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The cuisine of Karnataka comprises diverse vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisines. The varieties' influence can be found in the food habits of many regions and communities from the three neighbouring South Indian states, as well as the state of Maharashtra to its north. Some typical dishes include Bisi bele bath, Ragi rotti, Akki Rotti, Saaru, Vangi Bath, Khara Bath, Kesari Bath, Davanagere Benne Dosa, Ragi mudde, and Uppittu.The famous Masala Dosa traces its origin to Udupi cuisine.

Typical Thali Meal of Karnataka
Typical Thali Meal of Karnataka


Plain and Rave Idli, Mysore Masala Dosa and Maddur Vade are popular in South Karnataka. Coorg district is famous for spicy varieties of pork curries while coastal Karnataka boasts of many tasty sea food specialities. Among sweets, Mysore Pak, Dharwad pedha, Chiroti are well known.

Although the ingredients differ from one region to another, a typical Kannadiga Oota (Kannadiga meal) includes the following dishes in the order specified and is served on a banana leaf: Kosambari, Pickle, Palya, Gojju, Raita, Dessert (Yes, it is a tradition to start your meal with a dessert - Paaysa), Thovve, Chitranna, Rice and Ghee

After serving ghee to everyone, one may start the meal. This is done to ensure that everyone seated has been served all the dishes completely.

What follows next is a series of soup like dishes such as Saaru, Majjige Huli or Kootu which is eaten with hot rice. Gojju or raita is served next; two or three desserts are served; fried dishes such as Aambode or Bonda are served next. The meal ends with a serving of curd rice.

It is believed that every meal is a wholesome meal containing essential components of a healthy meal such as proteins, carbohydrates and vitamins.

There is some diversity in core food habits of North and South Karnataka. While northern-style dishes have joLa and rice as the primary cereals the south uses ragi and rice.

North Karnataka Cuisine
The North Karnataka Cuisine can be primarily found in the northern districts of Karnataka, including Bidar, Kalburgi, Vijapura, Bagalakote,Belagaavi, Raayachooru, Dharwad, Gadag, Haveri, Koppala, and parts of Ballari.

The following are typical items in a typical vegetarian Northern Karnataka meal:

  • rotti or bhakri
  • Badane kaayi gojju/enne-gai/tumbu-gai - Stuffed and/or sauteed
  • Shenga/Ellu dry chutney in powder form - sometimes called hindi (not hindi language) that roughly translates to "fodder"
  • kempu khaara - hot chutney paste made with/of red chillis, consumed as a condiment
  • kosambari
  • Bele palya - cooked split or whole beLe, chana, moong with greens such as methi and spinach, or spring onion
  • mosaru bajji or raitha - salad involving yogurt
  • Raw Salads - of spring onion, onion, green chilli, methi leaves, sometimes with oggaraNe of sasive and/or jeerige
  • Rice
  • Saaru
  • Happala
  • Mosaru and majjige
  • beNNEe or tuppa

South Karnataka Cuisine

The South Karnataka Cuisine can be primarily found in the southern districts of Karnataka, such as Kolara, Bengalooru, Mysooru, Tumakooru, Mandya, Haasana, Chamarajanagara etc. Excepting the usage of ragi mudde, most of the dishes are common to households in the adjoining districts such as Bangalore, Mysore, Tumkur. A meal, be it

Lunch served on a plantain leaf
Lunch served on a plantain leaf


breakfast, lunch, or dinner, includes ragi mudde, which is a round ball made by boiling raagi or millet in water; hurali saaru, a spicy soup-like dish made from horse grams along with a variety of Indian spices; or bas saaru, another spicy soup-like dish made from the broth of lentils and spring beans; kempanna, or boiled red rice, and mosaru or curd. Farming is the means of livelihood for villagers of Kolar; the consumption of light, but energetic food in the form of ragi provides the stamina for this. The farmers generally eat 2–3 ragi balls for lunch, and make do with the disposable leaf from the blue agave found in abundance as fences in the fields.

