Sunday, September 23, 2007

Karnataka Meals

Kedareshwara temple in Balligavi, Karnataka, India.

Karnataka is one of the four southern states of India. With an antiquity that dates to the paleolithic, Karnataka has also been home to some of the most powerful empires of ancient India. Great philosophers and musical bards patronized by these empires launched socio-religious and literary movements whose ennobling effects have been felt far and wide. Karnataka has contributed significantly to both forms of Indian classical music, the Carnatic and Hindustani traditions.

The diverse linguistic and religious ethnicities that are native to Karnataka combined with their long histories have contributed immensely to the varied cultural heritage of the state.

I have visited some of the most beautiful temples in Karnataka. They are rich in history and architecture.

Hampi is a small village in Karnataka, famous for ancient temples and its architecture.

Amritheswara temple in Amrithapura, Chikkamagaluru district, Karnataka state, India

This is the famous Chamundi Temple at Mysore, Karnataka. This temple is located on top of a hill and the whole town of Mysore can be seen from here. This is one of my frequently visited places.

This is Nandi at Chamundi temple.

(Picture source: Wiki) click on the image to see the temples closer.
Temple at Nanjangoodu, Mysore. This is a famous Lord Shiva temple. My Father's ancestors worshiped this God. So I used to visit this temple a lot during my childhood.
Cuisine of Karnataka comprises diverse vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisines.
Although the ingredients differ from one region to another, a typical Kannadiga Oota (Kannadiga meal) includes the following dishes in the order specified and is served on a banana leaf: Kosambari, Pickle, Palya, Gojju, Raita, Dessert (Yes, it is a tradition to start your meal with a dessert - Paaysa), Thovve, Chitranna, Rice and Ghee.

This is the first time I am trying my hands on Karnataka cuisine. When I tasted them, to my surprise I couldn't believe that the sambar and Gojju tasted like the way my grandmother used to make. I had tried all means to bring out the taste from my grandmother's kitchen till now but like magic all the secret ingredients was hiding inside Karnataka cuisine:)
It has now become a must save recipe.

Udupi Sambar

My friend and fellow blogger Padma has made this sambar famous around the blogsphere. Udupi sambar gave me a new meaning to the word sambar. It is a thicker version of sambar and the taste keeps tingling in my taste buds.

1 cup Red gram dal/toovar dal
2 cups mixed vegetables of your choice (Drumsticks/Eggplant/Yellow pumpkin, etc diced or cubed)
6-8 whole shallots/madras sambhar onions, peeled
1 plum tomato, cut into large chunks
3-4 green chillies, cut lengthwise-slit
2 tsps tamarind pulp (I used the readymade one here)
1 sprig of curry leaves (optional)
2 tsps of cilantro/coriander chopped¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp jaggery, grated
salt as per taste 

For Tempering

½ tsp mustard seeds2-3 dry red chillies
 ¼ tsp asafoetida2 tsps cooking oil

Dry roast and grind to fine paste:

2 tsps of black gram dal/urad dal
2 tsps of cumin seeds
3 tsps of coriander seeds
½ tsp of fenugreek seeds
4 dry red chillies
¾ cup fresh or frozen (thawed) grated coconut
water as required to make smooth paste


