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A guide to Mangalorean Food

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Beaches and a bustling centre are the major reasons why folks head to Mangalore. If Poo in Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghamwas to change her priorities to food and demand that someone come to her bearing “Good food, good food and good food”, then either a Manglorean boy or rather an individual capable of mastering the art of cooking dishes from this regional cuisine would be a solid frontrunner! Aree the way to a woman’s heart is also through her stomach, trust me. And for the ones who needn’t aspire to be Poo themselves but are here for their foodie soul’s appetite, yes, it’s true that this cuisine is that yummy. If you find yourself in this part of Karnataka or if you are lucky enough to find a good Manglorean restaurant in other cities (shoutout to Mahesh Lunch Home in Mumbai and Mangalore Pearl in Bangalore!), then here’s a guide for what all to try when you start indulging in this cuisine:

Neer Dosa

The word “neer” literally translates into “water” in the Tulu language. If you’re wondering why such a curious name was coined for it, then the reason is that the batter to make this dosa is a watery one unlike the usual thicker ones. So, the dish actually comprises of rice batter which results in a light fluffy dosa. This is had with coconut chutney or gassi (gravy).

neer dosa
Source: https://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/neer-dosa-recipe/

Kori Ajadina

The name Kori Ajadina literally translates to mean dry chicken. This is why it has more commonly been referred to with the name Chicken Sukka. The key ingredients behind this popular aromatic dish are grated coconut blended with masala, giving it a unique flavour of its own.

Kori Ajadina
Source: https://simmertoslimmer.com/kori-ajadina-chicken-sukka/

Kori Roti 

Now if after the coconut flavours you find yourself craving for something spicier then this one is more up your ally. Turmeric, pepper, coriander, chillies, etc. etc. are all put to work to make this dish a slice of heavy spice. It is had with a paper-thin roti which is more life a crispy wafer. The roti is first broken into tiny pieces and then the curry is poured over to let it soak up its savouriness before getting gobbled up in your mouth.

kori roti
Source: https://myfoodstory.com/chicken-kori-rotti-mangalorean-chicken-curry-recipe/

Chicken Ghee roast

Okay, without ghee roast you haven’t touched anything in Manglorean food. Each and every restaurant in the area serving the local cuisine will feature this dish on its menu. What makes it so loved? Well, the ingredients are tossed and roasted well in ghee making their amalgamation with meat a rich affair. The dish has variants with other meats as well so you can try out mutton ghee roast and prawn ghee roast as well.

chicken ghee roast
Source: https://www.sailusfood.com/chicken-ghee-roast-mangalore-recipe/

Akki Shavige

This traditional dish was originally prepared on special occasions, however, overtime it has become popular as a breakfast option. It comprises of rice noodles, similar to the consistency of glass noodles, which are served with coconut milk. And if you find yourself relishing it, then make sure to thank the chef because this is a labour intensive one!

akki shavige
Source: https://www.archanaskitchen.com/udupi-red-parboiled-rice-shavige-recipe

Fish Puli Kuzhambi

Don’t worry fish lovers, we don’t expect you to head all the way to Mangalore and not enjoy yourself some scrumptious fish. Presenting to you fish puli which involves drumstick and brinjal being cooked in a tangy and spicy curry along with fish. This can be eaten with rice or even idli and like most Manglorean dishes it isn’t the meat or the vegetables alone but also the curry which make the meal such a delicious one.

Fish Puli Kuzhambi
Source: https://www.yummytummyaarthi.com/fish-puli-kuzhambu-recipe/

Kappa Rotti or Kappa Rutti

Yet another popular breakfast option comes to you all the way from Mangalore. I think what I appreciate most about these breakfast dishes is that while they are adequately filling, they still feel fresh and light on your tummy instead of a very heavy breakfast. This particular one is similar to dosa and is usually had with some veg, prawn or chicken gravy. Made from coconut milk, flattened rice or poha and methi seeds, you can call this one the savoury pancake from Mangalore!

kappa rotti
Source: https://simmertoslimmer.com/kappa-rotti/

Goli Baje 

Are you really trying an Indian cuisine until and unless you have eaten at least something fried? Ah what is it about deep fried food that it makes us cheat on all possible diets or aspirations of diets! Meet the Mangalore bonda or Mysore bonda which is colloquially referred to as the Goli Baje. You can even call them crispy fritters but what you are promised is that they are the good old tea time snack that we all love, you know the one with the crunchy and crispy exterior that leads you to a nice and fluffy interior as you take that bite. Have it with an accompanying chutney to add a little zest and that’s it. Mmmm.

goli baje
Source: https://www.smithakalluraya.com/goli-baje-mangalore-bajji-recipe-mangalore-bonda/

Pelakai Gatti

This dish is best described as a form of jackfruit cake. As the star ingredient is a seasonal fruit, let’s just say that this one is quite the monsoon favourite. The fresh fruit with cardamom, jaggery and coconut makes the dish result in having a mildly sweet taste. It is first reduced to the form of a paste and then cooked inside either teak or plantain leaves which adds a fragrance of freshness to the dish. If you can find a mango chutney to accompany it, you’re in for quite a treat.

pelakai gatti
Source: https://www.shettyscookery.com/jackfruit-gatti-recipe-halasina-hannina-kadubu-pelakai-da-gatti/

Gadbad icecream

Obviously, no meal can end with an honest to god decadently delicious desert. Meet gadbad ice-cream! And yes, you are not wrong to guess that the name derives from the word “gadbad” which means mayhem, confusion or even chaos. You have to try it at Diana restaurant in Udipi because that’s where it originated! The story has two versions one suggesting that a customer was dissatisfied with the portion of ice cream served to him upon which the chef threw a hail Mary while the second version states that the owner had this idea when a group walked in asking for ice-cream and there was shortage. The point is that a couple of flavours of ice cream were thrown together with jelly and nuts added, the result being that the customers came back for more and more. Today, a number of establishments make this sinfully sweet ice-cream.

gadbad ice cream
Source: https://foodiesterminal.com/gadbad-ice-cream/

Also, while this is not a dish in particular but if you ever goes to a temple in Mangalore during your visit and it happens to be one with the practice of serving meals, then ross your legs and sit down because you have try one of these meals served on banana leaves. There’s an array of items served with each adding more and more flavour.

Meanwhile, until you can visit Mangalore or a restaurant serving food hailing from there, how about cooking it yourself? Ah otherwise there’s always Swiggy! Happy Hogging!

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