Kadabu, The Crescent-Shaped Sweet Treat From Karnataka
Image Credit: Spicy Tamarind

Making the sweet, stuffed, crescent-shaped dumpling kadubu is a delight across many homes in Maharashtra and Karnataka during the festive month of Sawan and the auspicious days of Ganesh puja, or the 10-day festival worshipping the elephant-headed god of knowledge and wisdom. Regional cuisine in India is a celebration of flavours and ingredients that can be sourced locally and seasonally such that we end up consuming only that which grows and thrives in those particular climes. This enables the body to remain attuned to the nature's clock while allowing the taste buds to revel in the joys of simple, wholesome, warm meals cooked at home using ingredients readily available at the local grocer or vegetable and fruit vendor.

The kadubu is one such dish which straddles regional borders to become testament to the cultural overlaps and exchanges that occur between neighbouring states separated by imaginary lines. Kadubu is a delightful snack dish that can be enjoyed as a side during a meal or as a quick bite to be had at tea time. The dumpling is popularly prepared during the monsoon month of Sawan or Shravan and offered to the gods as prasad. Particularly on days when ritual lunches mean married couples or married women coming over for a Sawan meal, kadubus are fried as an accompaniment to a wholesome plate full of regional culinary delights.

Steamed Kadubu

There are two types of kadubu, steamed and fried, of which the steamed kadubu is popular during Ganesh puja as a kind of dumpling made from rice flour, akin to the modak. During Sawan, the fried kadubu is often made at home using simple ingredients like chana dal and jaggery. A kadubu is very similar to the karanji, where the difference lies in the slightly distinct ways of folding the sweet treat and the use of chana dal, which is absent in the traditional karanji. As well, a kadubu is many times also made using dried coconut and whole wheat flour whereas a karanji follows a more elaborate recipe and makes use of white flour or maida for its outer coating.

Known also as karigadabu, this regional sweet is crispy, full of the flavours of coconut and jaggery and extremely filling when enjoyed as afternoon munching. However, most often than not, kadubu is served with a hearty lunch including chapati, subzi, some pickles, rice and dal or masale bhat, raita and some papad for a crisp. The kadubu acts as a sweet flavour break from all the different savoury dishes. Read on below for a simple recipe to make the fried kadubu:


For the stuffing:

1 cup chana dal

¾ cup grated jaggery

1 tsp cardamom powder

For the coating:

½ cup wheat flour

2 tbsp semolina

4-5 tsp ghee

Water for kneading

Oil for frying


For the stuffing:

1. Soak the chana dal in water for 1-2 hours. Rinse thoroughly and boil the dal using fresh water until it is completely cooked without becoming mushy.

2. Strain the cooked chana dal and transfer it into a blender to grind to a smooth paste.

3. In a thick-bottomed pan, add the paste and the jaggery and cook on a low flame stirring continuously. Stirring will ensure that the mixture is not sticking to the bottom of the pan.

4. Keep cooking the mix until all the moisture drains out. Add cardamom powder and switch off the flame once it all comes together as a dry stuffing.

For the coating:

1. In a large bowl, mix wheat flour and semolina and start adding ghee to combine the flour.

2. Gradually add water as required to knead to acquire a stiff dough akin to one made for a puri. 

3. Cover with a towel and set aside for 15-20 minutes.

For the kadubu

1. Pinch out small balls from the dough and knead into little puri-shaped rounds.

2. Place 1-2 tbsp of the stuffing in the centre of the puri.

3. Apply water to the edges of the dough and bring them together sealing the stuffing inside completely.

4. Heat oil in a frying pan. Fry the kadubu, 2-3 at a time, until they acquire a golden-brown hue and remove from the pan to strain on a wire rack. Warm kadubus are now ready to be served. Enjoy with ghee!