A summary of food choices and delights in India - I'm basing this in Mysore/Karnataka as Goa has world cuisine and an abundance of seafood on offer.
Masala Dosa the breakfast of India, a light pancake made from rice and lentil flour, filled with a potato and onion mix and served with a coconut and sometimes-spicy red salsa.
Much talk of the ‘best’ and ‘secret’ dosas can be had amongst the Ashtangi’s in Mysore, and many favour the ones from Mylari, I however and not a big fan of pancakes, especially thick ‘American’ style ones so this was not my favourite venue, my favourite was the ‘secret’ breakfast spot in Laksmipurum (so secret I cannot even tell you the name or location) and the ones served in either Shri Durga places.
Small flat mounds of black lentils and rice, tasteless apart from the sambars they are served with, are low in calories and plain enough for even the most sensitive of stomachs. In fact these are recommended to eat if you do suffer from the inevitable tender tummy in India
Thali is the name for a small selection of dishes served with rice, breads, chutney’s and even a sweet. They are the best value for money nutritious dish you can get and most places will keep replacing the rice and side dishes until you can no longer eat! Obviously we are practicing self-restraint so sometimes even one is too much. The side dishes usually include a vegetable palva, a dhal, curd, a sambar and a vegetable ‘curry’. South Indian ones with have quite liquidy dishes and North Indian tends to be richer and creamier. You have lots of rice and normally a roti, chapatti and poppadum to scoop the liquids on or in to. Most notable of the Thali’s I had was the North Indian Thali in Sixth Main and the Organic Thali in Dhatu’s but I honestly never had a bad one.
Home cooked Thali
(See cookery class post)
The best food I had in India was definitely from one of the houses that open their doors to us westerners to sample the home cooked Thali. Normally including the same kind of dishes and sides as the restaurant ones but much fresher and tastier and with salads of beetroot, cabbage and carrots making it an even healthier option.
To choose one over the other would be unfair, as they all offer stunning food and welcoming, sociable atmosphere’s to eat them in. Anu’s, Manjula’s, Sanjit’s you can find them all over Gokulum and Laksmipurum so it’s up to you to go hunt them down and enjoy!
Dhal after Dhal after Dhal
If I had to choose one dish to eat for the rest of my life I think Dhal would be in the top 3! I just love the creamy goodness of lentils and spices marinated together, and with the added bonus of being low calorie, its just sublime.
Dhal Fry, Chana Dhal, Dhal Makhani, just keep ‘em coming. With rice or roti, or chapatti, or all three or alone I don’t mind. I just LOVE dhal.
Western ‘Yogi’ Food
There are plenty of cafes frequented by the Yogi’s of Mysore for healthy yogi friendly breakfasts and brunches. Especially popular after conference they serve scrumptious smoothies for your post practice protein hit, omelette’s for another protein hit loved by the non vegans, pretty fruit salads, and if you have a sweet tooth plenty of crepes too!
My favourite place for this was Anokhi Garden, owned by the gorgeous Marie Lovato, and staffed by the happy crew of yogis and locals in the kitchen.
There is nothing on this menu I don’t like, but highlights have to be Flora’s fruit salad and the fancy porridge.
Not really a food, but has to have a mention, the coconut guys stand outside the shala’s expertly cutting the tops off the fresh coconut so that you can rehydrate after class, or at any time of the day.
You can ask for them to be opened so that you can also eat the silky flesh inside for even more nutrition.
At 20p a pop it’s the cheapest way to stay hydrated in this stifling heat.
Whether masala or plain, the milky tea that is India’s number 1 drink is my new addiction (well I did give up alcohol and coffee!)
A small ‘shot’ glass will cost you around 10 rps
Not to be confused with the never to be drunk again Chai Lattes we have in the UK.
Best ones for Masala made by the wonderful Shanta at the KinoTim house.
Best plain from Amruth.
I would say after yoga, food is the next best bit about Mysore – and India and as those of you who know me, and my Instagram account, one of my most favourite subjects!