27 Must Try Dishes from Karnataka Traditional Food for Your Taste Buds


Image – Harsha K R/Flickr

If there is anything that two completely diametrically opposite people can bond over, it is highly likely to be food. We live in a world where food is consumed not because it is a necessity, but because it is a hobby. And why not? How many times have we indulged in a plate of paani puri to elevate our day, and when the clouds pour down, the first thing we Indians do is prepare a steaming hot cup of chai. Any foodie would know that Karnataka is a land of age-old, traditional recipes. These mouth-watering dishes are one of the best attractions that tourists seek whenever they visit Karnataka. However, while the famous vada-sambar is certainly appealing, there are several less-known and equally interesting dishes that are heavenly. Here are the best dishes from Karnataka traditional food that will make you ache for more:

1. Mavinkai Chutney

Best Food from Karnataka-Mavinakai Chutney
Image/Sameer Goyal/Flickr

Packed with deliciousness, with just the right amount of spices, this unique chutney is prepared from unripe mangoes. It is typically served with your trusty idli, dosa, paratha, or rice as a part of the main course meal. This is a seasonal delight that is made in several households during the much-anticipated mango season. A tangy addition to your meal, this chutney is a must-try if you’re in Karnataka!

2. Gojju


Gojju is a vegetarian side dish served as a part of the main course. Although there are several variations to this recipe, the common ones are made from okra, mango, pineapples, etc. This dish is simple to make and is less time-consuming.

3. Chigli Chutney

Image Courtesy – Foodlovers.in

Exclusively made in Malnad, this chutney is prepared from red fire ants. Yes, red fire ants! This unique and classic chutney adds a tint of fire to your plate due to its spicy nature. It is an excellent source of protein in the winter. Moreover, it is even believed to relieve cough, cold, and pneumonia. The Chigli Chutney is usually eaten with rice rotis as an accomplishment. Brave enough to try this dish?

4. Halasina Yele Chilmi

Image Courtesy – Karnataka Tourism/FB

This fun and exotic dish is something we would all look forward to! Halasina Yele Chilmi is a sweet dish found on the Canara coast. It is made with coconut, jaggery, and rice paste. The steamed delicacy is shaped into cones made up of jackfruit leaves. Along with having a sweet taste and being packed with deliciousness, Halasana Yele Chilmi is also visually attractive. Try not to grab one if it’s placed in front of you, will you?

5. Chow Chow Bhath

Karnataka-Traditional-Food Chow Chow bath

A boon of sweet and spice; this rice dish is for those people who are torn between their love for sweet and spicy. Chow Chow Bhath is a splendid dish consisting of Kesari bath and Khara Bhath on the same plate. While the Khara bath provides a salty and spicy blend, the Kesari bath is a sweet addition to the dish. This is a breakfast recipe, also popular in Bangalore.

6. Korri Gassi

Karnataka-Traditional-Food-Korri Gassi

The epitome of deliciousness, Korri Gassi is a chicken delight from Mangalore (south of Karnataka). Korri translates to chicken and gassi means curry. As the name suggests, this is a chicken curry made from tamarind, tomatoes, coconut milk along with a masala prepared from a variety of added ingredients such as garlic, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, etc. This dish is great for any non-veg lover out there.

7. Sungta Song

Image – RovingI/Flickr

Can you imagine a dish so grand, it is given the title of a song? Sungta translates to the song. This special dish is a thick prawn’s curry made with onions, tomato masala, and garnished with coriander and some zingy lemons. It is, without a doubt, extremely unique and one of a kind in Karnataka.

8. Mandige

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The star of Belgaum, (Also prepared in Maharashtra) Mandige is a special sweet that marks its presence as it is served in Brahmin weddings and during festivals as the traditional ‘prashad’. Mandige is a sort of flaky crepe filled with sugar, ghee, and khoa. The origins of this dish remain unclear to date. To cook this complex recipe, cooks usually work in the early hours of the morning. Once the dish is prepared, each piece is carefully packed and stored in baskets. The most appealing site, indeed!

9. Kalees Ankiti

Image Courtesy – Pots & Treats (Mangalorean)/Youtube

Heaven for any non – vegetarian, Kalees Ankiti means liver intestines. It is a rare dish that contains pig liver, intestines, etc. Since Kalees Ankiti is extremely difficult and time-consuming to cook, hence it is not easily found in Karnataka.

10. Kismuri

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A sharp contrast to Kalees Ankiti, Kismuri is a kind of salad that contains beetroot, yam, banana stem, and carrots. These vegetables are boiled and mixed with several ingredients such as urad daal, onions, yogurt, etc. Served with fried papad on top, this delicacy is a reserve of nourishment for the body.

