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Food and Culture of Karnataka

Updated: Jun 15, 2022

Karnataka is one of the 6 major South Indian states in India that boasts of its rich cultural heritage and the exotic Karnataka Cuisine. Karnataka Cuisine features a variety of diverse culinary traditions. These have highly influenced the neighboring states like Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra.


Karnataka cuisine lies on a vast spectrum with pure veg food on one end and non-veg on another. Coconut is an important ingredient and is found in almost every dish in some form or the other.



Food Diversity Across State


Kannadigas are fond of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Karnataka is home to different regions. Both food and culture vary drastically in these regions, from the fish cuisine of Mangalore to the Jowar roti cuisine of North Karnataka.


However, a typical Kannadiga Oota (meal) consists of rice, sambar, pickle, ghee, dessert, and other curry-based dishes and is served on a banana leaf.


You can broadly categorize Karnataka cuisine into parts:-


North Karnataka Cuisine

Mainly seafood with rice and fish as the staple food.


South Karnataka Cuisine

Recipes revolve around steamed rice and ragi.


Udupi Cuisine

Use of vegetables, grains, local fruits, and beans with jaggery and rice.


Mangalore Cuisine

Curry leaves and coconut as the main ingredients. Being a coastal area fish is the staple diet.


Malenadu Cuisine

The Staple dish is rice that is consumed in grounded, steamed, and flattened forms.


Kodagu Cuisine

Spicy curries with rice as their staple food.


Navayath Cuisine

Navayath cuisine comprises seafood, mutton, eggs, poultry, rice, and coconut.


FAMOUS KARNATAKA FOOD ITEMS



When it comes to Karnataka food, the list is endless! People relish home-cooked food in the traditional style and are still very keen on following their culture. Let us have a look at some of the most famous and loved Karnataka dishes and snacks.


Kane Rava Fry

Kane Rava Fry

Coming from the Mangalorean kitchen is a deep-fried fish fritters which are the authentic dishes of the region. The fish is marinated in spicy red chili paste and coated with sooji is deep-fried in coconut oil and served with lemon. The fish is tender on the inside and crisp on the outside.


Korri Gassi

Korri Gassi

A rich Chicken curry made in Spicy and creamy curry in coconut milk. The curry is made freshly with ground masala sautéed with tomato, curry leaves, and onion. Chicken pieces are infused in the curry and cooked for a while resulting in a flavourful dish. Korri Gassi is served with rice or rice creps.


Haalbai

Haalbai

A festive sweet dish made traditionally in many households, Haalbai is a dessert cake made of idli/rice. Other ingredients include cardamom, elaichi, coconut milk, jaggery, and ghee. Haalbai is soft when made but gets hard after some time.


Bisi Bele Bath

Bisi Bele Bath

A bowl of flavourful lentils and rice, with added vegetables and Tadka is made traditionally in Karnataka households. Bisi Bele Bath is a nutritious and healthy dish that is somewhat like masala khichdi in North India.


Rava Kesari

Rava Kesari

Orange flavored semolina halwa is a dessert lover's paradise sweet garnished with saffron strands. Made during festivals and pooja, Rawa Kesari is an auspicious sweet dish that is a luxury treat that is relished and served hot. There is a pineapple version of Rawa Kesari which taste like a soft jelly and is tasty beyond words,


Sagu

Sagu

Sagu is a coconut-rich, greenish gravy prepared with a combination of several vegetables and spices. Sagu is served with rice, set dosa, Rava idli, or poori. It has a creamy texture and is a popular dish in Karnataka cuisine.


Mangalorean Biryani

Mangalorean Biryani

With or without chicken, Mangalorean biryani has a special flavor owing to the unique blend of spices and coconut. The grounded spices form a thick orange color paste in which the chicken and rice are tossed and give the biryani a mouth-watering color and taste.


Maddur Vada

Maddur Vada

Getting its name from the town of Maddur, Maddur Vada is a snack that is a Karnataka version of North Indian kachori. It has a crisp outer and a soft inner side with onion pieces that elevate the taste. Maddur vada is served with green chutney and curd.


Gojju

Gojju

Gojju is a tangy curry-like dish, made from tomatoes or fruits like mango or pineapple. Gojju is the easiest recipe in Karnataka cuisine and has a lip-smacking taste and can go with anything be it idli, dosa, vada, or rice.


Chiroti

Chiroti

Chiroti is a traditional sweet of Karnataka, which is a white flaky pastry in concentric circles. It is sprinkled with cardamom sugar and looks like a danish pastry. Chiroti is served as a dessert at weddings or on special occasions.








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