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Here is a list of a few yummy vegetarian dishes of Malnad cuisine that you should not miss.
I am just back from a trip to northern Karnataka, often referred to as the famous Malnad. The region is breathtaking and I cannot stop raving about the beauty and geographical diversity it offers from mountains to rocky hills to waterfalls, river shores, wild life, coffee plantation, historical sites, temples, beaches – all the way, rich in heritage and yes coming to the main point – rich in food of course!
We stayed in homestays throughout our trip and marvelled at the charming hospitality we received. Needless to say, we were thoroughly pampered with amazing Malnad spread, which was nothing short of a feast for every meal! I gained a couple of kilograms what with all I ate, in spite of all the trekking I did at Yana (extremely beautiful village with unusual rock formations).
I quickly take you through some of the typical dishes of this region that I personally enjoyed.
Khotto is idlis with a twist and the variation lies in the way it is steamed. Instead of steaming the batter directly on idli plates, the batter is first poured into jack fruit leaves and then steamed. This imparts a different aroma to the idlis and is famous for breakfast along the coastal regions of Karnataka.
This is another typical item for breakfast and is also called as Indian rice noodles. Nool Puttu can be had with either sweetened coconut milk or spicy gravy. This is a healthy addition to your diet as the process is steaming, like idlis. Try to use banana leaves for steaming, as making it on banana leaves makes it tastier than just idli plates.
I am always surprised to find so many variations in dishes with almost the same basic ingredients, and it is neer dosa this time. Rice and coconut are the main ingredients and the output is a very thin layered yummy dosa. Have it with some spicy coconut chutney and you would not be disappointed.
This gravy tastes sour, sweet, spicy, tangy, and salty and pleases everyone’s taste buds. This is an excellent side dish for your rotis and there are numerous variations in preparing saasive. Once you taste it, you might wonder whether it will taste good with rice or roti or just plain!
If you look at the main ingredients of neer dosa and akki roti, they look almost similar but they are very much diversified in texture and taste. Akki roti is also made from rice flour but with the addition of few spices gets a unique savory taste. Make sure not to knead the dough till it is very dry as that makes the rotis harder, also it is better to consume the rotis immediately after preparation.
How can we end the list without the mention of at least one dessert? Apart from the delightful payasam, this is another one which I enjoyed relishing. This is again a steamed version of sweet and tastes similar to the famous modaks. Don’t forget to add a few pieces of jack fruit if they are in season to make it even tastier. There is also a savory version of the kadubu for those who are not keen on sweets.
Do you enjoy Malnad cuisine? Do share your favorite Malnad dishes with us and I would love to cover those in my next Malnad rendezvous!
Image source: coconut and chutney by Shutterstock.