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Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Event: BM #47
Theme: One State - Different Cuisines
My Choice: Karnataka State - Kodagu Cuisine
Course: Breakfast

I chose to go with the Kodagu region for today. Living in Karnataka for most part of my life, I roughly have an idea about the geogarphy and the customs of the region. Kodagu that also goes by the anglicized name 'Coorg' and often dubbed as 'Scotland of India" is located in the Western Ghats. This administrative district in the southwestern region of Karnataka happens to be one of the top hill stations in India and a great tourist spot. Most of Kodagu's economy is based on agriculture, plantations and forestry. Kodagu is famous for it's coffee plantations and in fact, coffee revenue helped Kodagu to become one of the richest districts in India. Besides coffee, Kodagu is famous for its unique variety of oranges and forest honey. I remember that when I was younger, we always used to get Coorg honey through one of my father's colleagues.

Kodagu has a rich wildlife and has three wildlife sanctuaries and one national park. The river Kaveri originates in this region at Talakaveri. The river on the banks is dedicated to Lord Brahma, one among the only two Brahma temples in India. Other attractions include Bhagamandala, Nagarahole national park, Iruppu falls, Abbey falls and others. Bhagamandala is a 'Triveni Sangama' - where three rivers Kaveri, Kanika and Sujyothi meet.

The dominant community of the Kodagu region is Kodava, an ethnic indigenous group who were chiefly farmers and militiamen in the past. Guns and swords are essential for their religion, as ritual cult objects and they hold rights to carry light arms. Even a Kodava wedding is an unique affair. No priests are involved like in other Indian communities.

Traditional Kodava Dress:
One can easily recognize kodavas based on their traditional garbs, which of course they (especially men) seldom wear when living in the other parts of the state. I think with the changing ways of the modern world, Kodavas probably wear the traditional dress only on special occasions. The traditional dress for men includes a 'Kupya' - a knee length, half sleeved black coat worn over a full sleeved white shirt. A maroon and golden colored sash is tied at the waist and an ornately carved, silver dagger is tucked into it. Whereas a traditional dress for a Kodava women would be a saree which is draped in an unique way. It is pleated at the back and pallu also comes from back to front and tucked over shoulder. The blouse women wear usually would be a full length or 3/4th sleeved one and they cover their heads with a pice of cloth that usually matches their attire. If you are interested, check this link to see how they dress. (Some info from online sources)
Coming to today's recipe, it is going to be Kadambuttu - a guilt-free and gluten free breakfast option from the Coorg Region. As in most south Indian homes, rice plays an important part in Kodava / Coorgi cooking too. Among the long list of rice based 'Kodava' dishes, comes this traditional puttu. Puttu generally refers to steamed rice cakes that maybe either savory / sweet. There are three puttus that are quite popular in the region made with akki thari or coarsely ground rice - paputtu, nuuputtu and kadambuttu. In the case of kadumbuttu, thari (rice rava) is cooked, shaped into balls and then steamed. It is similar to Andhra undrallu without the seasoning. While with nuuputtu, the cooked thari is pressed into strings like noodles and then steamed. 
Usually kodavas prepare kadambuttu from scratch, making their own thari, where rice is ground in such a way that each grain is approximately broken into 3 - 4 bits. Store bough rice rava / idli rava could make a quick and easy substitute. These steamed rice balls are served with a a non-veg side dish like pork or chicken curry since majority of the Kodavas are non vegetarians. Vegetarians can serve this with a vegetable curry, dal or even chutney.

Ingredients: (Make about 15)
2 & 1/2 cups water
3/4 to 1 tsp. salt to taste
1 cup akki thari / rice rava
1 - 2 tbsp. ghee

* Bring water to a boil in a sauce pan. Stir in salt. Next add rava, stirring it continuously with a sturdy ladle to avoid the mixture forming any lumps. 

* Cover and let the mixture cook on low flame until done, about 10 minutes. The mixture should be moist and well done after cooking but not dried out. (In that case, add a small quantity of hot water, mix and cook further.)
* Remove the mixture from fire and cover. Let it cool enough to handle. Grease your palms with ghee and make smooth, lime sized balls out of the cooked mixture.

* Line a stainless steel container with a muslin cloth or a thin, breathable cotton cloth and place the balls to be steamed without overlapping. Cover loosely with muslin cloth and place it in a steamer/ idly cooker or a pressure cooker without the whistle on.
 * Steam on medium flame for about 20 minutes.

* Remove and serve hot with a side dish of your choice.

Check what other marathoners are cooking during this marathon.



Kalyani said...

So unique to read this ... Karnataka seems a popular state this month's BM :)) and look forward to ur series Suma !

Varada's Kitchen said...

These are so similar to East Indian rice dumplings! There are so many dishes with steamed rice.

Priya Suresh said...

Looks like uppu kozhukattais from TN, kadambuttu looks absolutely prefect for a guilt free breakfast or snacks.

kitchen queen said...

delicious and tempting.

Harini R said...

Very interesting read about the kodavas. I agree that these dumplings closely resemble undrallu.

Saras said...

Interesting and new to me!! Now I need to explore Karnataka recipes..

Jayashree said...

I've had these at a home stay in Coorg. They served it with a really nice, spicy red chutney and it was so good. Nice, informative post, Suma.

Sneha's Recipe said...

Wow such stunning and milky white kadambuttu.

Sneha's Recipe said...

Wow such stunning and milky white kadambuttu.

Chef Mireille said...

what an interesting introduction. Although I chose this state also, I did not find as much information on the kodavu as you and I thoroughly enjoyed learning so much more here.

Pavani said...

That dish is very similar to Andhra undrallu -- quick and easy snack.
I remember seeing the Coorg style saree in a Telugu movie song years ago -- I found it very interesting and unique.

Srivalli said...

Thanks for the detailed intro..very nice reading it and the dish sounds so healthy as well..

Unknown said...

They look fab & tempting. In andhra we make undrallu the same way but we do add few more ingredients to make them..

veena said...

What an intersting post. This looks delicious!!

Sandhya Ramakrishnan said...

It is good to similarities between dishes from different cuisines. Looks really good.