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Karnataka Cuisine – Diverse culinary traditions

Karnataka Cuisine – A Food Culture of Diverse Culinary Traditions

Karnataka is one of the 6 major South Indian states in India that boasts of its rich cultural heritage and the exotic Karnataka Cuisine. Being one the oldest surviving cultures of India, the Kannada cuisine also becomes one of the oldest cooking traditions prevailing in India. Kannada cuisine traces back to the Iron Age. There are mentions about the culinary tradition of this region in the historical works by Pampa Maha Kavi, Sushrutha, etc.

Karnataka Cuisine features a variety of diverse culinary traditions. These have highly influenced the neighboring states like Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra. While Karnataka has also influenced its neighboring states with the age old rich culinary art, the people of Karnataka have also, over the years, inhibited the food habits of these states, especially Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh.

Types of Different Cuisines in Karnataka

Karnataka cuisines are widely diverse in nature and you can find a lot of different types of dishes prepared and served across this state. However, the simple classification for Karnataka cuisine is that the Kannads are fond of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. However, the cooking style and the type of dishes vary from one place to another based on the availability of ingredients.

Ghee is also widely used in most food preparations. Formal vegetarian preparations are often served on a large leaf, either banana leaves, plantain leaves, or tendu-like leaves stapled together to form a circular plate. The full meal is served in a specific order and the final item is Ghee. Once the ghee is served to everyone, it will indicate that all the dishes are served to everyone seated and they can start the meal. A famous sweet called Mysore Pak also originated from this region.

Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/af/Lunch_from_Karnataka_on_a_plantain_leaf.jpg

A Variety of different cuisines found in Karnataka are as follows:

  • Northern Karnataka Cuisine
  • Southern Karnataka Cuisine
  • Udupi Cuisine
  • Malendu Cuisine
  • Kodagu Cuisine
  • Mangalorean Cuisine
  • North Canara Cuisine
  • Navayath Cuisine

It is quite difficult to write down all the traditional food in Karnataka. It will take more than a book or two to include each and every cuisine and its rich heritage. However, we will try to explore each one of the diverse cuisines popular in Karnataka. We will add some details to understand the culinary culture of Karnataka.

Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b5/Steamed_idli.jpg

While the Udupi cuisine boasts of different types of dosas, the seafood delicacies dominates the coastal Mangalorean cuisines. The northern part of Karnataka uses Jowar flour to prepare Jola roti, Thallipeet, etc. To complement the Rotties, specific spicy curries such as Enne Kathirikai, Jhunka, Badane Kaayi Playa, etc. are the hot favorites among the people of Northern Karnataka. For desserts, you can also try some lip-smacking sweets such as ellu and shenga holige and Belgaum khunda, etc.

On the contrary to the North, the people of South Karnataka, especially the old Mysuru region are accustomed to foods prepared from ragi flour. One of the most popular traditional dishes in South Karnataka is Raagi mudde (Raagi ball). You can also try several popular dishes of South Karnataka such as Ragi roti, Akki roti and Benne Dosa. The variety of rice dishes such as Kesari Bath, Idli, Bisi Bele Bath, and Vangi Bath are also quite popular. The curries in this region are prepared using a fine blend of spices such as mustard, asafoetida, and curry leaves.

Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/04/Bisi_Bele_Bath_%28Bisibelebath%29.JPG

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ragi_Mudde_-_Bassaru.jpgSource: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/ef/A_view_of_Mysore_pa.jpg/1280px-A_view_of_Mysore_pa.jpg

The hilly region of Coorg is famous for its unique cuisine. This consists of spicy meat curries prepared either from pork, chicken, or mutton. Kokum Kachampuli is one of the common ingredients used in the curry preparations here. This offers the tangy taste to these meat dishes.

Over to you!

Even though Karnataka is a single state, you can find a lot of different regions here. All of them, with their own unique style of traditions. These diverse traditions also affect their lifestyle and cuisine. Hence, if you are ever planning to travel in the future, make sure you explore the different regions of Karnataka. This, based on their diversity and experience their unique food cultures spread across the state.

Uttpal K

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26 thoughts on “Karnataka Cuisine – Diverse culinary traditions

  1. I live mysore pak.I had it in Hyderabad.Its delicious and sinful.Loved the desctiption of different Cuisines of Karnataka.I rrally like these regional food stories.

  2. Being from Karnataka myself, I just love all kinds of regional cuisine from there…but my favourite, without any doubt is the Mysore pak from Shri Krishna Sweets
    Very nicely written!!

  3. My son was in love with Mysore Pak for a brief phrase. I love Mangalorean fish too. But believe after having lived in Bangalore for 10 years now sometimes things like lime rice and ragi balls puts me off completely!

  4. How is Ragi Mudde purple? I have a lot of relatives in North Karnataka and have tried many of the specialties there. A single state has so much diversity when it comes to food, we really are blessed.

  5. I hate Bissi Belli and frankly find the idlis from Udipi a bit too sour. But give me Mysore Pak any day. Even though it oozes ghee it is irresistible.

  6. That is such an awesome list, UK. I moved to Bangalore 3 and a half years ago and have tried a lot of the dishes you mentioned. Excited to try the others soon. Great post!

  7. Hi there, You’ve done an excellent job. I’ll certainly digg it and in my opinion suggest to my friends. I am sure they’ll be benefited from this web site.

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