is blessed with a rich culinary heritage. Regional food habits differ vastly
depending on locally available ingredients; the result is a richly varied spread.
Karnatakas cuisine is characterised by distinct textures, flavours and
tastes. The states vast culinary repertoire encompasses the earthy flavours
of North Karnataka, the traditional fare of South Karnataka, the spicy dishes
of the coastal region and the distinctive Kodava cuisine.
Spicy fish delicacies like kane fry (ladyfish), rice-based
preparations and a wide variety of fruits are perennial favourites on the Mangalorean
menu. Epicures believe that fresh coconut, chillies and the Mangalorean mind
together create culinary magic. Mangaloreans love rice in all forms - red grain
rice, sannas (idli fluffed with toddy or yeast), pancakes, rice rottis, kori
rotti (a dry, crisp, almost wafer-thin rice rotti which is served with chicken
curry as a delicacy), and neer dosa. Patrode, a special dish prepared by steaming
stuffed colocasia leaves, is a delicacy not to be missed. Akki rotti, or rice
rotti, is a favourite not only in Mangalore but also in Malnad and Kodagu.
Malnad cuisine is fusion of Coorgi and Mangalorean fare. Key
preparations include the midigayi pickle (small raw mango), sandige, avalakki
(beaten rice), and talipittu (akki rotti made of rice flour).
The ubiquitous masala dosa has its origins in Udupi and a whole
school of South Indian vegetarian cuisine takes its name from this town.
is pure vegetarian food, sans onions or garlic. Pumpkins and gourds
are the main ingredients, while sambar is prepared with ground coconut and coconut
oil as its base. Rasam, a spicy pepper water, is an essential part of the menu
and so are jackfruit, colocasia leaves, raw green bananas, mango pickle, red
chillies and salt. Adyes (dumplings), ajadinas (dry curries), and chutneys,
including one made of the skin of the ridge gourd, are specialities.
Kodava cuisine is very distinctive, as are the costumes, customs
and festivals of the Kodavas. Pandi curry (pork curry) and kadumbuttu (rice
dumplings) are arguably the most delectable dishes in the Kodava repertoire.
The succulent koli curry (chicken curry), nool puttu (rice noodles), votti (rice
rotti), and bembla curry (bamboo shoot curry) are also worth trying.
The people of North Karnataka have a taste for wheat
and jowar rottis (unleavened bread made of millet), a delicacy best savoured
with a variety of chutnies or spicy curries. Apart from the jowar rottis and
the trademark yenne badanekayi (brinjal curry), North Karnataka fare boasts
a wide range of rottis to choose from: Jolada rotti, thali peet, khadak rotti
and sajja rotti (bajra rotti). These rottis are accompanied by side dishes like
yenne badanekayi, kaalu palya, soppu palya, usli (made from spicy sprouted gram)
and jholka (made from channa dal flour). The best North Karnataka sweets are
Dharwad peda, Gokak khardantu, Belgaum khunda, shenga holige and yellu holige,
besides the local hoornada holige.
As far as standard breakfast eats are concerned, you can choose
from the popular uppittu (roasted semolina laced with chillies, coriander leaves,
mustard and cumin seed), idli-sambar (steamed rice cakes and curry), thatte
idlis (flat idlis), masala dosa (pancake with curried potato filling), set dosa,
rava dosa, puri palya, uthapam, vada sambar or kesari bhath (a sweet made of
semolina and sugar laced with saffron) and lots more.
The traditional culinary fare of Karnataka is a sumptuous
spread that includes several essential menu items. These include protein-rich
cereal salads like kosambri, palyas (warm vegetable salads made out of parboiled
vegetables chopped fine and tossed with desiccated coconut, green chillies,
curry leaves and mustard seasoning), gojju (a vegetable cooked in tamarind juice
with chilli powder in it), tovve (cooked dal without too much seasoning), huli
(a thick broth of lentils and vegetables cooked together with ground coconut,
spices, tamarind and chilli powder) and pappad. A complete range of rice-based
dishes, including chitranna (rice with lime juice, green chilli, turmeric powder
sprinkled with fried groundnuts and coriander leaves), vangibhath (spiced rice
with eggplant), and pulliyogare (rice flavoured with tamarind juice and spiced
with groundnuts) form an integral part of the traditional repertoire. The most
distinctive Karnataka dish, however, is the celebrated bisibelebhath, a unique
combination of rice, dal, tamarind, chilli powder and a dash of cinnamon.
in rural areas, ragi (steam-cooked finger millet rolled into large balls) served
either with mutton curry or soppina saaru forms the staple diet.
To end your meal, you may wish to indulge in sweets like chiroti
(a light flaky pastry sprinkled with granulated sugar and soaked in almond milk),
Mysore pak, obbattu or holige (a flat, thin, wafer-like chappati filled with
a mixture of jaggery, coconut or copra and sugar and fried gently on a skillet)
and shavige payasa (made of milk, vermicelli, sugar and cardamom pods).
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