Although buns are supposed to be baked and soft, this Mangalore specialty is all things deep-fried and sweet.
It isn’t easy to find the perfect breakfast to suit your mood early in the morning. You skim through the elements in your fridge and pick the first thing you see in front to eat. It could be bread, butter and some cheese, if you’re lucky. That’s the quickest bread possible when you have to rush to work. Then there are weekends when you want to laze around and indulge in some lavish breakfast because you have all the time in the world. In places like Mumbai, buns are a common breakfast treat. Also know as pav, these buns are paired with anything and everything. Soft and fluffy in texture and taste, the bun-maska combination is a classic Mumbai-style breakfast for those on the go. It only needs you to slather the butter on the bun and bite into it right after. There’s also something like burger buns. They are also baked in the oven and usually savoury.
Little did we know that there are some sweet buns waiting in a corner of the South for us. Yes, you read that right. Mangalore boasts of a special kind of breakfast known as Mangalore buns. Now, these buns shouldn’t be confused with the regular packet buns you get in the market because they are freshly prepared in the city. Early in the morning, a hint of sweetness travels from a nearby food shop in Udupi to the houses lined up on the street and everyone knows that it’s time for Mangalore buns. What makes these buns so unique is the fact that they are sweet in taste and not baked, but deep-fried like a poori.
So why are they called buns then? That’s a natural question that you may ask. The truth is that it is believed that these buns were created out of a need. In order to utilize the ripe bananas, they were mashed and added to the wheat flour and mixed together. This dough was rolled out and poured in hot oil to be deep-fried into something crispy. Interestingly, the Udupi cooks who created this in their kitchens loved it so much that they ended by being sold as Mangalore buns across Udupi and Mangalore. Later, they spread their fanfare to other parts of Karnataka and today, these buns are even more popular in Bengaluru.
Usually served with coconut chutney on the side, the Mangalore buns are soft and crispy at the same time. The mélange of sweet, tangy and sour flavours is what makes these buns so special. They are either made at home or served in local eateries during breakfast hours. Do you want to try them too? For making these buns, you need to start by making a smooth paste using baking soda, wheat flour, salt, sugar, ghee and overripe banana. Grind the ingredients and keep them aside. Next, add some wheat flour to this along with ghee to knead a dough. Roll out into smaller poori-like roundels. Pre-heat oil in a kadhai and place these buns in it. Once they turn golden-brown, take them out and serve with some coconut chutney or eat it as it is.
Here’s a detailed recipe to try.