Before the oats, cereals, muffins, pastries and sandwiches made their appearances at our breakfast table, Parathas, Puri, and rice ruled the kitchens. Early mornings, tea or coffee was paired with home cooked meals.
There was a great variety of paratha made with most inovative fillings, sometimes stuffed with potatoes, sometimes with radish, then, there were cauliflower, cottage cheese, peas and sometimes even fenugreek. There were great varieties of puris too. From plain salt and pepper to more elaborate puris that were stuffed with colorful lentils. Curds, pickle and papads were included with puris and parathas.
But I enjoyed Parathas the most, especially those of potatoes mixed with coriander leaves, green chilies and cumin seeds.
Parathas are basically unleavened dough stuffed with spiced mixture of mashed potatoes/vegetables, which is rolled out and cooked on hot plate with butter. Paired with pickle or curd and a hot cup of tea, it made a perfect Sunday morning.
Puri on the other hand is the unleavened dough usually prepared with wheat flour (atta) or refined wheat flour (maida) or coarse wheat flour (sooji), deep-fried in hot oil till they bloat like a balloon. They can be paired with lentils, or potatoes or pickle and sometimes even with sweets like halwa or jalebi.
In my house, Loli was regularly made. This was made with wheat flour where little ghee/or butter was added before kneading, plain loli had only salt and pepper, while masala loli had finely chopped onions, coriander leaves, pomegranate seeds and chilies. This too tasted great with pickles, papads or curds, but I would enjoy it best with fried eggs, (sunny side up) or sometimes with mutton cooked in spinach and tomatoes.
Pakwan was another great delight where the dough was rolled paper-thin and deep-fried. This was relished with lentils and fried papads.
Nowadays we are too health conscious and will avoid fried stuff out right. Now I see youngsters skipping breakfast or relishing baked crisps of rolled oats stuffed with nuts, honey, raisins, flaxseeds, etc. I too prefer a glass of fresh juice in the mornings.
Cooked meal early morning is never preferred by today’s youth. Wonder if they know the taste of leftover food that was revamped into different dish the next morning.
Leftover Chappatis were cooked in green masala of coriander leaves, garlic and tomatoes to make a dish called 'Mani seyal'.
Rice was fried into yellow rice by adding garlic, mustard seeds, tomatoes, onions, coriander leaves, green chilies and turmeric powder.
While German households had salami, bacon, ham, eggs and varieties of cheese, French German rolls paired with jam, marmalade, honey. In my house, on the other hand, it was simple dried leftover bread cooked with onion, tomatoes, green chilies and coriander leaves called 'Daboroti seyal'. It tasted heavenly with a hot cup of filter coffee.
In Spain, no matter where I went, at every breakfast restaurant was tortilla Esponola. But in my house, we had delicious omelets of onions, coriander leaves and tomatoes, even a simple omelet with just salt and pepper tasted great. Sometimes we had leftover rotis dipped in egg and fried on skillet.
A typical Italian breakfast is made of hot beverages and something sweet to eat like croissant, pastries, cookies and maybe some fresh juice too, but in my house there was thin sweet vermicelli called ‘Sayoon’ cooked with sugar and cardamom.
Every country that I travelled, I saw people relishing different breakfast but there was always similarity between their food and ours to some extend, especially if they were cooked or fried.
Some years ago, One early morning, in Hongkong, it was 5am and I couldn’t go back to sleep. I decided to take a bus to far off busstop and enjoy the breakfast. I still remember the beautiful taste of Congee I had on the street. The congee is a simple rice broth that contained pieces of chicken and some deep fried shrimps. I had seasoned it with vinegars in chilies and some soy sauce. In my house congee is also made but we just add crackled mustard seeds and we called it ‘Kweerni Khichdi’ I love this with sour curd and deep fried papad.
Breakfast is the important meal of the day, but now I shudder to eat fried food, bread and potatoes is too much carb, chappatis and puris are too heavy, so I have reduced my diet to just one glass of fresh vegetable juice with a simple toast or cookie. Lunch is when I will eat heavy food and dinner is just soup and fruits and sometimes if the mood is right, will eat the breakfast selection of parathas, puri or rice..during dinner time….
Our elders would eat four heavy meals to survive, and they had no diet issues, I just cannot eat so much, but then, I don’t work physically that hard like my granny or other women in my family used to do…
Here is sharing a leaflet from my book on #SindhiCuisine…..
Patatey ji manni
2 potatoes, boiled
3 cups wheat flour
2 tablespoon oil
Salt to taste
½ teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon red chilly powder
1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped
2 green chillies, finely chopped
1 tablespoon coriander leaves, chopped
- Mash the boiled potato and add salt, cumin powder, red chilly powder, onions, green chillies and coriander leaves. Keep aside.
- Knead the dough for paratha adding salt and 1 tablespoons of oil to the wheat flour.
- Roll it on a floured board to about 2 inch circle. Put 2 tablespoon of potato filling in the center and gently pick up the sides, press together to form a ball, covering the filling completely.
- Roll out carefully into round paratha, cook on tava on a medium flame till light brown, using small quantities of oil.
- Serve with curd and papad.