11. Karadantu

Image –Milaap.org /Flickr

Found only in Karnataka, this sweet delicacy is a fried-edible gum, made by mixing edible gum with jaggery, almonds, fig, pistachios, cashews, and numerous other nuts and seeds. One may even call Karadantu the Indian version of an energy bar. It is usually recommended for women after their pregnancy and is also prepared during festivities and celebrations.

12. Allugedde

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The famed mashed potatoes recipe from Karnataka, Allugedda is prepared from tomato, black gram, onion, and green chilies. It is served as a side dish alongside dosa, rice, or even as snacks with a preferred beverage.

13. Lamb Blood Fry

Image – Wikimedia

Rakti is one bloody dish!. Literally. The dish of a Hindu martial caste, Saujis, who claim to be the descendants of king Sahasrarjuna, Rakti is made during Dasara and is widely eaten with Jowar rotis. This dish is made with meat, spice, and, well, blood. Not for the faint of heart!

14. Mysore Masala Dosa

Karnataka-Traditional-Food-Mysore Masala Dosa
Image/Garrett Zeigler/Flickr

The most common and well-known dish in Karnataka, the Mysore Masala Dosa is something every Indian adores! The red chutney smeared on top, classic sambhar, and ghee is a true South Indian delight. Any foodie would agree – this dish is undoubtedly the way to go when you’re craving a low-calorie snack and when you aren’t willing to compromise on taste!

15. Kane Rawa Fry

Karnataka-Traditional-Food Kane Rava Fry
Image/Charles Haynes/Flickr

The specialty of Mangalore, this fish curry is one of the best seafood you’ll come across in Karnataka. Kane Rawa Fry consists of Lady Fish being mixed in a red chili paste and being fried to attain a golden-ish hue. A tangy sight to behold, this dish is crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside.

16. Neer Dosa

Karnataka-Traditional-Food Neer Dosa

Anything which has ‘dosa’ in it is always something delicious and you know it! Relish in these fluffy, soft, and tasty crepes to elevate your taste buds. Neer dosa means water dosas due to the watery and liquid nature of the batter as opposed to the usual thick dosa batter. Due to their light and soft nature, these dosas are eaten with chutney for breakfast. Indeed, Neer Dosas are one of the best and easy-to-make snacks of all time!

17. Halbai

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Adding to our list of Karnataka’s sweet dishes is the appetizing Halbai. This wonderful sweet is famously prepared during the Nagarpanchami festival. It is prepared from ingredients such as jaggery, rice, and coconuts. This ‘rice halwa’ is is extremely simple to make and is a favorite among the children as well as the elders.

18. Mangalore Buns

Mangalore buns
Image Clourtesy – Bangalore Shor

This circular treat belongs to the Udupi cuisine of Karnataka. Made from banana and flour, these buns or pooris are mildly sweet and extremely soft. This dish is commonly eaten for snacks and breakfast along with idli-dosa. The thick texture and flaky insides of the bun are what make them so attractive.

19. Kadle Manoli

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Another classic from Mangalore, the manoli or Tendli, is a vegetarian recipe famous for its magnificent taste. It is prepared by combing manoli, kadle, and coconut to add flavor. Although it takes a relatively longer amount of time to prepare this dish, I can assure you that it is worth every effort!

20. Mysore Bonda

Karnataka-Traditional-Food-Mysore Bonda
Image/Gopal Krishna/Pixahive

Also known as Ulundu Bonda, this is a popular fried delicacy that originated in Mysore. To provide a good texture to the bonda, fresh pieces of coconuts are added to the batter. This also makes it tastier and more appealing. This dish is eaten all over Mysore as a snack by all age groups.

21. Thatte Idli

Image – Solarisgirl/Flickr

Thatte Idli is a prominent Idli variety (rice cake). This idli is bigger in diameter and thickness than conventional idli and gets its name from the round disc type basin in which it is produced. Bidadi, a Bengaluru industrial area, is well-known for its bisi (hot) thatte idli. Of course, Bengaluru isn’t the only town in Karnataka that can claim ownership of the thatte idli; Tumakuru (former22ly Tumkur), located less than two hours from Bengaluru, is also famous for its thatte idli.

22. Ennegayi

Image – Savitha Ak/FB

Badanekayi ennegayi, also known as thumbida badanekayi, is a traditional North Karnataka curry dish. Jowar roti (jolada rotti) or chapati is the most common accompaniment to ennegayi. Small purple brinjals, onion, coconut, peanuts, sesame seeds, and a variety of additional spices are used to make delicious ennegayi or stuffed brinjal.

