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Karnataka Cuisine

Typical Karnataka cuisine

The three staple food items of Karnataka are rice, raagi, and jower (millet). Traditional Karnataka meal comprises rice that is served along with huli (thick broth cooked with vegetables, lentils and ground paste of coconut, chili, tamarind, and spices), palya (vegetables), tovve ( cooked lentils with minimal seasoning), kootu, kosmabari (lentil and vegetable salad), saaru (clear pepper broth), obattu, payasa, papad, puri (rolled from wheat flour), pickles, and curd. Meals are served on banana leaves or muttuga leaves (these leaves are sewn together). Chitranna or flavored rice is also served with lunch.


Breakfast includes items like uppittu (made from semolina), dosas, thatte idlis (flat idlis), puri playa, kesari bath (sweet dish made from semolina, sugar, ghee and cardamom), Khara bath etc. Set dosa is very famous in Karnataka, a set of four dosas are served on banana leaves. The other popular dosas served for breakfast are masala dosa, and rava dosa. They are served with coconut chutney and sambhar. Karnataka is famous as the ‘coffee bowl of India’ and the people of Karnataka are ardent coffee lovers.


Few typical dishes of the Karnataka cuisine include bisi bele bath, Davanagere benne dosa, uppittu, ragi rotti, akki rotti, saaru, kesari bath, bangi bath, khara bath, and ragi mudde. The famous masala dosa has its origin in Udipi. Plain and rave idli, Mysore masala dosa and maddur vade are popular dishes in South Karnataka. Coorg district in Karnataka is famous for spicy varieties of pork curries and coastal Karnataka is famous for delicious sea food. Mysore Pak, Dharwad pedha, Chiroti are popular sweets in Karnataka cuisine.


Regional cuisines of Karnataka

Regional cuisines of Karnataka vary based on the ingredients that are available in that particular region. The regional cuisines include the simple flavor of northern Karnataka, the traditional flavor of southern Karnataka, the spicy flavor of coastal Karnataka and the unique flavor of the Kodava region. Local people of these regions utilize the available resources to its fullest to prepare delicious food.


Wheat and jowar rottis are the most popular and delicious dishes of North Karnataka. This region also offers various kinds of rottis, rottis like Jolada rotti, khadak rotti, sajja rotti (bajra rotti) and thali peet. These rottis are served with different types of chutneys or spicy curries. Other common items served along with these rottis are kaalu palya, jholka (made out of channa dal flour), yenne badanekayi, soppu palya, and usli (sprouted gram is ground with chilies to prepare this dish).


Boiled red rice and curd are also part of the staple diet of South Karnataka. Any common meal, breakfast, lunch, or dinner has raagi mudde as a part of the meal, hurali saaru made from horse grams along with a variety of other Indian spices, or bas saaru made from lentils and spring beans is a must in any meal. Coconut is used to a very great extent in these dishes, fresh coconut and chilies are important ingredients used in this cuisine.

Mangalorean cuisine is usually spicy and rice is the main part of the meal. Coconut oil is the cooking medium in the coastal areas of Karnataka.


Rice is consumed in a variety of forms like the sannas (idli fluffed with toddy or yeast), red grain rice, neer dosa, kori rotti (dry and crispy, it is as thin as a wafer, chicken curry is served along with this rotti), and rice rottis. The most popular Mangalorean dish is the spicy kane fry (ladyfish). One more popular dish of Mangalore is patrode - steamed and stuffed colocasia leaves, and it is a Mangalorean specialty and tastes great.


Udupi cuisine derives its name from the town on west coast of Karnataka. Udupi cuisine originated from the Ashta Mathas of Udupi founded by Shri Madhvacharya. The cuisine has a numerous of innovative dishes that are made from the local vegetables and fruits. The most famous dish of Karnataka, the masala dosa has its origin from Udupi. Many more south Indian dishes are named after this town. Udupi cuisine is strictly vegetarian; it has no onions and garlic too. Sambar, rasam, adyes (dumplings), ajadinas (dry curries), and chutneys are popular in the Udupi cuisine. Few of the chief ingredients used for these cuisines are gourds, jackfruit, colocasia leaves, mango pickle, coconut, raw green bananas and red chilies.


The Kodagu cuisine is somewhat different when compared to the other cuisines of Karnataka. The popular dishes include spicy meat (Pork, pandi curry, chicken, and mutton), Kadumbuttu (round balls made from rice), paputtu (steamed rice cake) and thaliyaputt. The spicy meat curries get a pungent taste from the local vinegar called kachampuli. Kodagu's staple food is rice and their traditional dishes include pandi curry (pork curry) and kadumbuttu (rice dumplings). Other than these dishes, the koli curry (chicken curry), nool puttu (rice noodles), votti (rice rotti), and bembla curry (bamboo shoot curry) are yummy and are worth a try.


Like any other Indian cuisine, Karnataka cuisine has an extensive variety of desserts. Few popular sweet dishes of Karnataka are Mysore pak, chiroti (a light flaky pastry that is sprinkled with granulated sugar and is later soaked in almond milk), obbattu or holige (a flat, thin chapatti/crepe filled with a mixture of jaggery, coconut or copra and sugar and toasted gently on a skillet), gokak, Dharwad peda, kardantu, sakkare acchuhaala-puri, ladoo and shavige payasa (made from milk, vermicelli, sugar and cardamom).


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Karnataka Cuisine