Kannada is a language spoken in India predominantly in the state of Karnataka. Kannada, whose native speakers are called Kannadigas (Kannaḍigaru) and number roughly 38 million, is one of the 40 most spoken languages in the world. It is one of the scheduled languages of India and the official and administrative language of the state of Karnataka.
A kannada wedding can be said to be a relatively simple affair in comparison with the resplendent weddings conducted in other regions of India. As such there are various communities in Karnataka and the wedding rituals followed by each of these communities are typically different.
Cuisine of Kannada (Karnataka)
The cuisine of Karnataka includes many vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisines. The varieties reflect influences from and to the food habits of many regions and communities from the three neighbouring South Indian states, as well as the state of Maharashtra to its north. Some typical dishes include Bisi bele bath, Jolada rotti, Chapati, Ragi rotti, Akki rotti, Saaru, Idli-vada Sambar, Vangi Bath, Khara Bath, Kesari Bath, Davanagere Benne Dosa, Ragi mudde, and Uppittu. The famous Masala Dosa traces its origin to Udupi cuisine. Plain and Rave Idli, Mysore Masala Dosa and Maddur Vade are popular in South Karnataka. Kodagu (Coorg) district is famous for spicy varieties of pork curries while coastal Karnataka boasts of many tasty seafood specialities. Among sweets, Mysore Pak, Holige, or, Obbattu, Dharwad pedha, Chiroti are well known.
Although the ingredients differ from one region to another, a typical Kannadiga Oota (Kannadiga meal) includes the following dishes in the order specified and is served on a banana leaf: Uppu (salt), Kosambari, Pickle, Palya, Gojju, Raita, Dessert (Yes, it is a tradition to start your meal with a dessert – Paaysa), Thovve, Chitranna, Rice and Ghee.
After serving ghee to everyone, one may start the meal. This is done to ensure that everyone seated has been served all the dishes completely.
What follows next is a series of soup like dishes such as Saaru, Muddipalya, Majjige Huli or Kootu which is eaten with hot rice. Gojju or raita is served next; two or three desserts are served; fried dishes such as Aambode or Bonda are served next. The meal ends with a serving of curd rice.
There is some diversity in core food habits of North and South Karnataka. While northern-style dishes have jola and rice as the primary cereals the south uses ragi and rice.
Karnataka Cuisine – Common to all regions
Some common vegetarian dishes prepared on a regular basis are:
- Bisi bele bath – rice cooked with dal, vegetables and spices; like Huli with rice, but often richer
- Vaangi baath – cooked rice mixed with vegetables cooked in oil and spices; the vegetables are usually made into a palya beforehand and the vaangi baath mixed before serving
- Chitranna – cooked rice flavoured with spices, particularly oil-popped mustard seeds and turmeric
- Mosaranna – curd rice sometimes given a fried spicy touch with fried lentils and oil-popped mustard seeds.
- Puliyogare – cooked rice flavoured with spicy tamarind paste
- Maavinkaayi chitranna – cooked rice flavoured with raw green mango and spices
- Nimbekaayi chitranna – cooked rice flavoured with lemon and spices
- Avalakki – Akki (means rice), avalakki is baked flat rice that is soaked briefly and stirfried with cumin seeds, turmeric powder, peanuts, onions, green chillies, garnished with shredded coconuts and cilantro leaves.
- Mandakki – Puffed rice that is soaked briefly and stirfried with cumin seeds, turmeric powder, peanuts, roasted ground grams, onions, green chillies, garnished with shredded coconuts and cilantro leaves.
- Benne Dose or Butter Dosa – originating from central Karnataka city of Davangere, known for its enticing Aroma and mouthwatering taste.
- Ragi rotti – A flat thick pancake made with ragi dough and flavoured with chillies and onions; the dough is shaped and flattened by hand.
- Akki rotti – A thick, flat pancake-like dish made with a dough of rice flour, chillies, onions and salt; the dough is shaped and flattened by hand.
- Jolada rotti – A flat pancake dish made with a dough of Sorghum flour and salt; the dough is shaped and flattened by hand. Jowar may be sometimes replaced with bajra.
- Ragi mudde – Steamed dumplings made by adding ragi flour to boiling water.
- Gunpongalu – Also known as Gundupongla, Mane Kaavali (skillet with houses), or Poddu. It is made with a rice rice batter (similar to dose) and cooked in a special skillet with compartments.
- Chapathi – flat unleavened bread made from wheat flour, water, oil and salt. Unlike rottis, the dough rolled with a rolling-pin.
