Lamb chops in chutney, curried tinned pilchards, leftover chicken curry shredded and served on toast. We look at the South African Indian breakfasts that shaped Ishay Govender’s childhood as she makes a case for curry for breakfast. (@IshayGovender), For Extra Crispy My Recipes, August 2018

As they say, curry is always better the next day.

They say there’s nothing like the smell of bacon frying in the morning. That’s true, in part. After all we were also accustomed to the grand British fry-up thanks to our colonial past. But consider if you will, the pleasure of waking late on a Saturday to the aroma of lamb chops that have been slathered in a salve of hot masala and freshly pounded ginger and garlic, sizzling in a pan. Curry leaves that crackle on contact with the fat, scatter a trail of herbal perfume down the passage and into my bedroom. Once browned and cooked through, the chops scoot over into a saucepan of softened chopped tomatoes that simmer with the tiniest of bubbles – plop-plop – cooked with thinly sliced onions, slit green chilies, slivers of garlic and curry powder until thick and aromatic. The two fuse to become ‘chops chutney’, a beloved breakfast curry dish served on some weekends when we were kids. A thick fringe of cilantro on the stem, wilting over the steam, was mandatory.

Curry for breakfast is not a novel concept. We know that Asians, Africans and Middle Eastern folks are accustomed to savory morning meals that venture beyond the pale of Western bacon-and-eggs, as good as they may be. Think of more mainstream dishes like congee served with amber to licorice-hued pidan (thousand-year-eggs), Turkish-style poached eggs in garlicky yogurt, Southern African phutu(stiff maize meal porridge) and steamed rice-flour idlis to be dipped in spicy sambar. From all corners of the Indian subcontinent and Asia, to immigrant communities dishing up their home foods the world-over, curry or some form of it makes a daily appearance at the kitchen table, work canteen or hotel breakfast buffet.

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