Indian Thali Series – South Indian Lunch Menu
Day 5 of Kannada Cuisine
We are concluding our culinary journey through the wonderful state of Karnataka with this grand finale – an ode to Udupi cuisine. Though officially the district Udupi has been carved out as late as 1997 but this temple town was famous worldwide for its much celebrated cuisine – Udupi cuisine which strictly adhere to the sattvik tradition of Indian vegetarian cuisine, without use of onions and garlic.
The Udupi cuisine has its origin in the Ashta mathas of Udupi, founded by 13th century scholar Madhavacharya who believes and propagates the theory of dvait vedanta (or dualism) of Hindu philosophy.
Most of the dishes that are now an integral part of Udipi cuisine are also the part of religious offering or bhog or prasadam of 13th century Shri Krishna Temple of Udupi. The recipes are developed by the Shivalli Madhwa Brahmins who with great devotion cook the food everyday for Lord Krishna with locally available ingredients.
The dishes comprises primarily of these four ingredients – dals / pulses, vegetables (not all, only local), fruits, grains and beans. The use of local ingredients and seasonal restrictions due to religious practices lends a unique touch to the Udupi cuisine and it has become its hallmark signature style.
But alas there are hardly any Udupi restaurants in Bangalore that cater and adhere to this sattvik meals. So in order to understand the philosophy behind this sattvik tradition of Udupi cuisine and to understand the subtle nuances of this wonderful cuisine, I had to go through its history, the culture, customs and traditions as documented in books and personal blogs written by the people of Udipi.
This is the kind of Thali that I had enjoyed during weddings and on special occasions, without knowing that it belongs to Udupi cuisine. I have chosen few elements from that grand Thali and prepared a full course menu. Many dishes are beyond my scope and comprehension.
So here we go with my Great Indian Thali Series I – Udupi Lunch Menu
The prime ingredients and seasonings to prepare this Udupi lunch menu are red chillies, tamarind, jaggery, mustard seeds, curry leaves, coconut, urad dal (white lentils), chana dal(Bengal gram) and coconut oil base.
Ghee, salt, pickle..
Kosambri – I had prepared a moong lentil, cucumber and coconut kosambri. I found that carrot is not used in Udupi cuisine, hence the regular carrot kosambri is replaced with lentil kosambri.
Bajji and chutney – I choose Goli baje or Mangalore bajji which I had eaten umpteen time here in Karanataka. From a colorful palette of chutneys, I had chosen tomato chutney prepared in Udupi style, with lentil base like chana dal and urad dal and spiced with red chillies.
Adde / pancake of various grams – Instead of that I had opted for sajjige roti or rawa roti. Rawa or semolina is soaked in curd and water for half an hour. After that chopepd green chillies, spices, chopped coriander leaves, a spoonful of grated coconut, little bit of jaggery is added and whipped everything into a idli kind batter. These pancakes are then cooked on a heated griddle.
Ajethna / Palya – Palyas are dry curry. I had prepared a green beans palya with coconut. Beans are chopped into small pieces. The oil was tempered with mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal and curry leaves. Beans were added along with jaggery, salt and water. Once it get cooked, the coconut-green chilies and cumin paste were added.
Chitranna / Lemon rice – this is one of the integral part of Udupi cuisine and this rice dish will get featured in every occasion that caters dishes from this region. A simple rice dish that is seasoned well with mustard seeds, curry leaves, soaked peanuts, green chillies, cumin seeds, red chillies, turmeric and generous drizzle of diluted lemon juice to add the tanginess to this rice dish.
Happala or Jackfruti pappad – replaced it with commercial lentil pappad
Steamed white rice
Saaru and Rasam – I had prepared a soul satisfying tomato rasam from Sailu’s blog. The flavours were so good, mind blowing taste, seasoned well and we just cannot stop at one serving.
Menaskai or gojju – is a sweet and sour soupy dish. The base of menaskai is coconut and black sesame seeds. That is completely new thing for me as I have hardly come across any Indian recipes that uses black sesame seed in cooking. Black sesame seeds are mostly used in religious rituals. Usually popular choices of menaskai are hagalakayi / bittergourd and pineapple. Both were unavailable at that time. So I ponder over this for long and tried something new – and prepared this sweet pumpkin menaskai in accordance to the recipe of gorikai menaskai by – Love food eat.
If you have not tried pumpkin menasakai/ gojju, you must try at least once. Pumpkins do full justice to this sweet and sour dish.
Koddelu / Udupi Sambhar – I had prepared many versions of Sambhar till date and popular choices were mostly drumstick, eggplants and radishes. But never had tried a sambhar recipe with raw banana or plantain. I had followed the recipe from Srivalli’s blog and this was surprisingly good.
Majjige Huli – Instead of this vegetables simmered in curd dish, I had opted for simple neeru majjige or spiced buttermilk – this acts as a coolant after such a lavish spread.
I skip the fried items and payasam.
Sweet dishes – Hayagreeva – This is a traditional sweet dish that is being prepared as a part of naivedyam offering to the deities of Shri Sode Vadiraja mutt at Udupi. Simple yet delightfully tasty sweet dish, this is primarily made of chana dal and jaggery. Beautifully scented with cardamoms and nutmeg powder. The addition of grated coconut is optional here but I found that it lends the dish a unique touch and makes it more delicious.
I generally do not love to tweak traditional and ethnic recipes but here I took little liberty and added couple of tablespoon roasted wheat flour to get a more uniform texture and roasted flour adds its own aromatic flavour to the dish. Recipe reference for hayagreeva – Smitha’s blog
Preparing such full course menu needs lots of preparations and planning. So plan carefully and procure everything you will need before hand, including banana leaves if you are planning to serve the lunch on banana leaves. Start couple of days earlier.
Things you can do before hand –
- Prepare the rasam podi and sambhar powder couple of days before and store it.
- A day before, chop the green beans into small pieces, and other vegetables requires for the menu, and store it in ziplock or sealed containers in fridge.
- Grate the coconut and divide the portions require for separate dishes. For palya, you can prepare the coconut – green chill paste previous night and store it. Similarly for menaskai, prepare the coconut and black sesame paste before hand and store it in a airtight container.
- Wash, soak and cook the lentils previous night.
Hope you have loved our series on Kannada cuisine,