- Kadalekaayi chutney
- Hurali chutney
- Kaayi chutney- grated coconut ground with dal (kadale) salted and garnished with oil-fried mustard and curry leaves
- Kaayi chutney (green) – grated coconut ground with dal, green chillies and coriander salted and garnished with oil-fried mustard and curry leaves
- Kaayi chutney (red) – grated coconut chutney ground with dal and dried red chillies salted and garnished with oil-fried mustard and curry leaves
- Maavina chutney – grated raw green mango ground with grated coconut, dal, salted and garnished oil-fried mustard and curry leaves.
- Heerekai chutney – grated ridge-gourd peel ground with grated coconut, dal, salted and garnished oil-fried mustard and curry leaves.
- Eerulli chutney – grated onion peel ground with grated coconut, dal, salted and garnished oil-fried mustard and curry leaves.
- Uddina Bele chutney – Fried Black Gram Dal with Tamarind, Red Chillies, salted and garnished oil-fried mustard and curry leaves.
- pudina chutney-fry pudina leaves along onion, groundnut, black gram, green chilli, tamrind.add sugar and grind to fine paste.
Palya or side dishes
- Hurali kaayi palya
- Hurali palya
- Hurali happala
- Badnekaayi palya
- Bendekaayi palya
- Allugade palya
A salad prepared using simple ingredients such as lentils, green chillies and finely chopped coriander. The dish is generally finished with a tempering of mustard seeds and asafotida. Common variants include kosambari made with the above ingredients in addition to grated cucumber or carrot.
Sweet and spicy dishes
- Menasinakaayi gojju
- HuNuse gojju – made with tamarind
- Bendekaayi gojju – boiled ladies-finger vegetable (okra) cooked in a gravy sweetend with jaggery and soured by tamarind.
- Tomato gojju – cooked cut or mashed tomato with a sweet-sour gravy.
- Eerulli (Onion) and Tomato gojju – cooked cut or mashed tomato mixed with cut onion with a sweet-sour gravy.
- Haagalakaayi gojju – Bittergourd pieces marinated with salt and turmeric to remove some bitterness cooked with a sweet and sour gravy.
- Thondekaayi gojju
Saaru (Main course)
- Huli- Combination of vegetables and lentils simmered with spices, coconut, tamarind and seasoned with Ghee, asafoetida, curry leaves and mustard, it is an integral part of every formal meal.
- Majjige Huli- Cooked vegetables simmered in yogurt with coconut, spices, asafoetida, curry leaves and mustard.
- Tovve- Mushy lentils cooked till creamy, spiked with spices and Ghee. Vegetables are also added to this dish like Ridged gourd, cucumber etc.
- Obbatinna saaru – made from the left over broth while preparing the sweet obbattu.
- Bas saaru – made from the broth of boiled lentils and spring beans
- Mosoppinna/Hulisoppu saaru – made from lentils and spinach
- Maskai- Combination of vegetables cooked and mashed with spices and seasoning.
- menasina saaru – rasam made from pepper, turmeric, and other spices
- Bele saaru – has toor dal as one of the ingredients
- kaalina saaru- Legumes cooked with coconut, spices, tamarind and tempered with asafoetida, curry leaves and mustard. Popular legumes include Kadale kaalu or Chickpeas, Halasande Kaalu black-eyed peas, Hesaru kaalu moong beans, Hurali kaalu Horse gram, Avare kaalu Indian beans
- Haagalakaayi saaru: Haagalakai, the Indian bitter gourd is simmered with coconut, tamarind and spices and spiked with Jaggery and asafoetida, curry leaves and mustard The bitterness of the gourd is cut through by the sweetness of the jaggery and tartness of the tamarind.
- Gojju- traditionally this is thicker than the Saaru but thinner than chutney. It is served with hot rice and is sweet, tangy and spicy. It is served in between courses as a palate cleanser. It is made from diverse ingredients including eggplants, okra, fenugreek, tamarind, pineapple, bitter gourd, tomatoes, lemon-lime, etc.
- Tambuli – A yogurt based cold dish similar to Raita made from Doddapatre soppu. Optional ingredients in this dish includes vegetables and greens.
- Fish / Mutton / Chicken Saaru – A very famous local curry made mainly from assorted spices and meats. Often mixed and eaten with Ragi Balls and Rice or Bhakri
Huggi – cooked rice and kadale or hesaru (mung bean), with coconut, milk, elakki and sweetened with bella (jaggery)
Ginnu – sweetened, flavoured and steam boiled colostrum of cow, buffalo or goat
Kajjaya – Rice and jaggery fritters deep fried in Ghee.
Kadabu – deep fried (kari kadubu) or steamed pastry with assorted sweet filling.
karjikaayi – deep fried crisp pastry with dry sweet filling
unde – ball shaped sweets with the following variations :
- chikkina unde – ellu and bella
- chigali unde – made from ellu
- rave unde – made from semolina
- shenga unde – made from peanut
- mandakki unde – made from mandakki
- avalakki unde – made from avalakki
- Ladoo – made of deep fried chickpea flour droplets and formed into balls that are dipped in sugar syrup.
