Call it Coorg, call it Kodagu, but one thing is for sure - this place can grow on you in one short trip! You might visit Coorg and leave it, but the memories of its beauty will never leave you. Situated on the Western Ghats of Karnataka in South India, Coorg has Bangalore, which is trendy and happening, as its close neighbour.
Let us take coffee and Coorg as synonyms simply because Coorg district is the largest producer of coffee in the country. A special 'monsoon-fed coffee' is worth mentioning. This coffee is grown under the shades of large aromatic trees. Tea is also a popular beverage as the British left behind this fondness for the cuppa. But coming to the cuisine, the Coorgis’ fondness for kadi (good food) and kudi (liquor) is legendary. They are essentially rice eaters, fond of their sannakki, a fragrant variety of rice, which they consider to be more fragrant than Basmati of the North.
Coorgis use rice in a wide variety of traditional dishes that come in many shapes and forms like akki rotti (rice chapattis) to a large variety of puttus (steam-cooked snacks). And then there are a variety of rice pulavs - from the simple, dainty ghee rice garnished with raisins and nuts to the more elaborate and spicy vegetable, chicken and mutton pulavs. Coorgis are strict non-vegetarians. No Coorgi meal is complete without at least one non-vegetarian dish! Pork is an all-time favourite, cooked as pandi curry and served with kadambuttu for breakfast or with rice at other meals. Meat, chicken and fish are cooked in a variety of ways with different combinations of spices. They may be fried, roasted, grilled or cooked as a curry with gravy.
Coorgis are also partial to vegetable dishes that use produce from their forests and fields – like tender bamboo shoots, wild mushrooms, or even tightly coiled tender leaves of a variety of fern, unripe jackfruit and its seeds, stems of the banana plant, leaves of the colocassia plant, colocassia yam, raw mangoes, ripe mangoes and horse-gram. Chutneys are made not only from coconut, but from gingelly seeds, horse gram and jack fruit seeds. Coorgis also make pickles using pork, fish, mushrooms, tender bamboo, gooseberries and bitter orange.
Here we bring you some of the better known Coorgi recipes.