Friday, April 18, 2014

Karnataka thali

Traditional Karnataka Thali
Salt
Mango pickle
Chutney pudi
Hesarubele Kosambari (salad 1)
Kadalebele kosambari(salad 2)
Beans palya (vegetable 1)
Cabbage palya (vegetable 2)
Chitaranna (lemon rice)
Plain white rice (anna)
Yogurt pachadi 
Saaru (rasam)
Mango payasam (sweet)
Buttermilk (accompaniment)

Traditional Karnataka Thali

A colorful spread with a multitude of flavor. The cuisine of Karnataka includes many dishes that reflect the flavors of its neighboring regions and communities, as well as the state of Maharashtra to its North. Udipi, Malenadu, Kodagu, Mangalorean and Navayath cuisines are a part of cuisines of Karnataka.
Karnataka is famous for some typical dishes like the Bisi bele bath, Ragi rotti, Akki rotti, Saaru, Huli, Vangi Bath, Kesari Bath, Ragi mudde and Masala Dosa. Coastal Karnataka is famous for its tasty seafood curries. Among the sweets - Mysore Pak, Chiroti and a variety of Payasa are popularly well known.
A traditional spread of Karnataka for any celebrations or special occasions has certain rules about placement of the dishes. Served on a banana leaf with its pointed end to the left, from top left to right should be salt, pickles and chutney, two kosambaris and two palyas. From bottom left to right two varieties of rice such as vangi bhaat, lemon rice, followed by plain rice with sambhar on top, yogurt pachadi, rasam and a sweet dish (payasam) with buttermilk as an accompaniment.

My placement of dishes is not exactly what it should be because I was short on space and I wanted the thali to look pretty as well. 
I got this info from my friend Shubha. Thank you Shubha, it was great fun and a lot of work to get this meal together, and the delightful conversation and questions from my girls around the dinner table were an added bonus. 


Chutney pudi
Chutney pudi or literally translated chutney powder is a ground mixture of dry roasted herbs and spices. It is eaten in small quantities to enhance the taste of your food and is an important part of the thali. Traditionally it is either mixed with plain rice and ghee (clarified butter) or mixed with plain yogurt to form a dip. There are several types of chutney pudis based on the main ingredient, but generally they are sweet, sour, spicy and salty all at the same time.
Chutney Pudi 
Ingredients:
1/2 cup each urad and chana dal
10 dry red chilies (Kashmiri or Byagdi)
2 tsp brown sugar or jaggery
1/2 cup shredded coconut unsweetened
1 tsp oil
1 tbsp tamarind cut to small pieces
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 sprigs curry leaves
salt to taste
  1. Heat oil in a pan and roast chana dal till slightly red and aromatic. Transfer to a bowl to cool. 
  2. Repeat the process with urad dal, mustard seeds, curry leaves, red chilies and coconut, all separately. 
  3. Let them all cool to room temp. 
  4. Put all the ingredients in a food processor and coarsely grind. 
  5. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. 
  
Hisarubele kosambari 
Kosambari is a side salad , a must in the Karnataka thali spread. It is a blend of any raw vegetable and soaked lentils seasoned and tempered and typically does not involve any cooking. It is prepared during major festivals, marriages and other auspicious occasions, and also used as 'prasad' in temples. A similar salad made in Maharashtra is called Koshimbir. I made one with cucumber and moong dal, and the other with carrots and chana dal. Detailed recipe next week.

