Explore Malenadu in its Cuisine

 After our food exploration in Odisha, we had a break for more than 3 months due to the rise in Covid cases once again in India. Once the things are back to normal by end of June and with the onset of Monsoon, FoodCulture planned to find some authentic cuisine very specific to this season. 

Traditional Malenadu Breakfast

The only place we have in our minds is Malenadu region in Karnataka. Malenadu translates to the land of rains. Located in the western Ghats looked to be a perfect choice for our exploration.

This time we are visiting a local family from Malenadu region and experience the Cuisine in most traditional and authentic way.

Malenadu welcomed us with the mist and showers and continued through out journey to Athihally village.


This time our exploration neither started in Kitchen nor on the dining table. Vivek gowda, our host took us to neighborhood to show the preparation of huli(Malabar Tamarind) rasa. The juice extracted from fruit is boiled more than a day to get the  syrup. 25Kg pulp of Malabar tamarind will give 1Kg of syrup which can be used at least for 2 years.  This syrup is mainly used in most of the non veg dishes like fish, pork and also in vegetarian dishes.

Calendar in the neighborhood caught our attention with some notes on it. Many homes in Malenadu region have rain gauage and people note the rain fall in their place everyday. 

Once we are back home, we straight away went to kitchen to see the preparation of akki roti(rice flour roti). Susheela aunt is an expert in making akki roti. She follows the traditional methods of making Roti with hands and then cook directly on firewood. She mentions the authentic flavor can be savored only when you cook on firewood directly. This akki roti when served with ghee or butter will enhance the taste.

Our dining table is spread with Akki roti, Kesa curry, Coconut chutney, Ghee, Butter and local mushroom specially fried on charcoal. Kesa is also one of the Malenadu dish made of Tari leaves. The rolled leaves and stem are directly used in making curry. Vivek's Grandma aged about 90 years actively rolled the leaves and precisely cut the stem as well.

The amount of butter and ghee we had in the breakfast is equal to the Kesa curry. Ghee and butter are prepared in Vivek home only. "We use traditional method to prepare butter. Our equipment is also limited to this region and few other places" told Vivek. 

After having breakfast, we left to procure fresh bamboo sticks for bamboo shoot fry. Not all bamboo sticks can be made into curry. Only fresh and soft sticks are used in making fry. Bamboo sticks are also used in sambar in Malenadu Region. All the outer layer is peeled off to get the soft and fresh bamboo stick. 

Every home in this region have a garden. Fruits, vegetable and spices like pepper and cardamom are grown in the gardens only. People don't rely on markets or shops mostly. 

We had Malenadu special pepper chicken dry, rasam, masala omlette in the lunch. As already mentioned, pepper is sourced from Vivek's home garden only. Vivek mentions that rasam is the common dish but people visiting this region feel very special when they have it. And yes, even we felt the same. 

Malenadu special pepper chicken dry

After our lunch, we are back to our room and enjoyed the rain. It rained through out the day and night without any stop. We started exploring the place on day 2 and had other Malenadu dishes as well, which will be published in the next article. 

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