/or bell peppers. I like this hybrid with cooked potatoes and cool cucumbers. It’s sort of cross between a classic vedic yogurt potato dish (which I learned from the Hare Krishnas in the 90s), more traditional Indian raita (which I learned in countless variations in India, particularly living in Amravati) and what most of the world knows as potato salad. But with creamy soy yogurt instead of regular yogurt or mayo!

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