The cuisine of North Karnataka

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A typical meal in North Karnataka is sure to set your palate racing courtesy the burst of flavours that are perfectly balanced.

If you happen to be in the northern part of Karnataka whether it is Dharwad, Bijapur, Gulbarga, Belgaum, Bidar, Bagalkot, Raichur, Davangere, Gadag, Haveri, Koppal or Bellary, make sure you stop for a meal at a local khanavali, a place that serves traditional North Karnataka fare.

Balanced Meal

With the area being mainly dry and arid, the food of North Karnataka is mainly locally grown crops and vegetables and is wholesome, healthy, rich in antioxidants, fiber, protein and minerals. The main item on your plate is Jolada rotti, a thin flatbread made from Jowar flour, hand rolled and baked on an iron skillet or directly on fire. Usually a dollop of butter is added on the rotti which is highly recommended to cut the spicy flavours of the accompaniments. This is eaten with Ennegai Palya which is baby aubergine cooked with a typical dry stuffing of ground peanut, ground sesame, ginger, garlic, garam masala and salt and tossed with onions and other spices and hesarukaal palya, a curry made with green gram curry.  Accompaniments include the Kempu Khaara, fiery red chilli chutney that primarily has red chillis and garlic with spices. A typical meal also includes lentils, cooked with greens and sauteed with onions, ginger, garlic and jhunka which is steamed gram flour cubes with sesame and coriander leaves. Peanut or sesame chutney, raita bajji made with yogurt, raw salad made of scallion, onion and methi leaves, plain rice, saaru or rasam, papadum and  buttermilk complete a typical meal usually eaten on a banana leaf. Local desserts include Shenga unde – a laddu made with peanuts and Dharwad peda, a specialty of the region. Do try the Kardant an edible gum mixed with dry fruits, fried Bengal gram flour and jaggery when you are here. The dry fruit laddu is another must try a mélange of mixed dry fruits including pistachio, almonds, cashew, dates, figs with shredded dry coconut, jaggery and antu (edible gum). So get set to take your senses on a gastronomic journey in North Karnataka – it is a meal you will not forget in a hurry.

Food Souvenirs

  • Pick up the famous byadgi chilli from the region. It is known for its fiery red colour and is not as pungent as its Guntur counterpart.
  • Buy the chutney pudis (powders) from here, the range includes shenga (groundnut), puttani (chana dal), agase (flax seed), yellu (sesame), and ucchelu (Niger seed).
  • The sesame or peanut Obbattu a wheat pancake filled with jaggery and sesame or peanuts make for a great takeaway.

This story first appeared in Airports Magazine’s Nov 2019 issue here:

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