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    Our state has a wealth of lesser known options on the gastronomic front that celebrate local produce and cooking techniques beyond Mysore pak and masala dosa. We take you on a culinary trip from Bidar to Kodagu to discover more. 

    Coorg
    Homemade wines | Kulae puttu
    Kodagu is a food lover’s paradise with its pandi curry and koli barthad. But a trip to the Scotland of India, and you will be surprised by the varieties of unusual homemade wines on offer at the numerous bakeries that dot the tourist district. Choose from beetel leaf and nut, apricot, orange and gooseberry wines. Those with a sweet tooth and a fondness for jackfruit will love kulae puttu. Made from jackfruit pulp, rice flour and coconut, the aromatic cakes are wrapped in a leaf and steamed. They have a banana version as well.

    Gulbarga
    Jolada rotti | Shenga hindi | Stuffed brinjal
    A staple of the northern belt, jolada rotti is made from jowar, which is readily available here. The light flat breads go well with a host of palyas (cooked vegetables) and chutneys but best with shengai hindi (peanut chutney) made with garlic. Brinjal, stuffed with roasted peanuts, chickpeas, daals, coriander seeds, fresh coriander leaves, red chillies and coconut is also a delicacy here, traditionally eaten with the rottis. Try Radha’s Kitchen in Kandura Mall for a taste of North Karnataka.

    food2aBidar
    Shengai obattu
    Replacing the yellow daal in this version are groundnuts or shengai. Easyto find in all bakeries, like Jai Bhavani Sweet House and Sujal Sweet House, the filling is made of roasted and ground peanuts blended with jaggery and cardamom. The groundnuts give the dish a peanut-butter flavour with an aromatic hint of cardamom.

    Udupi
    Pathrado | Batata song
    A dish that is also a specialty in places like Gujarat and Maharashtra, pathrado or pathrode is made from a host of daals and spices, ground with tamarind and sometimes jaggery for a sweetish taste. The paste is smeared on tender Colocasia leaves which are then rolled and steamed. A best bet would be Diana Sweets in Diana Circle Road. The batata song is another sure favourite of this region.
    Boiled potatoes are cooked in a tomato-onion gravy for a sour and spicy taste. This one is best eaten with light neer dosas.

    Bhatkal
    Bhatkali biriyani
    Head to Kwality Hotel or Pai’s Kitchen in Bhatkal for this delicacy that is virtually non-existent outside the coastal district. Layers of basmati rice, a sprinkling of aromatic spices and chunks of tender chicken combine to make this low calorie dish so popular. The best part — no oil or ghee is added to the rice.

    Tumkur
    Thatte idli
    There’s nothing like tucking into a plate of thatte idli on a rainy Sunday morning. Famous in the Tumkur area, the idlis are thus named as they are made in molds that are flat, shallow and bigger than regular molds, and are traditionally served with an overflowing plate of sambar. Try Kamat Upachar or Prithvi Veg Restaurant for an authentic experience.

    Chikkamagaluru
    Gojju avalakki | Sorekai mavinahannu halwa food5b
    Gojju avalakki mixes tangy, sweet and spicy flavours in this blend of coarsely ground rice flakes, tossed in tamarind juice, rasam and sambar powder, roasted peanuts, urad and chana daals and curry leaves. Another must try is their unusual bottle gourd and mango halwa that works magically well.

    Mandya
    Maddur vada
    Who can come away from Maddur without snacking on their crisply sinful vadas? Diced onion, green chillies, coriander leaves,
    coconut shavings and curry leaves blend with semolina, rice flour, butter, oil and water to create these tasty discs, best accompanied with a thick coconut chutney.

    Shimoga | Sandige, Thotadevvu
    Under the Malnad umbrella, Shimoga is known for its sandige — crunchy crisps made mainly from ground cooked rice, green chillies and salt and other variations. The Havyakas, the local tribes of Shimoga, are known for thotadevvu, a sweet dish prepared with sugarcane juice and rice. Visit Adigas Bakery on Savalanga Road or Surya Sweet and Bakery near Basaveshwara Temple to sample these treats.

    Ankola
    Kadgi phodi | Bangda amshe tikshe
    Raw jackfruit is pressure cooked, then rolled in rawa, besan and spices and shallow fried to create this unusual delicacy which makes for a great snack on a gloomy evening. Fish lovers tuck into bangda amshe tikshe, a mackeral fish curry
    that is fiery hot and tangy.

    food15bMysore
    Chiroti
    Stop at Shree Mahalakshmi Sweets on Devaraj Mohalla for some chiroti. A flaky pastry served at weddings, this one is a Mysorean dessert staple. The roti is made from maida, butter, ghee and rice flour. Powdered sugar is sprinkled on it only on serving and is followed by a helping of warm badam milk.

    DavanAgere
    Benne dosa
    The district is synonymous with the delectable butter dosa. Smaller than regular dosas,Q this version is made with generous dollops of butter instead of oil and is also served with a pat of it on the golden brown top of the crispy rice pancakes. A must visit would be the Sri Guru Kottureswara Butter Dosa Hotel where variations include open benne dosa, benne masala dosa and benne khali dosa.

    Kumta
    Patholi | Sasame
    Coconut features heavily in the coastal cuisine of the state and the patholi is no exception. Rice flour with coconut and jaggery is
    wrapped in turmeric leaves and steamed to create this simple, delectable dumpling which can be found in the little bakeries around town. For those who favour an amalgam of sweet, spicy and tangy flavours, sasame is a must try. Made from ripe mango or pineapple, this one is sure to hit all the right taste buds.

    Dharwad
    Pedha
    A trip to Dharwad is not complete without returning with a big box of their famous pedhas, invented by the Thakur family that migrated from Uttar Pradesh. A tightly-guarded recipe for over a century, the method of preparation is not known. Line Bazaar, where the Thakurs’ sweet shop was located, still exists.

    Bangalore
    Chow chow bath food14b
    The city is a melting pot of cuisines with almost everything from the state available in its innumerable restaurants and cafes,
    but Brahmin’s Coffee Bar in Shankarapuram offers arguably the best chow chow bath in the state. The joint has been around for close to half a century and also offers the softest idlis and the most scrumptious vadas for everyone who loves a traditional
    South Indian breakfast.

    Raichur
    Phala
    Meaning fruit, this was invented by the inhabitants of North Karnataka who could not afford real fruits. Extremely appetising, this one is meant to be eaten hot and is characterised by wheat balls floating in a steaming bowl of cooked tur daal with cumin, curry leaves,
    jaggery and curry powder.

    food4dTumkur
    Thatte idli
    There’s nothing like tucking into a plate of thatte idli on a rainy Sunday morning. Famous in the Tumkur area, the idlis are thus named as they are made in molds that are flat, shallow and bigger than regular molds, and are traditionally served with an overflowing plate of sambar. Try Kamat Upachar or Prithvi Veg Restaurant for an authentic experience.

    By Rashmi Rajagopal

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