Mangalore Ghee Roast and More: Explore the Cuisine of Karnataka

Cuisine of Karnataka Blog


Exploring Karnataka's food is like looking through a colourful cookbook, with each area showing its own special dishes and traditions. Let's start at the coast and move inland, discovering famous meals that represent this lively state.

Coastal Delights: Mangalore Ghee Roast


Mangalore Ghee Roast - a mouthwatering dish from Mangaluru all the way! It's super yummy, and you'll love every bite. The creation of this dish is credited to Mrs. Padmavathi, an expert in authentic Mangalorean recipes and the wife of a restaurant owner. Her culinary skills brought this delightful recipe to life, traditionally using chicken marinated in a mixture of ghee and spices, slow-roasted to achieve its signature fiery red colour and rich flavour. It was her son, Mohandas Shetty, who brought this dish out of the family kitchen and popularised it, making it a favourite far beyond its hometown.

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Mangalore Ghee Roast

From the Hills of Coorg: The Tradition of Kadubu

Kadubu, a beloved local dish of Coorg (Kodagu), a district in the state of Karnataka, India, is deeply rooted in the community's celebrations. Made from rice flour and often filled with sweet or savoury ingredients, kadubu represents the simplicity and richness of Coorg’s culinary practices.

Comfort in a Pot: Bisi Bele Bath

Bisi bele bath

Bisi bele bath, translating to 'hot lentil rice', is a hearty dish that's a staple in Karnataka. Combining rice, lentils, vegetables, and a unique spice blend, this dish is a complete meal. Originating from the royal kitchens, it has evolved into a comfort food beloved across the state, often accompanied by crunchy papad or a dollop of ghee.

The Royal City of Mysore: Mysore Pak, Masala Dosa, and Bonda

Mysore Pak

The Maharaja of Mysore, Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV, was known for his love of food, maintaining a large kitchen at the Amba Vilas Palace. It was here that Kakasura Madappa, the head chef, created the now legendary Mysore Pak. Experimenting to please the king, he mixed gram flour, ghee, and sugar into a soft concoction. When asked for its name, Madappa spontaneously responded with 'Mysore Pak.' The term 'Pak' in 'Mysore Pak' refers to a sweet syrup or mixture. In various Indian languages, 'pak' typically implies a concoction that is cooked to a certain consistency. 'Mysore' is the name of a city in the Indian state of Karnataka.

Speaking of sweetness, there’s the never-ending debate about Sambar. Karnataka sambar with its hint of sweetness, or the spicier Tamil Nadu version without the sweetness? 
Which one steals your heart? 
This friendly rivalry adds an extra layer of fun to South Indian culinary discussions.
And here continues the Dosa! 
Did you know that Bangalore is often called the dosa capital of India? 
This bustling city offers every type of dosa imaginable, from the classic masala dosa to innovative creations that keep food lovers coming back for more.
Dosa and Sambar

Mysore is also the birthplace of the Mysore masala dosa, famously known as Mylari dosa. Originating from the Vinayaka Mylari Hotel, this unique version of the dosa was developed by Gowramma, the grandmother of the current proprietor, Chandrashekar Chandra. For 88 years, this restaurant has been a go-to spot for food enthusiasts eager to enjoy the authentic taste of Mylari dosa, marked by its soft texture and richly flavoured filling.

Another Mysore speciality, Mysore Bonda, is a deep-fried snack made from urad dal and spices. It’s crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, perfect with a coconut chutney.

North Karnataka’s Staple: Jowar Roti and Ennegai

In the arid plains of North Karnataka, jowar roti and ennegai-stuffed brinjal curry - make up an outstanding meal. Jowar roti, pairs wonderfully with the rich and flavourful ennegai, a testament to the region's agricultural produce and culinary ingenuity.

Udupi Cuisine: A Vegetarian’s Delight

neer dosas

Udupi cuisine, originating from the temple town of Udupi, is renowned worldwide for its strictly vegetarian fare. This cuisine is famous for its neer dosas and kosambari

Each dish in Karnataka tells a story, not just of its ingredients and cooking techniques but also of the people and cultural moments it represents. So, if you visit this vibrant state, take the chance to try its different foods.