Karnataka Cuisine-Common to all parts

Some common vegetarian dishes prepared on a regular basis are:

Rice dishes

  • Bisi bele bath - rice cooked with dal, vegetables and spices; like huli with rice, but often richer
  • Vaangi baath - cooked rice mixed with vegetables cooked in oil and spices; the vegetables are usually made into a palya beforehand and the vaangi baath mixed before serving
  • Chitranna - cooked rice flavoured with spices, particularly oil-popped mustard seeds and turmeric
  • Mosaranna - curd rice sometimes given a fried spicy touch with fried lentils and oil-popped mustard seeds.
  • Puliyogare - cooked rice flavoured with spicy tamarind paste
  • Maavinkaayi chitranna - cooked rice flavoured with raw green mango and spices
  • Nimbekaayi chitranna - cooked rice flavoured with lemon and spices
  • Avalakki - akki means rice in Kannada; avalakki is rolled rice that is soaked and cooked with spices and sometimes vegetables.
  • Mandakki


  • Ragi rotti - A flat thick pancake made with Ragi dough and flavoured with chillies and onions; it is shaped and flattened by hand
  • Akki rotti - A thick, flat pancake-like dish made with a dough of rice flour, chillies, onions and salt; shaped and flattened by hand prior to cooking
  • Jolada rotti
  • Ragi mudde - Big steamed dumplings made by adding Ragi flour to boiling water with salt to taste.
  • Gunpongalu

Neer Dose, an authentic dish of Karnataka served with chutney and sambhar
Neer Dose, an authentic dish of Karnataka served with chutney and sambhar

  • Chapathi - flat unleavened bread made from atta flour, water, oil and salt, rolled out into the desired shape
  • Dosa, masala dose, rave dose, paper dose, plain dose, vegetable dose, onion dose, set dose, neer dose, godhi dose, ragi dose, menthey dose.
  • Variants of Idli - like Mallige idli, Thatte idli, rave idli, masala idli, and others.


  • Kadalekaayi chutney
  • Hurali chutney
  • Kaayi chutney - grated coconut ground with dal (kadale) salted and garnished with oil-fried mustard and curry leaves
  • Kaayi chutney (green) - grated coconut ground with dal, green chillies and coriander salted and garnished with oil-fried mustard and curry leaves
  • Kaayi chutney (red) - grated coconut chutney ground with dal and dried red chillies salted and garnished with oil-fried mustard and curry leaves
  • Maavina chutney - grated raw green mango ground with grated coconut, dal, salted and garnished oil-fried mustard and curry leaves.
  • Heerekai chutney - grated ridge-gourd peel ground with grated coconut, dal, salted and garnished oil-fried mustard and curry leaves.
  • Eerulli chutney - grated onion peel ground with grated coconut, dal, salted and garnished oil-fried mustard and curry leaves.

Palya or side dishes

  • Hurali kaayi palya
  • Hurali palya
  • Hurali appala
  • Badnekaayi palya
  • Bendekaayi palya
  • Allugade palya



Kosambari is a unique Kannadiga dish and is prepared using simple ingredients such as lentils, parsley, green chillies and finely chopped coriander, seasoned with mustard seeds. Common variants include kosambari made with the above ingredients in addition to grated cucumber or carrot.

Sweet & Spicy dishes

  • Menasinakaayi gojju
  • Hunuse gojju - made with tamarind

Kosambari made of cucumber
Kosambari made of cucumber

  • Bendekaayi gojju - boiled ladies-finger vegetable (okra) cooked in a gravy sweetend with jaggery and soured by tamarind.
  • Tomato gojju - cooked cut or mashed tomato with a sweet-sour gravy.
  • EeruLLi(Onion) & Tomato gojju - cooked cut or mashed tomato mixed with cut onion with a sweet-sour gravy.
  • Haagalakaayi gojju - Bittergourd pieces marinated with salt and turmeric to remove some bitterness cooked with a sweet and sour gravy.

Saaru ( Main course)

  • Obbatinna saaru - made from the left over broth while preparing the sweet obbattu.
  • Hurali saaru - made from horse gram
  • Bas saaru - made from the broth of boiled lentils and spring beans
  • Mosoppinna/HuLisoppu saaru - made from lentils and spinach
  • meNasina saaru - rasam made from pepper, turmeric, and other spices
  • BeLe saaru - has toor dal as one of the ingredients
  • Kadale kaaLinna saaru
  • Hesara KaaLinna saaru
  • Halasande saaru
  • Avarekai saaru
  • Haagalakaayi & kadale KaaLina saaru


  • Bele thovve - cooked toor dal, turmeric, salt, garnished with oil-fried mustard and curry leaves.
  • Southekai thovve - cucumber dices cooked with toor dal, turmeric, salt, garnished with oil-fried mustard and curry leaves.
  • Heerekai thovve - de-seeded Ridge Gourd cooked with toor dal, turmeric, salt, garnished with oil-fried mustard and curry leaves.
  • Thumbuli - spicy gravy
  • Uppittu - variants of which include avarekalu uppittu and chow chow bath.


