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Indian thali series – Day 2 of Kannada cuisine
Karnataka Thali Series : In memories of the beautiful days we had spent in the countryside of Karnataka, the hills, the rain forest of Western Ghats, and the plantation life. Each time I was astonished to find the simplicity in their food and the culture, the traditions, rituals that is being followed religiously through ages with utmost devotion and conviction that one feels from heart for their cultural heritage and traditions.
Multitude of flavours, kaleidoscope of vivid colorful spread neatly arranged in a particular fashion and a comprehensive platter of all six tastes – sweet, salt, spicy, bitter, sour and astringent to stimulate your senses – Indian thali meals brings perfect balance and harmony to one’s palate.
Join me as I am on a mission to discover the regional cuisines of India, one state at a time and if you are following my lunch stories on Instagram, you will know that lately I am pretty much obsessed with the idea of thali meals. It is not just a uber cool idea to showcase what you are cooking, eating and sharing, but also a way to discover your roots and stay true to it and food is the way that connects you to your culture and traditions on so many levels.
Ironically, you will hardly find any typical Kannada vegetarian thali meals in Bangalore. Most of the South Indian thali restaurant serves dishes from broader spectrum of South Indian cuisine with unmistakable inclination towards Andhra cuisine, and some are mix of Chinese and North Indian dishes too. The ever popular Udupi restaurants in Bangalore, also do not justify the wonderful flavours from the temple town. Here is how to prepare – mega Udupi veg sattvik thali.
So, my quest for home style Kannada cuisine remain unquenched till I visit the interiors of Karnataka and had stayed with families in their home-stays . The vast arrays of vegetarian and meat dishes, the uncountable number of chutneys and podis, the evergreen varieties of rice dishes and the unending varieties of dosa and idlis specially the one they prepares with millet is beyond comparable and astounding. Since then it was on my mind to learn more of such dishes and this leads me to discover this unique and one of the oldest surviving cuisine of India.
To prepare an all-inclusive and comprehensive Kannada thali is beyond my scope as of now but I am slowly learning and tasting every aspect of it.
So, here on day 2 of Kannada cuisine series, I bring you this simple vegetarian thali that I had prepared after reading books, blogs and the broken conversation with my house help who is a Kannadiga. With her help I have learned few Kannada names of few vegetables and the numerics.
This mini Kannada veg thali of mine comprises of –
- Vangi bhaath / Badanekayi anna / Brinjal rice – this I am preparing since ages and with time I had developed my own version of it. Eggplants or brinjals are one of my favourite vegetable and that is perhaps the reason that I never get bored with this spicy, tasty and lip smacking vangi baath. I prepare my own dry masala powder to use with it, and since the time I had started living in South India, I took a keen interest in all the Southern spices too like moggu or Kapok buds.
Here is how to prepare it – Dry roast one teaspoon each of coriander and cumin seeds, one tablespoon of chana dal, few dry red chillies (I use bydagi chillies) , two- three cloves, two moggu, one inch cinnamon and grind them to a fine powder. Your vangi bath masala is ready.
Next temper the oil with mustard seeds and curry leaves, fry sliced onions, garlic in oil in a pan and add the sliced eggplants (I use the small eggplant variety for this recipe) , add few dry red chillies too. Once the eggplants are cooked halfway, add handful of peanuts, curry leaves, salt and this ground spice mix. Sometimes I add a large pinch of sambhar powder to make it little spicy and sometimes grated coconut (it is not staple in our kitchen) too. Mix everything well, lastly add the rice (use leftover rice as they have less moisture to it), give a nice stir and serve immediately with yogurt and papad.
- 2. Kosambri / salad – To tell you the truth I am in love with this carrot kosambri. Never imagined that grated carrot as salad could be so delish. There are other variations and varieties too. For this first grate the carrot, then in ghee temper it with pinch of hing, curry leaves and mustard seeds. Drizzle it with fresh lemon and serve.
- 3. Heerakai Palya / Ridgegourd dry sabzi or curry – check the recipe in recipe section
- 4. Hagalakayi / Bittergourd dry sabzi or curry – I follow the recipe from VegRecipesOfKarnataka : I finely chopped the bittergourd and de seed them. Then smear it with enough salt and turmeric powder and leave on the counter for 30-40 minutes. This not only reduce the bitterness of the bitter gourds but also soften it. Then I dry roasted urad dal, red chillies, coriander seeds and keep aside. Next I dry roasted the freshly grated coconut. Blend everything together in a mixer and make a smooth paste of it. The oil was tempered with mustard seeds, hing, garlic (my version) and curry leaves. Bittergourds after draining all its liquid were added and cooked on low heat till it is soft. The tamarind water was added and cooked further till done. Finish it with the spice and coconut blend paste, mix well, adjust for salt and add the jaggery powder (as per your taste). Drizzle it with ghee and serve hot.
Roti and cucumber raita.
The recipe for Heerakai palya has been adopted from Akshayepatre with slight modification.
Not much has been written on Kannada cuisine (In English I meant), but has recently come across this book and I highly recommend this book – The Udupi Kitchen for a glimpse of cuisine from Karnataka.
- Ridge gourd : 2-3 (In Bangalore you get the super big size)
- Spice blend -
- Coriander seeds : 1 tsp
- Chana dal / Bengal gram : 1 tbsp
- Sesame seeds : 1 tsp
- Peanuts : 10-12
- Coconut : 2-3 tbsp
- Red chillies : 2
- Curry leaves : 1 sprig
- Mustard seeds : 1 tsp
- Oil : 2 tbsp
- Salt as per taste
- Wash and peel the ridge gourd. Then chopped them into cubes.
- In a pan dry roast all the ingredients listed under spice blend. Cool it off and blend them in a mixer to a smooth paste with help of little water.
- Add the ridge gourd with little salt, turmeric fry for few minutes and then cover it, lower the flame and let it steam cook till done.
- Ridge gourd is soft vegetable and releases lots of water and get cooked very fast.
- Once the vegetable is soft, add the spice blend and mix them properly. Check for the seasonings
- This is dry curry, so adjust the gravy as per your liking. I like it with clingy gravy, not completely dry.
- Serve hot with rice or akki roti.
Read here – How to prepare special Ugadi Meal
Hope you have loved this thali meal,