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Traditional Sweets of Karnataka | Locally Famous Indian Snacks

Karnataka is home to many delicacies. Some of the items are known worldwide and some are locally very famous & waiting to be introduced to the outside world. Kaamik's vision is to introduce these local artisanal products to the whole wide world.

Here is a list of a few traditional sweet snacks that originated in Karnataka:

  • Mysore Pak: It is a traditional South Indian sweet made with gram flour (besan), ghee, and sugar. This mouth-watering sweet is an accidental creation! Its history is traced to the kitchen of the Mysore Palace in the early 20th century when Nalawadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar was the king in power. Kakasura Madappa, the then royal cook in the Mysore Palace, used to please the King with different dishes. One day he made a new sweet dish. When the King tasted it, it melted at the tip of his tongue. On being asked the name of the dish, the cook invented the name 'Mysore Paka' in a split second. 'Paka' is a Kannada word meaning a sweet concoction.

  • Dharwad Peda: One of the unique delicacies of Karnataka is Dharwad Peda. It derives its name from the city of Dharwad in Karnataka. It was originally started by the Thakur family, 175 years ago! It's prepared from the milk of Dharwadi buffaloes. The fame of this family-run Peda is spreading worldwide. The Thakur family closely guards the secret recipe and passes it down to the next generation. From a single outlet in Dharwad, it has now grown to multiple outlets in different parts of Karnataka.

  • Hayagreeva: Personally, this is one of my favorites. This traditional Malnad sweet is becoming very uncommon nowadays to the new generation. People used to prepare this dish during festivals or some functions back when I was a kid. Nowadays it has become so rare to find. In Sanskrit, Hayagriva means Haya = Horse, Griva = Neck. Hayagriva is also a horse-headed Avatar of Lord Vishnu. The origin of this sweet revolves around the Avatar of Lord Vishnu. The worshippers of Havagriva invented this to please him. This is because this sweet dish's main ingredient is Chana Dal (Bengal gram) and horses are supposedly like Chana Dal.

  • Karadant: This is one of the healthiest sweet snacks you'll ever find! It is prepared using mixing edible gum with dry fruits, Bengal gram flour, jaggery, and dry fruits. It originated in a small town named Gokak of Bagalkot district of Karnataka. Accidentally when jaggery was put on existing ingredients, it was invented. We at Kaamik, got to know about this tasty sweet snack while searching for delicacies of Karnataka. This was part of our October 2021 box named 'Magic of the Western Ghats' and received amazing feedback. With no added sugar, this is one of the best options for your sweet cravings.

  • Manohara: Yet another traditional sweet snack that is losing popularity in the modern days is Manohara. It is prepared using Boondi (Chana / Bengal gram), jaggery, and coconut. This snack can be found in the Malnad region of Karnataka during festivals or functions. Also, you can find very few snack makers who specialize in making this item.

  • Kunda: Delicious North Karnataka's traditional sweet - Belgaum special Kunda. It's prepared by boiling and reducing milk, curdled, and cooked with caramelized sugar. It is called "Terati Pal" in Tamil Nadu and in North India, it is also called "Kalkand". The sweet has an incidental story on how it got originated. One day when "Jakku Marwadi" put milk to boil, he forgot to turn off the heat. As a result, the milk boiled over for a long time and got reduced. When he realized this he tasted the milk and felt it was quite sweet so he added some more Khova to the milk and created a sweet and called it Kunda.

There is so much diversity in food and culture across India. This diversity can be seen between not just two states but two neighboring cities. There are so many varieties of snacks that are waiting to be introduced to the whole wide world.

The above list may be very small but not our vision. Our aim is to introduce all these traditional snacks to the whole world and help the local artisans of India to keep their traditions alive.

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