- Hesarunde Moong dal ladoo.
- Godhiunde- made from Wheat
- Gulaadike Unde- made from Maida and Sugar – A Davangere speciality,
- Besanunde – made from besan
- tambittu – made from rice or wheat flour and jaggery.
- sikkinunde – made from jaggery, dried coconut and maida .
paayasa – milk and jaggery/sugar based porridge, with the following variations
- bele – made from split kadale or hesaru (mung bean)
- Sabbakki or Seeme Akki
Nuts like cashew and almond, and dry fruits like raisins.
obbattu or holige – stuffed or plain sweet flat bread/pancake/crepe with variations including :
- beLe – made from togari or kadale beLe.
- kaayi – The filling is made from coconut and jaggery
- sakkare -Filling made of sugar and desiccated coconut
- shenga – The filling is made of peanuts and jaggery. In Northern Karnataka, this variety is called kaayi hOLige, the kaayi referring to peanut (as opposed to coconut in Southern Karnataka).
sakkare achhu – little sugar statues/toys made during Sankranti
Haalubaayi – A fudge made with ground rice, jaggery and coconut.
mysore pak- A fudge made with Chickpea flour, sugar and ghee.
dharwad pedha- Milk scalded and thickened with sugar. Synonymous with Dharwad
karadantu – Gokak town in Belgaum district and Amingarh of Hunagunda Taluk in Bagalkot district of Karnataka is famous for the karadantu, the most famous form has a mixture of dry fruits and edible gum.
sheekaraNi – pulp of ripe fruit (usually mango or banana) with additions such as sugar, elakki, jaakayi, jaapatri, milk, etc.
Damrottu – Ash gourd toasted in ghee and simmered with sugar, milk solids and sweet spices
Kunda – prepared from thickened milk, a speciality from BeLagaavi
Badushah or Suralipoori
Senige Huggi – A very famous sweet made during diwali in Shikaripur near Shimoga
Sweet Pastries – The following can be grouped together. These are often accompanied by milled sugar, and/or warm milk flavoured with saffron and almonds.
chiroti, phenori – unleaved, layered, sugar-coated fried sweets.
shaavige chiroti – vermicelli pastry.
kesaribhath, Sira – This is made of rice (or semolina in southern karnataka) cooked with sugar/jaggery, cardamom, saffron, milk, dry fruits (mostly raisins), and sometimes fresh fruits like banana, mango and pineapple. Popularly colored yellow/orange/saffron or left white. In North Karnataka, the semolina version is called Sihi Sajjige or Sheera or Sira; kesaribhath usually refers to the rice version.
Hayagreeva – A chickpea based dessert prepared on special occasions; popular amongst the Maadhwa community
Paramanna – Rice pudding with Ghee and Jaggery
Mamu Puri – Flour, Ghee, Sugar, Khoa, first khoa is packed between 2 halves of chapati then fried. It is exported mainly to gulf.
Maaldi – A delicious sweet dish made of powdered ‘baked wheat roti’s’, poppy seed, jaggery, hurakadle (daria), and served with ghee. It is a must sweet on the occasion of marriages .
Pickles are usually raw seasoned vegetables and sea food, but there are cooked varieties as well called Bisi Uppinakayi (hot pickle). The seasoning varies from plain salt to spices like green chilli, red chilli powder, black pepper, whole and powdered mustard seeds, coriander seeds, etc. They significantly differ from North Indian pickles or achar in that considerably less oil is usually used in the pickles; salt is the main preservative.
- Mavinkayi – Raw green mango
- Midi Mavinkaayi – Immature raw mangoes, usually used whole
- Nimbekayi – Whole and sliced lemon and lime
- Gaja Nimbekayi – A larger variety of lemon, resembling a grape fruit
- Bettada Nellikayi
- Heralikayi – a green citrus fruit, only the peel is used in the pickle.
- Hagalakayi – bitter gourd
- Prawn, shrimp and crab, especially in coastal areas
- Bonda or Bajji – deep fried vegetables (and sometimes chicken and seafood) in batter
- Vadey – Ambode, Sabbakki vadey, Bele vadey etc.
- Nuchchina Unde
- Khaara Mandakki – Puffed rice with Hot Boondi and Khara
- Aloo Bonda
- baaLaka – deep fried vegetable and fruit chips or wafers. The vegetables are usually dried and seasoned with spices, and even butter milk. Common candidates are potato, sweet potato, yam, cassava, ripe jack fruit, banana, plantain, chilli, bitter gourd, varieties of suitable green bean pods (usually gori kaayi/chaLLe kaayi), etc.