  • Dharwad pedha
  • Kaayi holige or obbattusuggi
  • huggi - cooked rice & chana or moong, with coconut, milk, elakki and sweetened with bella (jaggery)
  • giNNu - sweetened, flavoured & steam boiled colostrum of cow, buffalo or goat
  • kajjaya - goes very well with milk and ghee.

Dharwad Peda
Dharwad Peda

  • kari kadabu - deep fried or steamed pastry with sweet filling
  • modaka - deep fried or steamed pastry with sweet filling
  • karjikaayi - deep fried crisp pastry with dry sweet filling
  • unDe - ball shaped sweets with the following variations :
    • chikkina unDe - eLLu and bella
    • chigaLi unDe - made from eLLu
    • rave unDe - made from semolina
    • shenga unDe - made from peanut.
    • mandakki unDe - made from mandakki
    • avalakki unDe - made from avalakki
  • Ladoo - made of flour and other ingredients formed into balls that are dipped in sugar syrup.
  • tambittu - made from the flour of dried-raw wheat and jaggery.
  • sikkinunde - made from jaggery, dried coconut and maida .
  • paayasa - milk & jaggery/sugar based porridge, with the following variations :
    • beLe - made from split chana or moong
    • jeerige
    • gasa-gase
    • sabbakki
    • shavige
    • rice
    • jack fruit
    • cashew, almond and other nuts.
  • obbattu or hOLige - stuffed or plain sweet flat bread/pancake/crepe with variations including :
  • beLe Obbattu - made from lentils or chana
  • Kaayi Obbattu - made from coconut, or peanut in northern karnataka
  • haalu-puri - from milk sugar and floured batter.
  • sajjige - boiled semolina sweetened with sugar or jaggery and mixed with cooked fruits like banana or pine apple
  • sakkare achhu - little sugar statues/toys made during Sankranti

Kosambari made of cucumber
Kosambari made of cucumber

  • Haalubaayi - marinated rice ground with jaggery and coconut to form a semi solid that melts in the mouth.
  • basundi
  • mysore pak
  • dharwad pedha
  • karadantu
  • sheekaraNi - pulp of ripe fruit (usually mango or banana) with additions such as sugar, elakki, jaakayi/jaapatri, milk,etc
  • Damrottu - From sweet pumpkin
  • Kunda - prepared from milk
  • Balushahi
Sweet Pastries - The following can be grouped together. These are often accompanied by milled sugar, and/or warm milk flavoured with saffron and almond
  • mandige - huge flat leavened pastry. It is quite a treat to watch chefs making large (>36 inches in diameter) pastries with bare hands and baking them on upturned clay pots over fire.
  • chiroti, pheni - fluffy & leavened pastry, sometimes called padaru pheni because it is leavened.
    shaavige chiroti - vermicelli pastry.
  • kesaribhath - rice (or semolina in southern karnataka) cooked with sugar/jaggery, cardamom, saffron, milk, dry fruits, and sometimes fresh fruits like banana, mango and pineapple.



Pickles are usually raw seasoned vegetables & sea food, but there are cooked varieties as well called Bisi Uppinakayi. The seasoning varies from plain salt to spices like green chilli, red chilli powder, black pepper, whole and powdered mustard seeds, coriander seeds, etc. They are significantly differ from North Indian pickles or achar in that considerably less oil is usually used in the pickles; salt is the main preservative.

  • Mavinkayi - Raw green mango
  • Midi Mavinkaayi - Immature raw mangoes, usually used whole
  • Amtekayi
  • Iralekayi
  • Nimbekayi - Whole and sliced lemon and lime
  • Gaja Nimbekayi - A larger variety of lemon, resembling a grape fruit
  • Bettada Nellikayi
  • Nellikayi
  • Tomato
  • Heralikayi - a green citrus fruit, only the peel is used in the pickle.
  • Hagalakayi - bitter gourd
  • Prawn, shrimp & crab, especially in coastal areas


  • Bonda or Bajji - deep fried vegetables (and sometimes chicken and seafood) in batter
  • Vadey - Ambode, Sabbakki vadey, Bele vadey etc.
  • Chakkuli
  • Nippattu
  • Kodubale
  • baaLaka - deep fried vegetable & fruit chips or wafers. The vegetables are usually dried and seasoned with spices, and even butter milk. Common candidates are potato, sweet potato, yam, cassava, ripe jack fruit, banana, plantain, chilli, varieties of suitable green bean pods (usually gori kaayi/chaLLe kaayi), etc.

