Everything You Need To Know About Malnad Cuisine

Malnad/Malenaadu cuisine is one of the oldest surviving cuisines of the Southern Indian state of Karnataka. 

Malnad is a region located in the Sahayadri mountain range that particularly covers eastern and western slopes of Western Ghats. The name literally translates into the local language as ‘male’ (rain) and ‘naadu’ (region).

This region is well known for its coffee and long sustaining cuisine. A well-known species of coffee is grown in this region, an estimated 70% of the coffee grown in India is from this belt.

Malnad cuisine:

Malnad cuisine is famous for its culinary skills and local delicacies with abundant use of fresh local produce. This cuisine is well known for incorporating unique ingredients in the diet. Bamboo shoot, Ajwain leaves (Indian borage), Raw Jack fruit, Colocasia leaves, Brahmi leaves are few to name.

Simple food prepared with local ingredients, aromatic Malnad filter coffee made from homegrown coffee beans characterises Malnad cuisine. Steaming is the favoured option of cooking, although very few dishes require more than minimal use of oil in this cuisine.

Typical Malnad Dishes

Rice is the staple diet and is used in many forms – steamed, ground and flattened. A day in Malnad household begins with Gojjuavalakki (Made with flattened rice)/Akki rotti (made with ground rice)/ Unde Kadubu (steamed rice dumplings) for breakfast.

Gasagase payasa (poppy seeds pudding), Seeme akki payasa (tapioca kheer/pudding), Sihi Kadubu (coconut jaggery stuffed dumplings) are most popular desserts.

Malnad meals are incomplete without an array of chutneys and pickles.

Here is the list of popular Malnad dishes:

Neer Dosa: A popular vegan and gluten-free crepe made with rice, coconut and doesn’t require fermentation.

Patrode :Β A tasty, healthy and steamed appetiser made with colocasia leaves, rice, spices and jaggery. It is known as Patra or Arvi leaves in west and northern parts of Indian and made with different spices.

Halasina hannina Mulka: A sweet fritters made with ripe jackfruit, rice and jaggery.

Thambuli: A simple yogurt based accompaniment served with hot rice and curry. There are different versions of thambuli that are generally prepared using fresh fenugreek leaves or fenugreek seeds or ajwain leaves or brahmi leaves.

Halasina hannina kadubu: A healthy and aromatic breakfast dish made with overripe jackfruit. Idli batter is made with ground jackfruit, jaggery, semolina, cardamom and steamed in banana leaf/Teak leaf.

Halasina Kayi Happala: Delicious papad (poppadum) made with raw jackfruit. Steamed raw jackfruit is mashed, pressed, sun-dried and stored in an airtight container. These dried papads are fried just before serving.

Appe Huli: A spicy, tangy, tongue-tickling soup made with raw mango.