August 18, 2022
CM Content Team
If you have not tried the famous dishes of Karnataka, you are missing out on some amazing blends of flavours.
Karnataka is a beautiful state on the southeastern coast of India. Blessed with stunning landscapes, the state is known for its beautiful culture and cuisine. The culinary culture of Karnataka is mostly influenced by its neighbouring states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Maharashtra, yet it has managed to carve its own identity and popularity.
Being a vast state with a good mix of people and communities coming from different states, the flavours of the food of Karnataka change from one region to another. While coastal areas like Mangalore and Uttara Canara are known for their tangy curries, south Karnataka is popular for its different types of Bath (mixed rice). The food in north Karnataka is much spicier than in other parts of the state.
If you are a foodie, you may inevitably be keen to taste the Karnataka famous food, but even if you are not, you must try these mouth-watering Karnataka delicacies.
Curries are an important part of authentic Karnataka dishes. Karnataka curries are famed for their rich flavours, unique combinations of spices and local ingredients. From aromatic and tangy to spicy, there are a lot of flavours for you to try.
Korri means chicken and Gassi is curry in the local Kannada language. This coconut-based curry comes from the Mangalore region, and it is usually served with Neer dosa, rice or roti. The combination of tender chicken, creamy coconut, and aromatic spices makes Kori Gassi a delicious and satisfying meal, perfect for those who appreciate the diverse flavours of Indian cuisine.
A traditional food of Karnataka, Kundapura Koli Saaru is another type of chicken curry that is made of an assortment of spices and coconut milk and is flavoured with ginger, garlic, and onions. The succulent, melt-in-your-mouth style chicken pieces are the perfect accompaniment for dosa or rice, and you can have it any time of the day and all day.
The name says it all about the dish’s origin. This pork-based curry is one of the traditional dishes of Karnataka. It is very popular in Coorg that both locals and tourists love. The meat is cooked in a special masala that is made of grounded local spices, and has a dark colour.
What makes this curry a favourite is the use of the extracts of a locally-grown fruit called kachampuli, which has a distinct sour taste and adds a beautiful flavour to the curry.
It is a spicy and flavourful curry from the Mysore region of Karnataka. It is a coconut-based curry made with a mix of vegetables like eggplant, drumstick, and potatoes, and spices such as cumin, black pepper, and fenugreek. The dish gets its rich flavour from the addition of freshly ground coconut and roasted lentils. Mysore Kuzhambu is one of the famous dishes of Karnataka and is typically served with rice or chapati and can be enjoyed with a side of yoghurt or raita to balance the heat from the spices.
This is a yummy, stuffed eggplant curry from North Karnataka. The eggplants are filled with a tasty mix of groundnuts, sesame seeds, onions, and spices like coriander, cumin, and red chilli powder. They're cooked in a tangy tomato and tamarind gravy, making it super tasty. Ennegayi is usually enjoyed with jolada rotti (sorghum flatbread) or rice, and is amongst the hit dishes of Karnataka during festivals and special occasions.
This is a traditional yoghurt-based curry from Karnataka that is made with vegetables like ash gourd, cucumber, or pumpkin. The dish is flavoured with a ground paste of coconut, green chillies, and cumin seeds, and tempered with mustard seeds and curry leaves. Majjige Huli has a creamy texture and a tangy taste, and it is often served with steamed rice. The dish is popular during summer months, as it is considered to be cooling and refreshing.
From gram flour and ghee-soaked delicacies to lentil-jaggery filling or sweet crisp pastries, the sweet dishes of Karnataka are as varied as its curry cuisine. Here are some of the mouth-watering desserts.
Amongst the famous dishes of Karnataka, Haalbai is made from staple ingredients like rice, jaggery, coconut milk and grounded coconut, which adds a distinct flavour and texture to the dish. This sweet is usually prepared during special occasions, and it can be eaten warm or cold as per your preference.
One of the quintessential local dishes of Karnataka, Chiroti is a sweet dish that is made using all-purpose flour or maida. Chiroti dough is rolled thin, and then folded into multiple layers. These layers result in a delicate, crunchy pastry after deep-frying. Post-frying, Chiroti is often dusted with powdered sugar or drizzled with sugar syrup to enhance its sweetness.
It is a flaky pastry that is dipped in cardamom-flavoured sugar syrup. The crunchy, sweet, delectable is too good for anyone to resist.
Mysore Pak is a delectable sweet hailing from the southern Indian city of Mysuru in Karnataka. It is a simple yet popular sweet all over India. This delicious sweet treat is made of only three ingredients, gram flour (besan), sugar and ghee. The result is a dense, fudge-like sweet that is often garnished with chopped nuts for added crunch. The texture is soft, and the ghee makes it rich, and irresistible.
Originating from the city of Dharwad in Karnataka, this traditional Indian sweet has gained immense popularity across the country. The delicacy is prepared by slow-cooking milk and sugar until it reaches a thick, fudge-like consistency. The mixture is then flavoured with a touch of cardamom, which imparts a subtle, aromatic essence. Once cooled, it is shaped into small, round pedas with a slightly chewy texture. Dharwad Peda is often enjoyed during festivals and celebrations and is one of the famous dishes of Karnataka.
A unique and authentic Karnataka sweet dish, Karadantu is a nutritious and delicious treat, typically consumed during festivals. The name is derived from the Kannada words "kara," meaning "mixed," and "dantu," meaning "edible gum." The main ingredients include a variety of nuts and dry fruits, such as almonds, pistachios, and cashews, which are combined with jaggery and edible gum. The mixture is then shaped into small balls or squares, creating a dense, chewy texture that is packed with flavour and energy. Karadantu is an excellent example of Indian sweets that incorporate healthy, natural ingredients.