Kadalebele kosambari

Beans palya 
Palya is basically a generic term used to describe a variety of vegetable stir-fries served in every meal spread from Karnataka. There is no one specific ingredient that makes this dish, they are chosen to complement the meal. Thali will always have a minimum of two palyas. I made the green beans and cabbage palya. here are the recipes.
Green beans palya 
Ingredients:
1 lb green beans, chopped fine
1 tbsp fresh shredded coconut (can also use dry)
2-3 dry red chilies
1 tsp ginger julienne
1 tsp urad dal
1 tsp oil 
pinch asafoetida (hing)
1/3 tsp mustard seeds
1 sprigs curry leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
salt to taste
  1. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, let them spatter for 5-7 seconds.
  2. Add hing, red chilies and urad dal and fry for a 30 seconds till dal becomes aromatic.
  3. Add curry leaves and ginger followed by chopped beans. All all the spice powders and salt and stir to mix well.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and cover the pan. Cook for 7- 10 minutes stirring 1-2 times in between till beans are cooked through and tender crisp. Remove from heat and add coconut. Stir to combine and serve hot. 
Cabbage palya 
Cabbage palya 
Ingredients:
1 lb savoy cabbage, finely shredded
2-3 dry red chilies
1 tsp ginger julienne
1 tbsp raw peanuts
1 tsp oil 
pinch asafoetida (hing)
1/3 tsp mustard seeds
1 sprigs curry leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
salt to taste
1 tbsp fresh shredded coconut (can also use dry)- optional
  1. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, let them spatter for 5-7 seconds.
  2. Add hing, red chilies and peanuts and fry for a 30 seconds.
  3. Add curry leaves and ginger followed by chopped cabbage. All all the spice powders and salt and stir to mix well.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and cover the pan. Cook for 3-5 minutes stirring 1-2 times in between till beans are cooked through and tender crisp. Remove from heat and add coconut (if using). Stir to combine and serve hot. 
Vangi bhaat
Vangi bhaat or brinjal rice is one of the many famous rice dishes of southern India. There are two main variations of this dish - Maharashtrian and Karnatak. The main difference is in the spices. The following recipe is the Karnatak variation which uses coconut and curry leaves. Prepare the vangi bhaat masala (recipe in the image below) in advance and then making this dish is super quick. Click here for recipe.


Chitaranna (lemon rice)
Chittaranna is lemon fried rice. Also called Nimbekai Chitranna in Kannada it is the most commonly prepared rice dish in Karnataka. The rice is yellow from turmeric and flavored with lemon, fried peanuts and spices. Since it is so colorful it is often made for special occassions or festivals. Serve with raita, green beans palya or lentil stews like sambar or rasam. Detailed recipe in weeks to follow.

Yogurt pachadi 
Pachadi is a spicy, savory, sweet or tangy side dish, served as an accompaniment to any meal. Generally pounded, minced or cut into small pieces as per the pachadi recipe, the pachadi is cooked in different ways in different regions of Southern India. The pachadi recipe cooked in Tamil Nadu and Kerala comes in the form of a curry and resembles the “Raita” of North India in a number of ways. In Andhra Pradesh, this dish is prepared into a fresh pickle, which is eaten within 2 to 3 days as it doesn’t have a long shelf live.(source)
Yogurt pachadi is very refreshing and can be made with coconut, beetroot, cucumber, etc.
Yogurt pachadi 
Ingredients:
2 cups plain yogurt
1/4 cup fresh coconut
3-4 green chilies
1 inch ginger
salt to taste
Tempering
1 tsp oil 
1/3 tsp mustard seeds
2 sprigs curry leaves
  1. Finely grate or grind fresh coconut and ginger. Chop green chilies fine.
  2. Beat the yogurt and add all the above with salt to taste.
  3. Temper with mustard seeds and curry leaves.
Saaru (rasam)
Saaru or rasam as it is more commonly known is a soup prepared with tamarind or tomato as the base. Seasoned with various spices and with the addition of lentils it has a distinct aroma and taste. Rasam can be served with rice or as a soup separately as a starter. A yumilicious treat indeed. I made tomato rasam. This dish needs its very own post so I will give a detailed recipe in weeks to follow. 

Huli (sambhar)
Sambhar is the most well known of the south Indian dishes all over India. This lentil based dish can be served with rice, dosa, idli, masala vada, and is an indispensable part of this thali. There are subtle spice variations in the sambhar pudi/ sambhar powder in each household and different regions of Southern India. Find my recipe here.


Mango payasam 
Payasam or kheer is prepared as the end of meal dessert or specially during festivals as an offering to the God. This milk based pudding can be made with anything rice, broken wheat, vermicelli, mango, rava, sago, carrot, you name it. Mango payasam is a real delight and cools off your palette after the spicy meal. Detailed recipe in weeks to follow.