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Popular Karnataka Dishes

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Karnataka’s cuisine includes a wide range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes that reflect influences from the neighboring regions and communities. It is characterized by distinct textures, flavours and taste.  The state’s vast culinary repertoire encompasses the earthy and unique flavours of North Karnataka, traditional feast of South Karnataka, spicy dishes of the coastal region (Mangalore) and Kodava cuisines. The other main parts of Karnataka’s cuisines are Udipi, Malnadu, Kodagu, Mangalorean and Navayath cuisines. Karnataka is a wonderful state traditional & rich culinary heritage. Regional food habits broadly differ depending on locally available ingredients; the result is a richly varied spread.

The cuisine of North Karnataka is primarily found in the northern districts of Karnataka which include Dharwad, Hubli, Bijapur, Gulbarga, Belgaum, Bidar, Yadgir, Bagalkot, Raichur, Davangere, Gadag, Haveri, Koppal and western and northern areas of Bellary. North Karnataka provides large choices for food and recipes like Jolada roti, Thaliipeet,  Bhatkali Chicken Biryani, etc.

A simple and typical vegetarian north Karnataka meal consists of; Rotti or Bhakri, Indian thin flatbread often made from jowar flour - millets (jowar ki roti), bajra flour (bajre ki roti) or wheat flour. They are mainly served with a variety of chutneys or spicy curries. Some of the popular spicy curries are Badane Kaayi, Kosambari, Enne kathirikai, Mosaru (raita), Anna (rice), Saaru (tangy soup made with pepper, cumin, coriander seeds, hing, tomatoes or tamarind), Jhunka or Pitla (spicy masala cake made from chana dal powder). Some of the most popular and lip-smacking sweets of North Karnataka are Dharwad peda, Gokak khardantu, Belgaum khunda, shenga holige and yellu holige, besides the local hoornada holige.

South Karnataka or the old Mysore and other places like Kolara, Bengaluru, Mysore, Tumakooru, Mandya, Haasana, Chamarajanagara, Ragi and rice are the most important staple grains. A traditional regular mels consists of Ragi mudde or steamed dumpling made from ragi flour and served with saaru (stew), rice and yogurt. Optional accompaniments include Kosambari, a salad and various palyas (fried, boiled or sautéed vegetables) and assorted pickles. The cuisine from southern Karnataka is also famous for its typical dishes like the Bisi bele bath, Jolada rotti, Chapati, Ragi rotti, Akki rotti, Saaru, Huli, Vangi Bath, Khara Bath, Kesari Bath, Devanagere Benne Dosa, Ragi mudde and Uppittu. Masala Dosa is quite famous and traces its origin to Udupi cuisine. Plain and Rave Idli, Mysore Masala Dosa and Maddur Vade are popularly known as snack or tiffin items.

Mangalorean cuisine is generally spicy and rice based. Fruits are an integral part of the Mangalorean menu. Fresh coconut and chillies are important ingredients used in this cuisine. Rice here is eaten in many forms like red grain rice, sannas (idli fluffed with toddy or yeast), pancakes, rice rotis, kori roti (a dry, crisp, almost wafer-thin rice roti which is served with chicken curry as a delicacy), and neer dosa. Patrode, a special dish prepared by steaming stuffed colocasia leaves, is a delicacy not to be missed. Akki rotti, or rice rotti, is a favourite not only in Mangalore but also in Malnad and Kodagu. The cuisine of Kodava is quite different from other cuisines of Karnataka. The most popular dishes are Pandi curry (pork curry) and Kadumbuttu (rice dumplings). Apart from these, the Koli curry (chicken curry), Nool puttu (rice noodles), Votti (rice roti), and Bembla curry (bamboo shoot curry) are also worth tasting.

Malnad cuisine is blend of Coorgi and Mangalorean fare. Popular dishes include the midigayi pickle (small raw mango), sandige, avalakki (beaten rice), and talipittu (akki rotti made of rice flour). The cuisine of Udupi is strictly vegetarian, devoid of onions and garlic. Sambar, Rasam, Adyes (dumplings), Ajadinas (dry curries), and chutneys are specialties of Udupi's cuisine. Some of the major ingredients used here are gourds, coconut, jackfruit, colocasia leaves, raw green bananas, mango pickle and red chillies.

Like every cuisine, Karnataka cuisine also has a wide range of desserts. Some of the popular sweet dishes of Karnataka are Chiroti (a light flaky pastry sprinkled with granulated sugar and soaked in almond milk), Mysore pak, Obbattu or Holige (a flat, thin wafer-like chappati filled with a mixture of jaggery, coconut or copra and sugar and fried gently on a skillet), Dharwad peda, Gokak, Kardantu and Shavige payasa (made of milk, vermicelli, sugar and cardamom seed), Gasgase Payasa (made of poppy seeds, coconut and jaggery), Seeme Akki payasa (prepared with Tapioca, sugar and milk) and many more.

