Karnataka is a whimsical south Indian state that boasts of several interesting experiences and attractions. What gives Karnataka its personality is its food diversity. With some hints of influences from its neighbouring states, the food in Karnataka is mildly spicy yet every bite is an explosion of flavours. Being the spice bowl of India, different parts of Karnataka like North Karnataka, Kodagu, Udupi, and Mangalore, etc. have different staples. The variety of food here ranges from vegetarian to non-vegetarian delicacies. A traditional authentic Karnataka Thali includes Huli, Tovve, Obbattu, Saaru, Kosambari, etc. along with a side of curd and pickles. Here are the famous cuisines of Karnataka that you have to try:
List of the 14 Karnataka Food
1. Bisi Bele Bath
Bisi Bele Bath is a traditional Kannad recipe where it means lentil and rice mixture. It is probably one of the most common rice based dishes in the state and is prepared in almost every household. It has 3 main components of rice, lentils and a variety of your favourite vegetables. Other than being packed with flavours from a variety of veggies, this dish is also nutritionally rich. It can be the perfect lunch when paired with some raita. Traditionally people top off this meal with Boondi pearls that add a crunchy texture to the whole meal. Bisi Bele Bath is an authentic, hearty cuisine and a must try for everyone visiting the state.
2. Mysore Masala Dosa
It goes without saying that Dosas are the most famous meals of not just Karnataka but the entire south India. The Mysore masala Dosa is a crispy soft Dosa with a filling of mashed and spiced potatoes. Served best with the chutney of your choice or Sambhar, this Dosa is slightly different from the others. Unlike the regular masala Dosa, the special, spicy red chutney is spread out on one side before putting in the potato filling. It is one of the most loved dishes of the state which can be found in any Dhaba or restaurant alike. It presents Karnataka on a plate.
Authentic traditional foods in Karnataka are the perfect balance of flavours and nutrition. Allagadda is one such food. Made out of potatoes, this dish is made on a regular basis especially by vegetarians and vegans. The recipe for this is extremely simple and takes about 20 minutes to prepare and uses minimum spices. Served as a side dish along with the main, this is a dry preparation that is made with the Tadka of cumin, Asafetida, Red Chilli Powder, Mustard Seeds, Skinned Black Gram etc. best served hot with a topping of crunchy cashews and rotis.
4. Maddur Vada
Made by combining semolina, wheat flour and rice flour, Maddur Vada is a crispy deep fried snack famously served during tea time. The name of this snack is inspired from the town where it was first originated which is known as Maddur town. To make it, all the ingredients and spices are combined to form a firm dough before being rolled out into small circles. It is then deep fried until golden brown. This is a rather healthier option for snacking than the ones available in markets. It is crispy in texture and it is best served with some pickles or coconut chutney.
5. Pandi Curry
Pandi curry is also known as Coorg style spicy pork curry which is loved and enjoyed by people of all ages in Karnataka. This unique dish occupies a very special place in the hearts of all the locals. The distinct flavour that makes this curry stand out is the use of Kachampuli extract. Kachampuli is locally made dark vinegar sourced from the fruits of the Gummi Gutta Tree. This tree is found in the lush evergreen forests of Coorg and adds a rich flavour in the whole meal. Made by chopping off pork in large cube pieces and allowed to cook in its own fat and spices, each bite is packed in wonderful flavourings.
Chiroti is a deliciously flaky pastry that is made majorly in not only Karnataka but parts of Maharashtra and Telangana. Served during special occasions such as weddings and festivals, it is prepared by rolling out flour dough and then layering one round flatbread on top of another. This is then deep fried in refined oil or ghee which makes the layered dough extremely flaky and crispy which kind of resembles a Poori. Chiroti tastes best when they are sprinkled with powdered sugar or grated cashews, almonds and pistachios.
7. Mangalore Bajji
Also known as Goli Bajji, Mangalore Bajji sort of reminds you of a Potato Bonda. This is one of the most popular snacks in Karnataka. Served as a mid-day treat or a tea time snack, the Bajji is made using all-purpose flour or Maida, combined with shaved coconut, buttermilk, curry leaves, baking soda, ginger and salt. After it is turned into a dough, the Bajji is then divided into small balls before individually deep frying them in refined oil. Served along with green chutney or tomato chutney, this will do the job of keeping your tummy full before its time for dinner.
