Malnadu Cuisine: 14 Popular Malnad Dishes to Try in Chikmagalur (2023)
Chikmagalur, a beautiful hill station edged in the lap of Karnataka, not only proffers some amazing scenic views but also some rich and sumptuous cuisines. Malnadu is one of the oldest cuisines in Chikmagalur and is a local delicacy. One always thought that the 3 famous cuisines in Karnataka were Mangalorean, Uttara Karnataka, and Kodagu. But the Malnadu cuisine is also one of the best cuisines of Karnataka which makes Karnataka a good competitor against its rivals like Mangalore and Coorg. The region got its name “Malenadu “from the heavy rains which means “ the land of the rains” in Kannada. The heavy rain facilitates lush greenery and helps to produce rich and interesting ingredients.
Malnadu Cuisine: Popular Malnad Dishes to Try in Chikmagalur
Malnad Oota (meal) consists of a variety of vegetarian dishes which will not only quench your thirst for hunger but would also fill your soul with delight. There are various varieties of Malnad cuisines all over Karnataka, though some ingredients differ from one region to another. The best Malnadu Cuisine in Chikmagalur are as follows:
1. Pathrode: This delicious and healthy snack, also eaten as breakfast is one of the most popular Malnad cuisines. Also known by the names Patra Vadi or Patra Vada, Pathrode is made from Colocasia leaves also known as Pathrode leaves and rice. Initially, the colocasia leaves are filled with coconut paste and spicy and tangy rice. Then, the leaves are rolled and cut into pieces. It shows the layers of the inner filling beautifully. Then the rolls are placed upon each other and steam cooked and finally your appetizing cuisine is ready. It can be served with butter or cut into pieces and fried in coconut oil.
2. Akki Roti: Akki Roti is one of the most popular Malnad dish in Chikmagalur region. It is prepared using different ingredients in different places. Nevertheless, it is the most popular dish amongst the tourists as well. The ingredients are similar to that of dosa, but the texture and the taste are what sets them apart. Rice flour, green chilli, onion and a lot of curry leaves are used in its making. The curry leaves may be replaced by coriander as well.
3. Filter Coffee: The location of the place is on the eastern and western slopes of the Western Ghats, with umpteen coffee plantations, proffers the best filter coffee of South India. The unique process of making the coffee is what makes it legendary.
4. Mango Rasam (Appe kayi saaru): Mango Rasam also called by the names Appe kayi saaru or mavina kaye saaru is a tangy beverage which unlike any other rasam is served as a soup between the meals. It is not served even with rice. Prepared from wild mangoes, mango rasam is quite tangy and spicy and aids in digestion as well. The strong mango flavour, along with a tinge of asafoetida gives a refreshing flavour to the dish. Mango rasam is prepared on social occasions as well.
5. Jackfruit Fitters (Halasina Hannina Mulka): Prepared using jackfruit, rice, jaggery and salt, Jackfruit fritters is a sweet dish, a Malnad Desert, which tastes out of the world. In Chikmagalur, it is eminent by the name Mulka and looks like small balls fried in a pan.
6. Thambuli and hashuvale: Thimare or Ondelaga Thambli, a Malnad dish prepared using coconut, curd and Brahmi leaves is served as a first course in a multi-course meal. It is quite refreshing and does not involve any cooking or frying. Thambuli or raita is very simple to prepare. Raw Brahmi also is known as Thimare, or Ondelaga leaves are crushed with coconut and mixed in the curd, which gives a strong and refreshing flavour to the curd. The dish is ready in minutes to be served!
7. Jackfruit Idli (Halasina Hannina Kadubu): As known by its name, the hero of the Malnadu Cuisine is the seasonal fruit, jackfruit which adds a typical aroma and flavour to the dish. To add the cherry on top of the cake, the idlis are steamed in banana leaves which makes the dish more sumptuous and flavoursome. Traditionally, over ripe jackfruit is used in its making, and they are served with dripping ghee on top. They will indeed make your salivary glands to rush!
8. Jackfruit Papad ( Halasina kayi papad): Also named as Halasina kayi Happala in Chikmagalur, the Jackfruit papad is a succulent Malnadu dish which is prepared using manual labour like the jackfruit is steam cooked then mashed. The mixture is then shaped and pressed in the form of a chapati and then sun-dried. The dried papad can be stored and fried in refined oil whenever needed.
9. Hesarubele Carrot Kosambari or Moong Dal Carrot Salad: This piquant yet straightforward dish is very easy to be prepared. The ingredients used are the raw and soaked moong dal and grated carrot. These types of dishes are called “kosambari” in Karnataka. It is usually on the menu and is compulsory on various occasions. The quick preparation augments the menu as well.
10. Pumpkin Idli or Cheenikayi Kadubu: Prepared on the first day of the Diwali festival, Pumpkin Idli or Cheenikayi Kadubu is a special Malnad cuisine and is quite mouth-watering. Prepared from grated pumpkin and idli rava, they require no fermentation and cook quickly. The 2 versions of these idlis include a sweet version and a spicy version. The sweet version uses grated pumpkin, idli Rava, jaggery and coconut which is steamed into idlis. The spicy version includes grated pumpkin, idli rava, red chilli, ginger, coriander leaves and coconut. This mixture is steamed into idlis.
11. Huli Avalakki: Huli Avalakki or Gojjavalakki is a scrumptious breakfast Malnad cuisine. The recipe has different variants, but the basic recipe involves boiling the water and adding salt, tamarind, jaggery which is then mixed by gram dal and urad dal powder and roasted red chilli. This flavoursome and succulent dish explodes with a variety of sensory flavours in your mouth.
12. Tender Mango pickle (Mavin Midi Uppinakayi): Tender mango pickle is also known as Mavin Midi Uppinakayi because Mavin midi stands for tender mango and Uppinakayi stands for pickle in Kannada. The 3 most prominent Malnad ingredients of this luscious dish include tender mangoes, red and mustard seeds. The other optional ingredients include asafoetida, black pepper, turmeric and other optional ingredients.
13. Kai Obattu or Holige: This appetizing and finger-licking dish is actually a coconut stuffed flatbread. It is famous in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Every traditional cuisine begins with relishing this dish. It provides an ethereal experience to the guests and is served with butter or ghee.
14. Suggi Kaddubu / Benne Kaddubu/Suggi/ Butter Dumplings: These piquant dumplings are prepared with butter, rice and coconut. Small balls or dumplings are formed from this paste which are served with vegetable or chicken curry.
Thus, Malenadu can be divided as southern and northern on the basis of the region. Food is an integral part of our lives, and it aids in making up the mood of the people. The word Malenadu means the land of mountain ranges. Hence, the variety of fruits and vegetables used in Malnadu cuisines is umpteen due to the luxuriant and rich forests of the Western Ghats. Steaming is the most used method in Malenadu dishes, and the ingredients like colocasia leaves, jackfruit, rice and tender bamboo leaves, etc. are used. The use of fresh ingredients and the simple dishes make for the best Malnadu Cuisine in Chikmagalur. The purpose of the food is not only to fill the stomach but also to fill the soul. The Malnadu cuisine fills the soul with warmth. It gets inspired by the culture and tradition of the place. So, you should try most of the piquant dishes when you visit the place!