A food map of Karnataka: The best things to eat in the state
Say Mysore and you think of pak, bonda and masala dosa. Move to the western coast of Karnataka, and Mangalore lends its name to a unique ‘bun’ and also a bajji. The northern parts of the state produce some deliciously rich sweets like Dharwad’s pedha and there’s the chewy karadantu of Gokak. We take you on a culinary trip across the state:
Mysore Masala Dose
The city of palaces lends itself to more than a few foods. There is the heart-stoppingly rich Mysore Pak and also Mysore Bonda, another take on the medu vada.
Mysore Masala Dose is unique because of a spicy red chutney that is spread on the dosa before the potato masala is slapped on.
Well, they aren’t buns at all. In fact, the Mangalore Bun is closer to a puri because it’s deep-fried and puffs up all golden and crisp. Ripe bananas go into the dough and add a slight sweetness to these tasty anytime snacks that hail from Mangalore.
The small town of Bangarpet in Kolar district is known for its chaat. The most popular among these is the panipuri, pretty much like the golgappas you get elsewhere, still different. The filling contains green peas and shredded carrots. What’s more, the pani is a clear liquid, but still packs a punch.
Maddur and its famous vade almost always go together. Most people who travel from Bangalore to Mysore will buy these crisp delights en route. Made up of a mixture of flours, spiked with onions and chillies, Maddur Vade is a scrumptious thing.
Kundapur Neer Dose
These thin, crepe-like dosas are a speciality of the region. Neer dose is made from a batter of rice and coconut ground together and cooked on a griddle. The trick is to keep them super white and soft. These dosas pair up nicely with spicy chicken curry which Kundapur is also famous for.
Belgaum or Belagavi to give it its current name is one of the state’s biggest sugarcane producers and is known as the sugar bowl of the region. Its most famous sweet is Kunda, made from milk, khova and sugar. Apparently, it is Rajasthani families who moved to the region who brought this sweet-making tradition with them. You can buy excellent Kunda in shops such as Jakku Marwadi Mithaiwala.
Karadantu, which translates to ‘fried edible gum’ is unique to the Gokak region. This sweet concoction is made from edible gum to which jaggery and dry fruits are added. It can keep you chewing away for hours.
Dharwad’s famous sweet now has a Geographical Indication (GI) tag. It is believed to have been introduced to Dharwad by a Thakur family who came here from UP. This milk sweet with its caramel tones is a must-buy when you visit Dharwad.
Bijapur Jolada Rotti
The jolada rotti, made from jowar flour, is a staple in these parts. These delicious rottis are eaten with the signature dishes of the region such as stuffed brinjals and an array of spicy pudis (powders) and chutneys.
Mandya Mudde with Upsaaru
This is a rustic dish from Mandya district and one that keeps the farmers nourished. It comprises ragi mudde served with a soup-like saaru, which is the extract of greens and dal cooked together. What’s more, it’s packed with nutrition.
Bellary Mandakki with Mirchi Bajji
This is a favourite snack in the North Karnataka town of Bellary. Puffed rice is tossed with spices to make a quick dish that’s often eaten with chilli bajji.
Davangere Benne Dose
This is not a dosa for the faint-hearted. The Benne Dose of Davangere is cooked with lashings of white butter. It can also be frequently served with a helping of butter on the side.
Udupi Hayagreeva Maddi
This is a simple, yet delectable sweet from the temple town of Udupi. The origins of the sweet – made from dal, jaggery and coconut — are also wrapped in a temple story. Apparently, a goldsmith was trying to craft a Ganesha head, but kept ending up with a horse. Disgusted, he threw it away. Then, Lord Hayagreeva, the horse-faced incarnation of Vishnu appeared in Vadiraj Swami’s dream and asked him to pick up the discarded figure and worship it. The Hayagreeva Maddi was made and served to the idol goes the story.
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