8. Kori Gassi
Kori Gassi is the local name for Mangalore chicken curry, one of the most famous chicken dishes in the region. This delectable dish blends some of the most incredible flavour packed ingredients like roasted spices, tangy tamarind, creamy coconut milk and succulent pieces of chicken. In Kannada, Kori means chicken and Gassi means curry, and it has garnered a very popular fan base over time. This is also known as the signature dish of the people of the bunt community. The sophisticated combination of various masalas and spices in the dish also makes it okay to use other meats instead of chickens as well.
9. Mangalorean Biryani
Prepared with or without meat (usually chicken) Mangalorean biryani is one of the most famous delicacies of Karnataka. What makes the biryani Mangalorean is the use of Mangalorean masala paste that adds the typical Mangalorean taste to the dish. The paste is a blend of coconut, coriander seeds, cardamom, Fennel Seeds, Garlic, Dry Red Chilli, and cumin seeds. All these ingredients for the paste are blended together which is then combined with rice and other sauteed vegetables. What gives the Mangalorean biryani its distinct orange colour is this curry paste. The biryani is best served with Raita, Salan of your choice and salad.
10. Kane Rava Fry
Being located in the coastal region, the fish availability here is remarkable. People use fresh fish to cook all sorts of fish dishes. The Kane Rava Fry is an authentic dish originating in Karnataka itself. This delicious dish is made using fish marinated in Red Chillies, salt, lemon and other spices of your choice which is then coated in semolina, instead of flour, to add that extra crunch after deep frying it in refined oil. Crispy on the outside and juicy, flavourful and soft on the inside, the Kane Rava Fry is a great choice for seafood lovers.
11. Udupi Sambar
How can Sambar be any different from each other? Turns out, making Sambar differs from place to place. Unlike the Sambar in Kerala, Udupi Sambar is sweeter and contains more spices. The flavour of Udupi Sambar is the combination of Urad Dal, Chana Dal, Red Chillies, coconut, coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds and Asafoetida. Sometimes people also use Toor Dal to make it. Sambar goes best with anything from Idlis and Dosas to just rice. Include some of your favourite veggies in it and you have got yourself a winning, healthy, hearty meal.
Karnataka is surely a heaven for vegans and vegetarians. The sheer number of vegetarian cuisines available here will make your heart smile. One such hearty, nutritional dish is Sagu which is quickly winning the hearts of new age vegans and vegetarians. This cuisine is a type of vegetable curry, which is not only served with rotis and rice but sometimes even with Idlis and Dosas. The creamy texture of the curry combined with authentic spices and coconut makes Sagu a delectable comfort food for many. The best garnish for Sagu are crunchy golden browned cashews.
Also known as lemon rice, Chitranna is one of the most popular household preparations in Karnataka. If you are looking for ways to jazz up your regular old white rice or Jeera Rice, then this recipe should be tried out. It takes just a couple of minutes to make if you already have leftover white rice. A Tadka of Oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves, turmeric powder, Chana Dal and dry Red Chilli is prepared and poured all over the rice, coating every grain. A squeeze of lemon at the end will give you the tanginess and the twist your rice needs.
Wondering of new ways to cook Brinjal? Ennegayi could be on the way to becoming your next favourite veggie meal. Small Brinjals are used in this prep where slits are cut up and packed with dry masala rub that is tangy and very flavourful. A staple of north Karnataka, the masala packed Brinjals are then cooked at low flame so that the Brinjals are cooked. Best served with hot rotis, Ennegayi is a delectable spicy coconut curry based meal, perfect for dinner.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What Language Is Spoken In Karnataka?
Ans. Kannada is the language spoken in Karnataka.
Q. Which Is The Most Famous Sweet In Karnataka?
Ans. Mysore Pak is the most famous sweet in Karnataka.
Q. When Is The Best Time To Visit Karnataka?
Ans. November to April is the best time to visit Karnataka.
Q. What Can I Buy From Karnataka?
Ans. Sandalwood products, Mysore Silk Sarees, traditional wooden toys, spices and South Indian Masalas etc. are some of the must buy things in Karnataka.
Q. What Are Some Hill Stations In Karnataka?
Ans. Coorg, Ooty, Nandi Hills, Chikmagalur, Kodachadri etc. are some of the most famous hill stations in Karnataka.