This dish is known in Kannada as ennegayi or thumbida badanekayi. In Kannada, the word “enne” means “oil.” Because brinjal or badanekayi is cooked in oil over low heat, it is known as ennegayi. In Kannada, the word “thumbida” means “stuffed.”

23. Bisi Bele Bath

Image – Deevi’s Kitchen/FB

Bisi bele bath is a traditional meal from the Indian state of Karnataka. In English, Bisi bele bath means “hot lentil rice dish.” “Bisi” is a Kannada term that means “Hot” (temperature), “Bele” means “Lentils” and “Bath” means “gooey dish cooked by immersing the ingredients in water”

This gooey delicacy, tempered with pure ghee, is incredibly tasty and popular in Karnataka’s eateries and tiffin centres.

Bisi bele bath is a common dish prepared in many Karnataka families. As a result, each family may have a unique recipe that incorporates a variety of components. Most variants start with short-grain rice, toor dal, tamarind, jaggery, carrots, peas, beans, bell peppers, and bisi bele bath pudi.

24. Jolada Rotti

Image – Prathap Uppi/FB

Sorghum bread is known as Jolada Rotti. Jolada Rotti is a traditional North Karnataka dish that you must sample if you visit the state. Sorghum bicolor is used to make Jolada rotti, an unleavened Indian bread. It has a rougher texture than a roti. In terms of hardness, it can be soft or firm in texture, similar to a khakhra or cracker. Jowar rotti, which literally translates to “sorghum bread,” is also known as jawarichi Bhakri in adjacent Maharastra. Jolada rotti is a staple food in most of North Karnataka’s regions, where it’s served with pulse curries like jhunka, enne gai, Shengdana Chutney, and other chutnies.

25. Chitranna

Image – Su-lin/Flickr

In Karnataka, Chitranna (Lemon Rice) is a famous rice-based cuisine. Chitranna is a simple dish to prepare and is readily accessible at affordable pricing. If you need to make something quickly for lunch or supper, this is a fantastic alternative. It’s made by combining cooked rice with a seasoning known as Oggarane or Gojju. Mustard seeds, fried lentils, peanuts, curry leaves, chillies, lemon juice, and other optional things such as scrapes of unripe mango make up the flavouring. Chitranna’s yellow hue is due to the use of turmeric powder. Some people season with garlic and onions, even though they aren’t usually part of the dish. The dish is particularly famous in the Indian state of Karnataka, where it has become a staple of the local cuisine.

26. Maddur Vada

Image – Aturquoisecloud

Maddur Vada (also known as Maddur Vade) is a crispy savoury snack from Karnataka made of rice flour, semolina, and all-purpose flour, as well as onions, curry leaves, and green chilies, and eaten with coconut chutney. On the exterior, they’re crispy, yet on the inside, they’re soft.
The name of this dish comes from a little village named Maddur, which is located between Bangalore and Mysore.
These Vadas require no soaking or grinding and can be prepared in less than 30 minutes. It’s a great party appetiser or something to eat on a wet day.

27. Chiroti 

Image – Bunts Recipe/FB

Chiroti, also known as Chirote, is a traditional Karnataka and Maharashtra delicacy. It is also well-known in portions of Telangana. Particularly in the Nalgonda areas. Pheni/Peni is the name given to it in this region. On exceptional events, such as a festival or a wedding, it is offered as a dessert. It’s produced by forming stacked circular forms out of kneaded maida dough and deep frying them in ghee or refined oil. The end result is a semi-golden brown fluffy poori that is lavishly dusted with powdered sugar and possibly shredded almonds and cashews.

After going through an entire list of dishes found in Karnataka, any person would be more than thrilled to pack their bags and pay a visit to this reservoir of great food! Such delicious cuisines are only a part of the rich heritage of India, with loads more to explore. So now, tell me, which dish did you like the best?

After going through an entire list of dishes found in Karnataka, any person would be more than thrilled to pack their bags and pay a visit to this reservoir of great food! Such delicious cuisines are only a part of the rich heritage of India, with loads more to explore. So now, tell me, which dish did you like the best?

Image credits: The copyright for the images used in this article belong to their respective owners. Best known credits are given under the image. For changing the image credit or to get the image removed from Caleidoscope, please contact us.


    • Hey Levine, thanks for stopping by…. Yes the Sungta is a dish from Konkani cuisine prepared mostly in coastal area.


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