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
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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!
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
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
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
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.
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?