Cook the dal with a pinch of turmeric and a tsp of oil in a cooker upto 3-4 whistles, mash it and while its still hot/warm and keep as side.
Meanwhile heat oil in a deep heavy bottom pan to make the sambhar.
Add asafoetida followed by shallots/madras sambhar onions, green chillies and half of the curry leaves off the sprig, and sauté until the onions become transparent and start to leave the juices.
Add the vegetables of your choice, tomato pieces and turmeric powder, if not adding any vegetables then add more shallots/madras sambhar onions.
Cook covered until the vegetables are cooked with enough water to cover the veggies, take care to retain their shape/texture.
Once thoroughly cooked add the tamarind pulp and cook covered until the raw smell of the tamarind goes off, approx 5 mins.
Add the ground paste, jaggery and salt to taste. Sambhar should not be too thick nor too watery, so add more water if necessary. You will notice that your kitchen is filled with nice aroma of this sambhar.
Once the mixture comes to a boil add the cooked dal, mix well and check for salt.
When the sambhar just begins to boil, switch off the stove. Make sure you don’t boil the sambhar after adding the dal coz the dal will lose its soft texture.
For tempering
Heat a tsp of oil in a small kadai, add the mustard seeds, when it starts to splutter add the dry red chillies, curry leaves and asafoetida. fry for a min and pour over the sambhar.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with idlis, dosas, or plain rice.

Hagalakai Gojju(Bittermelon gojju)
This is a tamarind based hot, sweet and sour curry.


1 cup chopped Bitter melon(Bitter gourd)
1/2 cup chopped red onions
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
3 tbsp Grated Coconut
1 cup tamarind water
2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
2 tsp Brown Sugar or Jaggery
3 tbsp fresh chopped Cilantro

For Masala Powder

2 tsp Coriander Seeds
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1/2 tsp Fenugreek
1 tsp Sesame Seeds
1 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
2 tsp Urad dal
2 tsp Channa Dal
2 tsp Moong dal
2 tbsp roasted chana dal (roasted gram dal)
3 tbsp Grated Coconut
4-5 dry red chillies

For seasoning

1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
3 tbsp Vegetable Oil

In a deep bottomed pan add the seasoning ingredients and let them splutter. To this add onions and fry until translucent.
Add the chopped bitter gourd, turmeric and salt and saute well on medium flame for 5 minutes. Add tamarind water and let it cook.
Meanwhile roast the masala powder ingredients until they turn slilghtly brown. Also dry roast the roasted chana dal separately along with coconut until aroma raises and grind them all together into smooth paste by adding little water.

Add this paste to the bitter gourd/tamarind mixture. Fold them all together and bring to boil on medium low heat. Add Jaggery or brown sugar and mix well. Garnish with cilantro and remove from heat. If the gojju becomes thick, add very little water.
I couldn't believe my eyes, the gojju brought back the taste of my grandmother's kitchen. The credit goes to RCI.

Polodya (Plantain-buttermilk curry)
This is a buttermilk based curry, with a blend of tamarind and coconut too.


1 cup Raw Banana/Plantain(peeled and chopped into medium sized chunks)
2 cups Water
1/2 tbsp Tamarind Paste
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/2 tsp Jaggery/Brown Sugar(optional, I did not use)
1 1/2 cup Buttermilk

For Masala

1 tsp Channa Dal
1/2 tsp raw uncooked Rice
2 tsp Coriander Seeds
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 1/2 tsp Oil
2 Green Chilli
1/2 cup Fresh Grated Coconut
1/2 cup Water

For Seasoning

1 tsp Urad Dal
1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 Red Chilli
1 1/2 tsp Oil
1/8 Asafoedita


To a medium sized pan add banana chunks and water. Also Add salt, Tamarind paste and jaggery. Cover the pan and cook on medium low flame until the plantain chunks are well cooked.

In the meantime soak channa dal and uncooked rice in water for at least 15-20 minutes. Put coriander seeds, mustard seeds and oil in a small pan and heat it until the mustard seeds start spluttering. Then grind channa dal, uncooked rice, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, green chillis, and coconut along with water.

Once the plantain chunks are cooked, add the ground masala paste and let the mixture boil once. Remove it from the heat and season it. When it cools down add buttermilk and fold together.
Note:You can use okra or raw jackfruit or cucumber instead of raw plantain.

Hesaru Bele-Akki payasa (moong bean-rice porridge)

This recipe is a famous sweet dish called as Payasa at Kannada Brahmin household.