This traditional Karnataka dessert holds religious significance and is often offered as prasadam in temples. Hayagreeva Maddi is made from Bengal gram (chana dal), which is cooked until soft and then combined with jaggery, ghee, and grated coconut. The mixture is flavoured with cardamom, lending a delicate, fragrant aroma. The dish is typically garnished with fried cashews and raisins, adding a delightful crunch and sweetness. Hayagreeva Maddi showcases the harmonious blend of flavours and textures and represents some of the authentic Karnataka dishes.
Hailing from the town of Gokak in Karnataka, Gokak Kardant is a delectable sweet made with jaggery, edible gum, nuts, and dry fruits. The process begins by melting jaggery, which is then combined with edible gum, creating a sticky, viscous mixture. Assorted nuts and dry fruits, such as almonds, cashews, and raisins, are added to the mixture, which is then allowed to set and cool. Once firm, the dessert is cut into squares or diamond-shaped pieces.
While the entire South is famous for its rice, some delicious authentic Karnataka dishes are made with rice. Blended with ingredients like lentils, brinjal and tamarind, these dishes capture Karnataka's diverse culinary essence.
Biryani. Just the mention is enough to make anyone’s mouth water. And, amongst the wide range Biryani varieties available in India, Mangalore biryani may not be as popular as others, but it is a Karnataka special food.
This dish is usually prepared with chicken meat, and it gets all its taste and flavour from the special Mangalorean masala paste, which is made of coriander seeds, cardamom, coconut, clove, ginger, cumin seeds, garlic, fennel seeds, dry red chilli, etc. The biriyani is usually served with curd or raita to balance the spiciness and the heat.
You can easily find Mangalore biryani all over Karnataka, but no point in guessing. The best place to visit in Karnataka to have this special food is Mangalore.
One of the most Karnataka special food, Bisi Bele Bath is a staple in every Kannadiga family. This comfort food is made of rice that is mixed in coconut-based curry and features an assortment of vegetables and to top it all it is served with a spoonful of ghee.
Another tasty and one of the famous dishes of Karnataka, Chitranna is a lemon-flavoured rice with vegetables. In some places, Chitranna is made with flattened rice or poha, instead of the traditional rice. It is a simple and tasty food that would fill your heart and tummy. Usually, the dish is served with a side of papad.
Commonly known as Tamarind Rice or Pulihora, it is a well-loved rice dish in Karnataka known for its tangy flavour. The dish features a tangy mix of short-grain rice, lentils, chillies, and spices. The Puliyogare paste, made by grinding these ingredients with tamarind extract and jaggery, is combined with pre-cooked white rice. This flavourful dish is often served with spicy coconut chutney and pairs well with Happala/Sendige (fryums) for added crunch and taste.
Like many traditional dishes of Karnataka this is made with grated coconut. People in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala also love it, and each place has its own version. It's often enjoyed during special times. To make it, you mix cooked rice with a mix of coconut, mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal, dried red chillies, curry leaves, and asafoetida. The yellow colour comes from turmeric, and coriander leaves add freshness. Best served warm, Thengai Saadam is a satisfying meal, often with yoghurt, pickle, or potato curry.
Vangi Bath is a tasty Karnataka rice dish with brinjal and special Vangi Bath powder. Cooked rice is mixed with sautéed brinjal and spices, creating a satisfying meal. Key ingredients like mustard seeds, chana dal, urad dal, dried red chillies, curry leaves, and turmeric powder give it a unique taste. Usually served with raita or plain yoghurt, Vangi Bath highlights Karnataka's diverse flavours. It’s tender brinjal and well-spiced rice make it a popular choice for everyday and special meals.
Tomato Bath is a delicious, tangy, and mildly spiced rice dish from Karnataka. It features cooked rice combined with a tomato-based sauce, onions, green chillies, and aromatic spices, such as turmeric, red chilli powder, and garam masala. This is one of the easy-to-prepare authentic Karnataka dishes and makes a perfect lunch or dinner option. The dish starts with sautéing onions, chillies, and curry leaves, followed by the addition of tomatoes and spices. Cooked rice is then mixed in, creating a vibrant, flavourful dish. Tomato Bath is typically served with raita or plain yoghurt, making it a satisfying and delectable meal.
Pongal is a classic South Indian rice dish, popular in Karnataka, made with rice and moong dal. It has sweet (Sakkarai Pongal) and savoury (Ven Pongal) versions. The savoury one, known as Khara Pongal, is often eaten for breakfast or lunch. It includes ingredients like crushed black pepper, cumin seeds, ginger, ghee, mustard seeds, curry leaves, and asafoetida. The rice and dal are cooked with these spices, creating a comforting and tasty meal. Ven Pongal is usually enjoyed hot with coconut chutney, sambar, or tomato and onion raita, giving a delightful taste of Karnataka's culinary tradition.
So, now that you are aware of the famous foods of Karnataka, which of these are you most excited to try?
If you are visiting the state anytime, you can enjoy many of these authentic Karnataka dishes, by booking your stay at the Club Mahindra resorts in Karnataka. The resorts in Karnataka by Club Mahindra are known to serve the best local food, and during your stay, you can taste some of these delicacies.
Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd. (MHRIL), a part of Leisure and Hospitality sector of the Mahindra Group, offers quality family holidays primarily through vacation ownership memberships and brings to the industry values such as reliability, trust and customer satisfaction. Started in 1996, the company's flagship brand ‘Club Mahindra’, today has over 250,000 members , who can holiday at 100+ resorts in India and abroad.