The Food Of Coorg: An Underrated Gem

Coorg is renowned for its magnificent green landscape, distinctive culture, and delicious food. Coorg cuisine is as distinctive as the Kodava people who create it. It is defined by the people's food preferences as much as their culture and history. 

The Kodava people and their history have influenced Coorg cuisine in several ways. The Coorg people have been agricultural laborers since time immemorial. Besides rice, coffee, spices, and fruits were first brought to Coorg. They have also been hunters, gathering wild meat before foraging for bamboo, wild mushrooms, green leafy vegetables, and fruit of all kinds for their diets. As a result of a judicious combination of meat, spices, vegetables and fruits, Coorg cuisine was born. 

The traditional food of Coorg

Food is an essential part of Kodava culture and it is not taken lightly. A Kodava family's daily meal consists of simple food. Breakfast is a significant part of a Kodava household where flatbreads made with rice are served with koot curry (mixed vegetables in a coconut paste) and palya (vegetable stir fry). The akki otti (flatbread made with rice) is sometimes substituted with puttus (rice dumplings and cakes) that have been steamed and boiled. Freshly made condiments and jams are also an important part of breakfast.

A simple meal of steamed rice with vegetable curries and stir-fried vegetables is served for lunch. Rice or rice rotis are consumed with the same curries and stir-fries for dinner. Meat and poultry were once delicacies served only during celebrations and festivals. The availability of preserved game meat and dried fish has made it a part of the everyday diet. Meat, fish, and poultry are now consumed regularly.

Coorg cuisine is also dependent on the seasons. During the monsoon and winter, Coorg people needed to eat food that gave thermal warmth, so bamboo, wild mushrooms, mud crabs, and chutneys were served. During the summer, they ate wild mango curries, jackfruits, and wild fruits. Instead of simple food, festivals or celebrations encouraged extravagance, with spicy meat dishes, subtly flavored rice dishes, vegetables, and sweets being served. Cooking still employs traditional methods and spices judiciously, creating a light but tasty food.

Coorg delicacies you must try when visiting there

Pandi Curry (Coorg’s signature dish)

Pandi curry is an iconic dish Of Coorg cuisine. It is a pork curry that has a signature sour and spicy taste thanks to the kachampuli fruit. Kachampuli is the concentrated fruit extract of a Garcinia Gummi Gutta fruit. It has a distinct dark color and is excellent with kadambuttu and akki otti. It is also good with koora (a local spicy vegetable mix).

Noolputtu (Steamed rice noodles)

Noolputtu is nothing but steamed rice noodles. You will be pleasantly surprised by the unique taste of noolputtu noodles. These string hoppers (steamed rice noodles) consist of fine rice noodles made from a dough of broken rice and water. A noolputtu vara (a small tubular press mounted on a stand) is used to make the noodles. A plate is placed under the press to catch the noodles as they are slowly turned.

Baimbale Curry (Bamboo Shoot Curry)

Coorg cuisine's during the monsoons change and a delicacy known as the bamboo shoot curry is relished by the people during the rainy season. The bamboo shoots, known as baimbale, takes several days to be prepared into baimbale curry. They peel and then cut baimbale into thin strips before washing and soaking it in cold water for three days. The baimbale is washed and the water is changed daily. It is boiled for three days, after which it is cooked. The bamboo shoots are tempered with spices and coconut paste after being boiled for three days. It is finally ready after a tempering of mustard seeds, chilies and garlic is poured over it. It is eaten with akki otti. 

Kadambuttu: Steamed Rice Dumplings 

Kadambuttu is Coorg's most famous rice dumplings. They're buttery, delicious little balls of rice that melt in your mouth. Kadambuttu is made using kadumbuttu thari, a rice dough that has been cooked in boiling water with a little bit of ghee until it becomes a thick, malleable dough. When the cooked dough is blended with a little bit of butter, it is rolled into small balls. The kadumbuttu are then steamed once more until they're completely cooked. The kadumbuttu is served with the famous pandi curry or vegetable curry, and if you eat it with shunti pajji (ginger and coconut chutney), there's no going back.

 Koovaleputtu: Steamed Jackfruit Cake

Jackfruit cakes are usually prepared by steaming them in banana leaves. They are made with banana or jackfruit pulp, broken rice, and coconut shavings. Banana leaves are used to line the steamer and steam koovaleputtu. The Filipino suman (sticky rice cakes wrapped in banana leaves) is also similar to the koovaleputtu. When served, the koovaleputtu is served warm with a spoonful of ghee. When eaten fresh off the steamer, the koovaleputtu is great, but the toasted version is best. There are leftovers for another day and they are toasted in ghee.

Food gives you a better idea of a place than any guidebook. The Coorg cuisine dishes up a lot of information about the region. You must visit Coorg to eat the dishes that compose the Coorg table's starry menu. But don't just eat pandy curry, kadambuttu, and akki otti. Also try other stars of Coorg’s cuisine.