1 cup Rice
1/2 cup moong dal
1/2 cup jaggery (grated)
3/4 cup grated coconut
1 tsp Cardamom powder
1/4 cup ghee (clarified butter)
1 cup whole milk or 1/2 cup condensed milk or 1 cup evaporated milk
8-10 Cashew nuts
1 tbsp raisins


Fry the moong dal in a pan until light brown. Cook the dal in pressure cooker for 2 whistles.
wash rice and cook separately. To a sauce pan add the milk(I used evaporated milk), crushed cardamom powder, jaggery and bring to boil. I used sugar and jaggery in equal proportion.
Add the moong dal and rice to this and bring to boil. Let the mixture thicken a little. Add grated coconut and leave it on medium low flame.
Separately fry the cashewnuts and Raisins in ghee till golden brown. Garnish this on the payasa. Delicious Hesaru bele-akki payasa is ready.

This is store bought mango pickle. Pickles are a must have on plate at the south Indian household.

This is my contribution to RCI Karnataka hosted by the very talented and friendly Asha.


Unknown said...

Great post. Thank u very much for sharing the beautiful pix of temples.

Namratha said...'ve done it again! Awesome thali and lovely info on the temples, Nandi at chamundi temple so reminded me of home, that's where I come from :) Great entry dear, I should have known something big was on its way!! :)

musical said...

Awesome! I agree, the Udupi sambar recipe is splendid! And the hagalkai gojju, polodya and payasaa look super-delicious! Bookmarked!

Anu said...

Gr8 post, lovely pics, and yummmmmmmmmmy food :)

Raaga said...

well well... I have come to expect this standard of you anyway, so I am not surprised :-)

But this is lovely and I am going to try these recipes out :-)

Finla said...

Wow sharmi upu have been really busy.
Great post and all that information. Well done.

Viji said...

That's lovely spread sharmi. Your every entry looks like festival food. RCI tamil festival is on. Please check out details in my blog. Expecting your contribution with wide variety of food collection. Thanks. Viji

FH said...

Sharmi, you blew mw away with all the Pics of temples, great post and that Thali. I could just sit on the floor and have it all!:))
Nanjangudu temple is famous for "Urulu Seve". Devotees roll on the ground around the temple center.My Thatha used to go there too!:))
Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Hugs.

Richa said...

the Kedareshwar temple looks so beautiful!
i too need to try that sambar! thali looks lovely, slurrrp!!

Padma said...

Nice post Sharmi, and thanks for linking me, indeed my Udipi sambhar became so famous in the blogosphere and I am on cloud 9 hehehee! feels great...

Check my latest post on RCI :)

Swaruchy said...

Neat post Sharmi....All the items look great dear :-)

TBC said...

Wow! You certainly go all out, don't ya? Beautiful spread that has come to be very typicalof you. I tried Padma's sambar too. Sambar will never be the same again for me.
I have bookmarked your plantain-buttermilk curry.Thanks for the recipe.

Laavanya said...

Simply Lovely! Every dish looks so good and am sure would've tasted fabulous. Padma's Udipi Sambar... I must try it next... The Polodya sounds yummy... love the idea of combining buttermilk, tamarind and coconut. Hope to try the gojju too. Thanks Sharmi.

Kumudha said...

Wow! wonderful dishes and beautiful pictures. I want to try the udupi sambar.

Thanks for the great recipes.

Nanditha Prabhu said...

Hope i could come over and have that wonderful thali!
hope you were staying next door:(
i have bookmarked it ! will go thro the details one by one!
hats off to you!

Priyanka said...

Sharmi, thats sucha fabulous spread. I cant stop drooling. Loved ur kesari halwa too. And the banana walnut bread looks just yumm.....

Mansi said...

wow Sharmi!! that's a must-eat thali:) I'm always amazed at your thalis yaar...they look like ambrosia:D

the temple info beats it girl!! I was very small when I visited them, so its great to refresh my memory seeing your pics:)

Rahin said...

another stunning entry for the RCI event , i love the way the banana leaf thali looks, v authentic, the leaf itself is very crisp n beautiful green , whr did u find it ??????