The traditional culinary fare of Karnataka is a sumptuous spread that includes several essential menu items that include salads like kosambri, palyas (warm vegetable salads made out of parboiled vegetables chopped fine and tossed with desiccated coconut, green chillies, curry leaves and mustard seasoning), gojju (a vegetable cooked in tamarind juice with chilli powder in it), tovve (cooked dal without too much seasoning), huli (a thick broth of lentils and vegetables cooked together with ground coconut, spices, tamarind and chilli powder) and pappad. A complete range of rice-based dishes, including chitranna (rice with lime juice, green chilli, turmeric powder sprinkled with fried groundnuts and coriander leaves), vangibhath (spiced rice with eggplant), and puliyogare (rice flavoured with tamarind juice and spiced with groundnuts) form an integral part of the traditional repertoire. The most distinctive Karnataka dish, however, is the celebrated Bisi bele bhath, a unique combination of rice, dal, tamarind, chilli powder and a dash of cinnamon. In rural areas, ragi (steam-cooked finger millet rolled into large balls) served either with mutton curry or soppina saaru forms the staple diet.

This is truly a very large list of dishes and to talk about the only popular dishes of Karnataka would include:

Breakfast dishes:

Idli/ Soft steamed Idlis Udipi cuisine is prominent for its vegetarian dishes. Idli is one of the all time favourite breakfast. Idli is commonly known as Kadubu (steaming the idli batter in steal cups) or Moode (steaming idlis in cups made by rolling mundage leaf) in most Udupi households. Steaming Idli batter in idli stands is not regular practice in Udipi cuisine. 

Rice dishes:

Bisi bele bhath A classic dish from the state of Karnataka made to a combination of rice, tur dal (lentil), assorted vegetables and freshly ground spices all mixed and cooked together. It is a very healthy and nutritious dish. Spices like nutmeg and asafoetida, curry leaves and tamarind pulp used in its preparation contribute to the unique flavor and taste of this dish. 

Chitranna – Lemon Rice  is a favourite dish of Karnataka especially Bangalore, Mysore, Tumkur regions. One of the easy recipe yet liked by many people!

Puliyogare or Tamarind Rice also popularly known as Pulihora or Puliyodhara or Chitrannam is a common rice preparation in South Indian cuisine The tamarind rice or pulihora tastes sour, spicy hot and salty all at the same time. 

Khara Pongal in Udupi Style Khara Pongal or Huggi is a special dish prepared during the Dhanur Maasa in Sri Krishna Matt in Udupi. All the religious ceremonies held during this period will have the Khara Pongal (Huggi) prepared in the feast. This dish is excellent semi-solid rice lentil gruel and often served with a tangy and spicy tamarind

gojjuSouth Indian Dish Karnataka state


Ragi Mudde Akki Rotti Akki roti with Ellu pajji is a classic breakfast dish among Kodava food recipes. Rice roti is served with roasted sesame seeds chutney. 

Vegetable Curry:

Raw Banana Palya is a simple south Indian curry recipe which is best enjoyed with plain rice or chapatis.The raw bananas are stir fried with blended coconut masala andwhich is seasoned with mustard seeds, curry leaves and red chillies. 

Bitter Gourd Gojju(Karela sweet and sour curry) This dish is made with bitter gourd, tamarind, jaggery and rasam powder which gives a nice taste to the vegetable and doesn't taste very bitter.

Mysore Rasam  is a type of thin and spicy lentil soup which is an integral part of any South Indian meal but is different from the popular sambhar.There are many version of rasam, some are made with lentil and some are made without using any lentil ,taste almost like a spicy tomato or vegetable broth. 

Kosambari  is a salad speciality of karnataka, made with green gram dal and cucumber. This is the variation for people who never liked radish.


Mysore Pak  is a sweet dish from the south Indian cuisine, usually served as dessert. It is made of generous amounts of ghee (clarified butter), sugar and gram flour. 

Rava Kesari/ Kesari Bhath or Sooji Ka Halwa  is a simple yet delicious and yummy sweetened semoline fried in ghee and garnished with nuts. Its also popularly known as Kesari bath in the south region and Sheera in the northern region of India.

Ragi Malt – Ambali  (Finger millet or Ragulu) malt is delicious and healthy rejuvenating Indian beverage popularly called as Ragi malt or ragi ganji. 

Do not miss trying some of these very authentic and traditional dishes from the state of Karnataka. If you are actually looking for some of your favourite Karnataka recipes and not sure where to find, then jus t click on:

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