Non-vegetarian dishes

  • KoLi bas saaru
  • Mutton chop curry
  • Meatball curry/ Kaima Saaru
  • Lamb curry
  • Mutton pulao
  • Chicken pulao
  • Fish curry
  • Liver fry
  • Koli Saaru/ Chicken Curry

Udupi cuisine


Udupi cuisine is a world-renowned cuisine of South India. It forms an important part of the Cuisine of Karnataka and takes its name from Udupi, a city on the southwest coast of India in the state of Karnataka. The Udupi cuisine has its origin in Ashta matha's of Udupi founded by Shri Madhvacharya.

Udupi cuisine comprises dishes made primarily from grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits. The variety and range of dishes is wide, and a hallmark of the cuisine involves the use of locally available ingredients.

Udupi cuisine includes an entire school of South Indian vegetarian cuisine. It adheres strictly to the vedic tradition of Indian vegetarian cuisine, using no onions or garlic, as well as no meat, fish, or shellfish. However, the cuisine may also be adapted for those who consume these restricted items. For a list of foods restricted for Vedic vegetarians, see shivalli. Pumpkins and gourds are the main ingredients in sambar, a stew prepared with ground coconut and coconut oil as its base.

The ubiquitous Indian dish masala dosa has its origins in Udupi. Rasam, a spicy pepper water, is another essential part of the menu, and so are jackfruit, colocasia leaves, raw green bananas, mango pickle, red chillies, and salt. Adyes (dumplings), ajadinas (dry curries), and chutneys, including one made of the skin of the ridge gourd, are specialities.

  • Typical dishes
    • Saar or rasam
    • Kodel or sambhar
    • Tambuli or watery vegetable paste( generally leafy vegetables) seasoned.
    • Spiced rice
    • Adye (dumpling )
    • ajethna or ajadina (dry curry)
    • Bakshya (sweet or dessert)
    • Kosambari (seasoned salad of lentils)
    • Bhajji (chutney)
    • Kayathno (fried items)
    • Paramanna (kheer)
    • Thindi (breakfast or tiffin)
    • Rasayana (juice or squash or syrup)


  • Dishes served in a full course Udupi meal       

    The full course Udupi meal is served on a plantain leaf, which is traditionally kept on the ground. The dishes are served in a particular sequence, and each dish is placed on a particular spot of the plantain leaf. All the people eating this meal are expected to begin and end eating the meal together. A person cannot get up in middle of meal even though he has finished his meal. The start and end of meal is done by saying "Govinda," the name of Lord Vishnu.

    • Steamed rice (plain rice cooked in steam or boiling water)
    • Saaru or rasam (spicy watery soup like dish)
    • Kodel or sambhar
    • Bhajji or chutney
    • Ajethna (dry curries generally made from clustered beans)
    • Spiced rice (chitranna)
    • Paramanna or Kheer (pudding)
    • Kosambari (seasoned salad made from split bengal gram or pea)
    • Sweets like laddu, kai holige, etc.
    • Fried items like bonda, chakkuli, vada
    • Butter milk/curd

      Depending upon the occasion, individual taste, and money, each dish may be made from different ingredients.


  • Popular dishes of Udupi cuisines
    • Sajjige and bajil (upma made from coarse semolina and seasoned beaten rice)
    • Saaru or rasam
    • Sambhar or kodel
    • Chutney or bajji (tulu) or gojjuu in Kannada
    • Uddinahittu (urad flour mixed in curd and seasoned)
    • Kosambari (salads of black gram or bengal gram lentils, seasoned)
    • Different types of spicy rices, such as chitranna or Bisi bele bath
    • Dosa, masala Dosa, neer dosa
    • Sweet dishes like maddi, kaai holige, undae (laddu)
    • Puddings or parammanna or payasa or kheer
    • Mangalore bajji or golibaje
    • Kashi halva or musk pumpkin halva
    • Halva made from jackfruit, banana, and bottle gourd
    • Pelakai gatti/gidde(jackfruit dumpling)
    • Pelakai appa (fried dumplings made from jackfruit)
    • Pelakai halwa (jackfruit halwa)
    • Gashi or gasi (thick gravy like dish made by use of peas or pulses with coconut)
    • Patrode (colacasia leaves dipped in batter and steamed cooked)

