The Udupi Brinjal or Gulla is an heirloom vegetable that is hundreds of years old and also has a GI Tag to protect its uniqueness.
In her book Udupi Cuisine author U.B. Rajalakshmi says, “the gulla has a property called nanju which is perhaps referred to as poison. When the gulla is immersed in water for some time, the water turns blackish and the gulla loses its astringent taste and gains a new taste and flavour.” The tradition of offering the first crop to Lord Krishna in Udupi continues to date.
The special gulla is grown in Mattu, Kaipunjalu, Katapady, Kote, Pangala, Alinja, Ambadi and Uliyaragoli in Udupi and has a Geographical Indication (GI) tag. “Gulla is an under promoted vegetable and while it is a variety of brinjal it has a more delicate flavour. A simple way we use it is called Suddu Bajji which is like the Baigan Bartha. We char the gulla that gives it a smoky flavour, mash it add tamarind, jaggery, roasted red chilies, salt and temper it with mustard seeds and makes for a delicious combination with rice,” avers Ratna Rajaiah, author, Secrets of Health from the Indian Kitchen. Do check out the gulla the next time you are in Udupi, it is a revelation in more ways than one.
Read the full story that first appeared in The New Indian Express dated August 30, 2020 here: