What is the Soul of India? Without a second thought, it is food. Probably, India is the only country to have such a diverse variety of food with a right mix of everything in it. In this culture, food is worshipped as God for a reason that the very human body is the result of a heap of food consumed. This also has a reference to worshipping our land as the Mother Earth. This is the reason, we have practices of praying before food. And till today, there are rituals like Bhoomi Pooja, and others followed in this culture.
Well, if this is the cultural significance then as a ‘Rasayana Shastra’, cooking is considered here as a discipline and an art. India being a land of diversity, each state here has their own culinary and taste. In this context, Karnataka is fairly blessed with an amazing variety of food whose history dates back to ancient years. Come, let’s know more about Karnataka food and its diversity on today’s read.
Varieties of Karnataka Food
The Typical North Karnataka Cuisine
When we say North Karnataka food, the first thing that comes to our mind is the delicious Rotti (Bhakri), Ennegaayi, Pudi’s and Chutneys. So, in a typical North-Karnataka menu, we have Khadak Rotti, Ennegayi or Tumbgayi (mostly of Brinjal), Peanut chutney, Ranjaka (Kempu Chutney), Jhunka, Saaru, and Buttermilk.
In sweets, there is Shenga Undi, Godi Hugg, Atthrassu, Appi Paaysa, Puren Holige, Antin Undi, Sheegi Undi, and more. Also, not to forget the typical North Karnataka special Mandakki Mirchi. These cuisines are largely prepared in Dharwad, Bijapur, Gulbarga, Belgaum, Bidar, Yadgir, Bagalkot, Raichur, Davanagere, Gadag, Haveri, Koppal, and Bellary.
The Taste of Old Mysuru Region
The south Karnataka or old mysuru region has its own taste and it largely includes Kolara, Bengaluru, Mysuru, Tumakuru, Mandya, Hassan, and Chamrajanagara. The primary staples used here are Ragi and Rice followed by Jowar and Bajra. So, Ragi mudde becomes an important dish in South Karnataka’s menu. They also have Kosambari, Huli (Sambar), Rasam, Chutney as regulars.
The specialty of Dakshina Kannada
When it comes to Dakshina Kannada there are malnad and coastal regions. The food culture followed in Malnad has a contrast to the taste of Coastal Karnataka.
1. Kaalu Kadabu
3. Kotte Kadubu
4. Chicken Saaru
5. Votthu Shavige with Chicken Curry
6. Halasina Kadabu
7. Haalu Paayasa
8. Kesuvina Gantu
9. Halasina Hannina Dose
10. Maaldi and Aralu Pudi
1. Kane Fry
2. Bundas Sukka
3. Kori Pundi
4. Kori Rotti
5. Maavina Saaru
6. Odu Dose
7. Buns / Goli Baje
8. Neer Dose
9. Sihi Sambar
Bang Of Uttara Kannada (North Canara – Coastal / Malenadu Karnataka)
A typical North Canara food includes rice, vegetable, and Sea food. Largely, it is sea food owing to its availability. Below are the noted dishes of Uttara Kannada.
1. Todadevu (Jaggery Dish)
2. Karakali (A type of Chutney)
3. Patrode (Dish prepared using colocasia leaves)
4. Koli Kajjaya
5. Ankola Koli Saaru
6. Kalai Masala
8. Rave Rotti
9. Appe Huli
10. Kalga Sukkha
This was about Karnataka food in different varieties as per the culture and land. Now, let’s see a few noted Karnataka cuisines under the following categories.
Among the dishes prepared using rice, we have Bisibele Bath, Vaangi Baath, Chitranna, Puliyogre, and Maavinkaayi Chitranna. Also, in the Northern Parts of Karnataka, Avalakki and Mandakki served with Bonda-Mirchi are largely famous.
There’s no end to the varieties of Dose which gets prepared here. However, Davanagere Benne Dose and Mysuru Masala Dose are popular picks followed by the regular Set Dose, Rava Dose, and other varieties.
Rotti (Flour Dish)
When we say Rotti, it is not the one which gets prepared in the North-Indian style. In Karnataka, Rotis are prepared in a different way. The varieties are Ragi Rotti, Akki Rotti, Jolada Rotti, and Bhakri. Also, we have typical Paddus or Gunpangla and Ragi Mudde.
Today, we have mastered the art of preparing chutney with anything and everything. However, in those days, chutneys were prepared only in a selected combination of vegetables and grains. A few noted varieties are Kadlekai chutney, Hurali chutney, Kaayi chutney, Maavinkai Chutney, Brinjal Chutney, Pudina Chutney, and etc.
Karnataka is largely known for its sweets and practically there’s no end to the list of sweets prepared here. The popular sweet dishes of Karnataka are Mysuru Pak, Dharwad Pedha, Belgaum Kunda, Holige, Huggi, Ginnu, Besan Unde, Sheekarni, Shaavige, Kesaribath, Gokak Kardantu, Tambittu, and more.
No Karnataka or say South Indian food is complete without having Saaru. So, there are varieties and it goes with tradition and culture. A few of the usual names are Bele Saaru, Kaalina Saaru, Mosoppinna, Bas Saaru, Tovve, Majjige Huli or the lip-smacking Fish/Mutton/Chicken Saaru.
Pickle is like a must-have item in a South-Indian meal and especially in Karnataka, it is highly preferred. When we say pickle, there are seasoned pickles and Bisi Uppinkayi (hot pickle). The way pickles are prepared in North Karnataka tastes completely different as compared to Pickles of Malnad and Uttara Kannada region. A few noted varieties are Maavinkai Pickle, Amtekai, Nellikayi, Tomato, Nimbekai, and Hagalakai Pickle.
Gojju (Sweet & Spicy)
Gojju is a dish which tastes sweet & spicy consumed with hot rice or with Chapathi or Roti. Some of the typical Karnataka style Gojju’s are Hunuse Gojju, Bendekai Gojju, Badnekai Yennegai Gojju, Thondekai Gojju, Tomato, and Onion Gojju.
So, this was about Karnataka Food in brief. If you explore to its roots then you absolutely find no end to it. However, we recommend you to try the noted ones.
Celebrating the glory of Karnataka food, we remember these lines penned by Jayanth Kaikini for the movie Oggarane – “Ee Janumave Aha Dorakide Ruchi Saviyalu, Ee Jagavide Navarasagala Unabadisalu.”
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