The IT City – Bengaluru hosts an amalgamation of food lovers from all over the world and there are ample multi-cuisine restaurants catering to the demand of gourmet meals. You name the cuisine or the dish and some of the best places to eat in Bangalore will present it to your plate. But despite being booming fusion food culture the identity of the city is still defined by the traditional cuisine food served by the handful of the local eateries in the town. These humble eat out places till date take pride in serving the conventional breakfast items in an uncomplicated manner. And post breaking bread in these Brahmin coffee houses one experiences that soul satiating kind of feeling, the food is as fresh as the morning glory and far from the plastic makeover.
This year I got into an exciting food project called as #thekitchendivas, an endeavor to create a collection of Traditional Indian Cuisines Recipes in collaboration with a few other food bloggers who share the same passion for cooking. The project rolled on in the month of January with an array of recipes from the Karnataka Cuisine. While I am away from the Southern region and miss these delectable delights, here are five of my favorite dishes from the:
1) Rava Idli (Steamed Semolina Dumplings) Rava Idli is a soft pillowy steamed semolina dumpling seasoned with mustard seeds, curry leaves, urad dal and cashew. There are many theories about the curation of Rava Idli but all of them are intertwined in Karnataka only, so it could be said that Rava Idli have it’s roots in the state. Many food historians condemn traces of Rava Idli in the pre modernization era of Karnataka and then there are stories to substantiate the household presence of Rava Idli in the last few decades only. Today the Rava Idli has become a staple dish in the cuisine of the state and hence I could not chalk it out from my list while thinking of Karnataka nouvelle cuisine.
2) Khara Bhath (Vegetable Rava Upma) Khara Bhath … the savory semolina porridge is the staple breakfast and teatime delicacy of Karnataka also known as Rava Upma in other Southern regions. Semolina is roasted and cooked with colorful vegetables to get the thick flowing porridge, icing on the cake is conventional tempering of mustard seeds, curry leaves, Bengal gram and urad dal in mound of ghee (clarified butter). The pleasant, bright and sunny mornings are reveled with a steaming bowl of khara bhath and a cup of home brewed filter kappi on the side, and my first introduction with this dish was much similar in one of the local brahmin cafes.
3) Maddur Vada (Deep Fried Savoury Fritters) Maddur Vada is deep-fried savory fritters made with a combination of different flours, semolina and lots of onions. Maddur Vada is one of the well-liked dishes across South India, it’s origin is claimed to be in the small town of Karnataka called Maddur in Mandya district, this town is located somewhere between Bangalore and Mysore the two most fundamental cities of the state.
4) Ragi Rotti (Finger millet flatbread) with Tomato Chutney Ragi Rotti is a simple and healthy traditional flatbread of Karnataka, finger millet flour is mixed with variety of colorful seasonal vegetables and formed into dough to make delicious bread served with variety of condiments on the side, I settled for uncomplicated Tomato Chutney tempered with mustard seeds swimming in the ghee with some aromatic curry leaves. Ragi is one of the staple crops of Karnataka from the ancient era hence that explains the abundance of finger millet use in the cuisine of the state. Some of the conventional dishes of Karnataka has Ragi as the key ingredient like Ragi Dosa, Ragi Mudde, Ragi Idli and Ragi Ambli.
5)Pineapple Kesari Baath is also addressed as Pineapple Rava Kesari across Karnataka, which could be found on the menu of every local eatery in the state. The dish shares homogeneous nature with popular North Indian delight Sooji Ka Halwa (Semolina Pudding) both have semolina as a key ingredient the only differentiating factor is Pineapple, Kesari Baath is cooked in flavorsome pineapple syrup. The pineapple syrup is slightly thick yellow liquid, which consists of scented saffron, garden fresh pineapple cubes and juice simmered over low heat to get the sweet smelling fruit compote. While the liquid is bubbling in pot semolina is roasted in dollops of ghee with large viridescent cardamom pods from the valley of Coorg, roasting semolina is task of patience but the changing colors of semolina in the process are true virtual treat and rare sight, where in actuality you can see your hard work showing up fruitful colors.