Susan said...

Eat dessert first - works for me!
Sharmi, did you make this splendid spread all in one day? I am more than impressed and very hungry. One dish as luscious as the next. Those temples are exquisite. Thanks for the travelogue.

USHA said...

Hi Sharmi,

Wonderful post....i loved it verymuch..not only with recipes you gave us treat to our knowledge too...what a gr8 many famous temples we got...i know littlebit about Andhra and tamilnadu...but Karnataka i knew only chamundeswari temple good information and amazing recipes...

Chef Jeena said...

Sharmi by the time I got to your porridge recipe my tummy was rumbling a lot! You always have great recipes with lovely photos that make me hungry. :)

Chef Jeena said...

Great pictures at the beginning of your post. :)

Shivapriya said...

I was waiting for this, When u posted chow chow bath, I was wondering a'ut the thali.. Delicious spread, both my mom & mil makes udipi sambar. Its one of my fav. Everything looks splendid.

RML said...

Hello Sharmi,
Wonderful pictures of the temples and OMG mouth watering thali.Is that for me?I am drooling here.
Thankyou for sharing such beautiful recipes.

Latha Narasimhan said...

Uuttaa thumba channakide sharmi!:)
I wish some one writes about yaksha gana too!:)
Lovely pictures of temples!Great post!

Prema Sundar said...

I expected this lovely spread from you Sharmi, and u fulfilled it.. nice pics of temples.
BTW I tried ur ennai kathirikkai recipe from the rci tamil.. It turned out very well and we enjoyed it. thanks.

amna said...

such a lovely meal Sharmi. Its amazing how you always do this for RCI. Asha is going to be so delighted.

As for your ques on the egg dosa, yes, it will cook if you just lay it on the dosa :) Try it and let me know.

Kajal said...

I am waiting for this post because I know your post is whole plate of Karnataka cuisine. Nice photo of temple you sharing here. Really you work great my dear. You made each dish my heart. I bookmark this post. I like your recipe of raw banana with buttermilk. Thanks for sharing :-)

ServesYouRight said...

Oy! After each of your thalis I think to myself, "This is my FAVORITE!!" Yum!!! Way to go :-)


Roopa said...

wonderfull post :) as ever! beautifull picutes :)

Sona - quick picks/pick quicks said...

your dishes look terrific!!..and nice snaps of the temples too

lakshmi said...

Now this is what I call a complete meal :)

Sivani said...


This is another wonderful example of your amazing posts that drew me in.

You introduced me to Indian food blogging: I was searching for a recipe, and one of the search results was Neivedyam. This drew me into a world I never knew existed - blogs dedicated to Indian food, with great recipes and beautiful photography.

I found this so intriguing that I started my own food blog: ruchi chuchu - and none of this would have happened if I had not stumbled so serendipitously across your blog!

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Unknown said...

Beautiful pictures and thanks for showcasing KA temples.

Bong Mom said...

Was waiting for this...anything I say will be less:)

Loved the intro too

Apple said...

Lovely contribution for RCI as always...was waiting for you to post this thali....wonderful intro pictures...fell in love with your blog again...:D

Cynthia said...

Your posts are always outstanding.

Saju said...

what a spread! wow! The photos and info of the temples is awesome.

SeeC said...

Great spread sharmi.
It is really tempting.
I am sure I will try out the sambhar sometime.

Very useful info abt Karnataka and lovely pictures.

Linda said...

Sharmi dear, I always look forward to the RCI because of your lovely thalis. Kannadiga Oota is something I can aspire to.

Thank you for sharing your passion and love for cooking, and your gift of photography and prose :)

Sharmi said...

Rahin, we get banana leafs at the frozen section in all the international stores.

Sharmi said...

