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What are we eating?

I don't know your relationship with Indian food, but I LOOOO-VE it! You can imagine my happiness at this moment. For this article, I will tell you a little about what we eat here in India.

In a mini-restaurant in Udupi, iddlis, buns (medu vada), sambar and chutney for lunch.

What we notice quite quickly is the presence of vegetarianism in India. When looking for a restaurant, for example, it is very often indicated Veg or Non-veg. And just that... Non-veg... It's not the same approach as here! As a vegetarian, you could say it's heaven...

Great restaurant in Udupi.

Hindus are vegetarians, Muslims don't eat pork, and Jains and Brahmins (Indian priestly caste) follow a strict vegetarian diet (no eggs, onions, garlic, etc.). Of course, cows are not eaten here (regardless of religion), as this beautiful animal is considered sacred.

We make friends everywhere.

Nandi, Shiva's companion bull. He is always seen facing Shiva in the temple.

We had the opportunity to eat in a Brahmin restaurant. A unique experience! Everyone ate practically in silence. We sit 2 per table then we are given a banana leaf. We wash it with a little water, then different employees go around the tables to serve the menu of the day.

Let's go to the heart of the matter! For breakfast, what do we eat in South India? There are 2 dishes mainly on the menu. Either the iddlis and buns (medu vada), served with sambar and chutney. Iddlis are kind of rice flour pancakes and steamed fermented lentils. A healthy and protein option. Buns (medu vada) are fried lentil flour fritters. Sambar is a stew of lentils, various vegetables, tamarind, spices and herbs. Coconut chutney comes in many varieties, flavors, spice levels, etc. There is of course fresh coconut, but also chilli, ginger, cumin and salt.

The other must-have for breakfast is the masala dosa. It is a pancake made with a fermented rice and lentil batter. The crepe is crispy and inside we put a mixture of potatoes and spices.

There are also neer dosas, pancakes made with rice flour.

They also serve uppma, a savory dish made from semolina (or other), spices and some vegetables. I like. And there was also a dessert, kesari bath. It is a hot dessert made with semolina, ghee, cashews, cardamom etc. It's excellent!

Iddlis, buns (medu vada), coconut chutney, sambar. We also add uppma and kesari bath.

Masala dosa, coconut chutney, sambar and uppma.

Neer dosa and coconut chutney.

Another choice available, which is more typical of the North, is aloo paratha with curd (yogurt). It is served with a little chutney (spicy sauce). A paratha is a pancake made with wheat flour. It can be found made with corn flour also in some northern regions. Aloo means potato, so it is possible to have a paratha stuffed with potatoes and spices. We then dip the pancake in yogurt and we can add a little chutney. That too is delicious. It's a very hearty breakfast...

Breakfast of parathas during our excursion to Gokarna.

And of course... there is the famous masala chai!!! Mmmm... often on the other hand in the area where we were, it was not easy to have a real masala chaï. It was rather chai, or tea and milk, but without the spices.


After the retreat, we headed to Pondicherry, in Tamil Nadu. As it is a former French colony, there are quite a few traces of France. Including French, which you can read more than you hear, but also bakeries and cafes!

Cappuccino at the Auroville Bakery, a little boost to work.

Although there are beautiful fruits in the markets, they don't seem to really eat it at breakfast. Fresh fruit juices, on the other hand, are very popular in restaurants and other kiosks.

The vendor at Kundapura market showing me my dragon fruit.

Southern cuisine vs Northern cuisine is different. Although you can find the 2 mostly everywhere in India.

There are so many dishes with completely different tastes, some sweeter, some saltier. But one thing is certain, there is an explosion of flavors every time.

Spice Merchant in Sringeri.

Onion utappam.

Lemon rice, chapatis, pakoras, palak paneer and milk semolina.

It's not that easy to cook Indian food. First you need the right ingredients, and then there are some little tricks. So we decided to take an Indian cooking class during our stay in Pondicherry. It was an awesome experience. The course was held at the Sita Cultural Center with Manisha. She spoke French and English.

Punducherry market

On the menu, we learned to cook palak paneer, a northern dish with paneer (Indian cheese) and spinach. Dahl fry, a dish with lentils. Chapatis, simple pancakes made with wholemeal flour. Aloo parathas are chapatis stuffed with a mixture of mashed potatoes and spices. Carot halwa, dessert made with grated carrots, milk, cashew nuts, raisins and cardamom.

Once everything was cooked, it was time to eat! Mmmm, and it was delicious! We put on banana leaves, a traditional way of eating.

Meal cooked during our cooking class.

Chutney is often given with the dishes. This serves to enhance if ever you need. It gives a little extra kick!

I love to have a raita to accompany the dish, it helps to soften when it's too spicy. The fresh taste of yogurt with the spices, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions complements it well.

My favorite dishes? Malai kofta, a great comfort food! These are dumplings made with paneer in a creamy sauce made with cashews.

There is also biryani rice, made with basmati rice, vegetables and biryani spices.

Biryani rice with dahl and raita. Accompanied by a lime soda water.

There is also the paneer butter masala, another creamy dish with panner. The kadai veg, you guessed it, a creamy, flavorful dish with kadai spices. Baingan bharta, a dish with eggplant.

Paneer butter masala and kadai veg.

And when you don't know what to choose, don't panic! Go with a thali. An assortment of different dishes, complete and at a good price. They often offer the choice of South Indian or North Indian thali.

What could be better than a good naan to accompany all this... This soft bread baked in the tandoori oven. The one below is nicely brushed with ghee (clarified butter) and garlic.

It also has a lot of street food. Although it all looks delicious, I didn't dare eat it in order to spare my westerner's digestive system.

Puri kiosk near the temple during Maha Shivaratri.

And what are we drinking? There is the sugar cane juice which is really delicious. We go to the same small kiosk on the Main road in Kundapura.


One of my favourites, after the masala chaï, is the lemon-ginger that Ashok prepares for us (or another of the cooks at the resort). In India, there is a lot of sugar. So it's best to mention "little sugar" when ordering something. At the resort, we even asked with jaggery, sugar made from sugar cane. A little twist this year too, we added soda water. Nothing better to reinvigorate in the middle of the afternoon, with a cold drink. And in the evening after the meal, we had a drink, but this time hot and without soda water.

Ashok's excellent ginger-lemon.

As the temperature is extremely hot, coconuts are very popular.

Fruit and vegetable vendor in Kundapura.

Coconut before our exploration of the streets of Pondicherry.

I told you above that they love sweets in India. So of course, the dessert is present... You can find there the sweets, they are very varied little desserts that are used for example as prasad (offering) during pujas or that people offer as gifts.

Sweets counter at Parijata in Kundapura.

They also have some ice cream. A specialty of the region where we were, is the gadbad. A kind of sundae with vanilla, strawberry and chocolate ice cream, nuts, candied fruits and apple pieces. This one is an excellent format, because it's quite sweet! haha

Gadbad at Parijata in Kundapura.

There is also a wide variety of desserts. But honestly, we eat so well, and it's so good, that I'm rarely hungry for dessert!

Jaleebi in a kiosk near the temple during Maha Sivaratri.

With that... I'm hungry! Ahahaha I'm going to eat another delicious dish.

If you want, I would like you to share your favorite dish or your favorite restaurant near you.

Enjoy your food!


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