Malenadu cuisine
Although many refer to the malenadu cuisine as an amalgam of Coorgi and Mangalorean cuisine, it has its own distinct style. The word "Malenaadu" means "land of mountain ranges". The cuisine is heavily influenced by the variety of fruits and vegetables available in the rich forests of western ghats. The ingredients like tender bamboo shoots, colocassia leaves, turmeric leaves, raw jackfruit are easily found in the Sahyadri ranges. Steaming is a favored the method of cooking in malenaadu. More often than not there is minimal use of oils in malenaadu cuisine.

  • kotte kadabu
  • kadabu
  • chicken saaru
  • chicken fry
  • voththu Shaavige with chicken curry
  • voththu shaavige with ghasghase paayasa or kaayi haalu - Steamed rice noodles with a sweet payasa or sweetened coconut milk.
  • votthushaavige uppittu - Steamed rice noodles stir fried with oil, mustard seeds, onions, green chillies and curry leaves.
  • akki rotti - rice rotti / flat bread made with rice.
  • Bamboo shoot pickle -Kalule` uppinakayi
  • Bamboo shoot curry - Kalule` palya
  • halasina haNinna kadabu, paayasa
  • Halasina haNinna happla
  • Maavina midi uppinnakkayi
  • Halasina haNinna dose - jackfruit dose
  • Akki Tari Kadabu - breakfast dish made with broken rice.
  • Gangala dose - steamed dosa
  • Angu or Thode-daaga - very thin sweet crepe made with a thin batter of rice and jaggery.
  • Kaayi Holige - a dessert made with fresh coconut ,jaggery and maida.
  • Haalu Payasa - rice pudding, falvored with turmeric leaves and cardamom.
  • Haalu Hittu - semi-soft milk pudding made with milk, rice paste and sugar.
  • Kesina Soppina Palya - A side dish prepared using colocasia leaves as the main ingredient. Served with akki rotti.
  • Thumbuli - a cool saaru usually made in summer using yogurt, ginger, pepper and other spices. Served with steamed rice.
  • Maaldi - a coarse cereal made from ground whole wheat, jaggery, black til and other ingredients. Usually served in a bowl with either milk or ghee.
  • Aralu pudi - a rice cereal made of ground toasted / puffed rice, sugar etc. Usually served in a bowl with warm milk. This cereal is also used as a filling in a special dessert called hurulu kadabu.
  • Hoorulu kadabu - A traditional dessert made with aralu pudi, jaggery, coconut and other ingredients. The mixture is shaped and steamed in turmeric leaves.
  • Kaadu mavina haNnina saaru - a sweet and sour saaru made with whole tiny ripe mangoes. Served with cooked rice.

Kodagu Cuisine
Kodagu's staple food is rice. Traditional dishes include

  • PanDi curry or pork curry
  • Kadambuttu or steamed rice dumplings
  • KoLi saaru or chicken curry
  • Bimbale curry or Bamboo shoot curry
  • Paputtu or steamed rice cake
  • Nool puttu and koLi curry

Mangalooru Cuisine
Coconut is widely used in the mangalore cuisine. Traditional dishes include

  • KaNe fry or lady fish fry
  • KoRi roti Crisp flat rice pancake roasted on griddle without oil . Can be stored up to 6 months. Usually served with chicken curry,
  • Patrode, a special dish prepared by steaming stuffed colocasia leaves.
  • Neer dosa, A soft thin pancake made of batter of boiled rice, coconut milk and salt
  • Appam
  • Beeja manoli upkari, or tendli and cashewnuts poriyal
  • wheat halwa
  • Maavina Saaru preserved salted mango fruit cooked whole in a base of steam-cooked toor dal, eatend with red rice or Indian bread.
  • Saala - preserved salted jackfruit shallow fried with traditional oil-mustard seasoning. Eaten as a snack, or as dry vegetable in a meal.
  • Manni is a traditional dessert made of rice, coconut and jaggery. It can also can be made of various flavours such as vegetables.
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This entry is from Wikipedia, the leading user-contributed encyclopedia. It may not have been reviewed by professional editors (see full disclaimer)

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