Thank you all so much for the lovely words and compliments. Your words are my true inspiration!

SMN said...

Hey Sharmi same to same.nice speard of thali. i always loved Udupi cusine.. thnx for posting lovely presentation..

Tee said...

You are amazing!!!! what a fantastic and authentic spread! How did I miss this post of yours !? :)

Seena said...

Hey Beautiful pictures Sharmi..!
Can't wait to see the photoes of dishes, am coming there to have a lunch..yummmmmmmmmm

Kribha said...

Great post. Have bookmarked the entire page. Never been to karnataka before. Thanks for sharing all those nice pictures.

Sabita Sagi said...

HiSharmi...thanx a lot for this wonderful spread from karnataka...udipi sambar luks very tempting...gotta try it out of temples r also awesome...this is my blog do check it out!!Sabita

Sabita Sagi said...

thanx sharmi for visiting my blog...and for ur precious comment

Sharmi said...

Sabita, You are most welcome!!

Sharmi said...

Prema, Thanks so much for trying out the recipe and glad you liked it.

sra said...

Sharmi, beautiful post! Your post date says Sept 22, did you post it on that day or later - I missed it on FBD, that's why I ask.

sra said...

And this is the second time I missed it so ...

Lissie said...

bandi, oota madi... authetic kannadiga oota, sharmi! i love udupi sambar!!

Sharmi said...

Sra, Ya I think I did a mistake. I posted it on 24th but forgot to change the date and time. I was working on it from 22nd though. will correct it from now on. Thanks so much.

Pooja Na(i)rayan said...

The music, the temples and food a triple threat to someone like me who misses home .

Pooja Na(i)rayan said...

Sorry forgot to tell you I love ur blog

TBC said...

I just made your plantain-b'milk curry:-)
Thanks for the recipe.

TBC said...

Yummmmmmmy!:-)Did I forget to tell u that? I had never used plantain in a curry like that... it has always been kind of a dry veg prepn.
I was looking for ur e-mail id. But the "e-mail me" link in ur profile does not give me an address:-(.
So I just left the earlier comment.

sunita said...

Where was I all this while :(...but then , better late than never :)...a wonderful regional spread again.

Deepa Hari said...

Lovely Thali...Nice pics and post.

Sig said...

Wow... BEAUTIFUL spread, You've outdone yourself again Sharmi... :) And great pics too...

Pragyan said...

That's quite a spread. Thanks for sharing.

Menu Today said...

Hi Sharmi,
Lovely post and more information about kannadiga thali. Thanks for sharing.

J said...

Lovely post and info Sharmi!

Mishmash ! said...

I saw this post, but couldnot drop a word here....dont want to comment on this,as I just like to watch your spread and as usual keep wishing, if I could get a share of the spread!!!

Thanks dear for checking on me....means a "lot" :)


Shilpa said...

wow, thanks for sharing such breathtaking photos of temples! and that vegetarian spread looks awesome, especially the sambar and payasa! thanks for keeping in touch! :) missed checking out your blog!

Bharathy said...

Wonderful feast of karnataks temples and the Oota!!As always..
The temple of nanjengad is called "Kandeswarar Temple".Last week this exact time I was there!!!

Lakshmi said...

Awesome thali Sharmi! Liked all the write up too..!

Mala Venkatesh said...

Dear Sharmi,

I had just tried the Bittermelon Gojju and it was just so GOOD !!!

It is the tastiest Bittermelon dish ever !!! Thanks so much for sharing this !!

Hope you are having a fun time moving ....and come back soon !!

Take care..


Pravs said...

nice temple pics. I have been to some of them in childhood. Good to see the pics. Lovely spread of kannadiga oota.

Meena said...


Nice post .. ! Would you happen to know any north kannadiga brahmin cooks that we can hire (in Bangalore)? If yes, then please do email details at Look forward to learn many more yummy recipes through your blog ..... keep it up!