7 Popular Foods of Gulbarga, From Holige To Donne Biryani

Karnataka’s Gulbarga may be famous for its many historical landmarks, like Hazrath Khwaja Banda Nawaz Dargah, the Sharana Basaveshwara Temple and the Buddha Vihar, but it’s local cuisine deserves praise too. In Gulbarga, you can savour some of the best flavours of Karnataka and you can experience some unusual recipes which are not easily found in other parts of India. 

The city offers some elaborate Maratha-style delicacies like paya and spicy mutton and some authentic Southern food which utilises local produce; some of the most popular foods in the city have a focus on pulses and grains. Here are some of the famous foods of Gulbarga. 

Khara Mandakki

Khara Mandakki is also known as spicy puffed rice and is a popular street food in Gulbarga. It is made by tossing puffed rice with a flavorful mixture of spices, roasted peanuts, chopped onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice for a tangy kick. This savoury snack can be found in street shops where it’s served in paper cones for easy munching.

Donne Biryani

Donne Biryani, a culinary gem of Gulbarga, is a fragrant rice dish infused with aromatic spices and tender meat, typically chicken or mutton. What sets Donne Biryani apart is its unique serving style in donnes (plantain leaf bowls), which imparts a distinct flavour to the dish. The rice is cooked with succulent pieces of meat, caramelised onions, mint leaves, and a secret blend of spices until each grain is infused with flavour.

Shenga Holige

Shenga Holige is a sweet delicacy native to Gulbarga and a must-try for foodies who want an authentic taste of the local cuisine. It features a thin, crispy outer layer made from refined flour, stuffed with a sweet filling of roasted peanuts, jaggery, and fragrant spices like cardamom. The Holige is then shallow-fried until golden brown; it is often served warm with a dollop of ghee.

Jhunka Bhakar

Often mistaken as a Maharashtrian dish, Jhunka Bhakar is a rustic dish that originated in the rural regions of Karnataka and has found its way into the hearts of Gulbarga's foodies. It comprises Jhunka, a spicy besan preparation tempered with mustard seeds, curry leaves, and green chilies, and Bhakar, a thick, unleavened millet bread. The combination of the flavorful Jhunka with the wholesome Bhakar creates a filling meal. 

Jolada Rotti with Enne Badanekayi

Jolada Rotti, also known as Jowar Roti, is a staple in the cuisine of Karnataka. Made from jowar flour, this unleavened flatbread is gluten-free and rich in nutrients. In Gulbarga and parts of North Karnataka, it is often served with Enne Badanekayi, a spicy eggplant curry cooked with a unique blend of spices including mustard seeds, curry leaves, and tamarind pulp. The earthy taste of Jolada Rotti complements the tangy flavours of Enne Badanekayi perfectly well.

Hoorana Hogile

A fun version of the puran poli, this stuffed pancake is made with chana dal and jaggery which makes it a festive favourite. Although it’s not technically a street food it can be found in certain sweet shops during local festivals. Some versions of this dish also feature crushed coconut which is usually used in the filling.