In my previous article I discussed the seasonal nature of Kodava cuisine. Kodavas also have certain dishes that are connected to particular festivals. The Kodavas celebrate Kielpolud just after the rains in mid August or September. As paddy begins to ripen in the fields and huntsmen move through the jungle, they put away all their agricultural implements and bring out their guns and weapons, which would be cleaned and decorated with puv (flowers).

Kielpolud is one of the most diminished of Kodava festivals as the importance of the hunt has been curbed by wildlife laws and a changed way of life. Offerings of pork curry, kadambuttu, payasam and other cooked food, sometimes accompanied by a glass of liquor, are made as a sign of respect to their ancestors.

By mid October the sky and water are translucent. Goddess Kaveri comes up to the surface, the Kodavas consider themselves as the children of the river goddess. On the Kaveri Sankramana day, curries of tender young vegetables grown in the fields are cooked and along with dosas are offered to the goddess and their ancestors. This is one festival that is widely celebrated with vegetarian food.

kodava cuisine

Rice Fields – Photograph: Jose Ramapuram

 

Puttari means ‘new rice’, and is a rice harvest festival that usually comes in late November or early December. Puttari (a.k.a. huthri) is celebrated usually in the Ainemane (the ancestral home). On the night of the harvest celebration, certain dishes including pork curry, a dish referred to as puthari curry, curry of tiny fish found in the paddy fields, dried and curried. The Ainemane is decorated with mango and banana leaves and flowers, and proteins served include pork, mutton and chicken. Other foods which may be served include sweet dishes like akki payasa and thambuttu (a banana mash, which is a favourite), regular fare like otti (rice roti), paaputtu (steamed rice breads), kadambuttu (steamed rice powder balls), and nooputtu (freshly made rice noodles) are some of the dishes prepared during the celebration of harvest festival.

The other festivals which are celebrated in Coorg are Ugadi, Shivratri and Dusshera.

kodava cuisine

Thambuttu – Photograph: Megha D

 

Thambuttu Podi

Ingredients:
100gms par boiled rice
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
2 cardamom pods

Method:
On a heavy bottom pan, roast the ric, evenly on low flame for 10-15 minutes or till nutty brown. In the last few minutes of roasting, add fenugreek seeds and roast for 2-3 minutes. Turn off the gas, add cardamom and spread the mixture on a plate to cool. Grind into a fine powder and store in an air tight container. This mixture can be stored for a month or refrigerated for 3 months. Thambuttu podi is also available at some stores in Coorg, closer to the festival date.

 

Thambuttu

(Serves 4-6)
4-6 over ripe medium sized bananas
4 tbs thambuttu podi
2 tsp or more jaggery to taste
1/4 cardamom powder
A pinch of salt
2 tbsp dry roasted brown sesame (unhulled)
4 tbsp freshly grated coconut
Melted ghee

Mash the bananas, thambuttu podi, jaggery and cardamom together. The mix should be smooth but firm enough to hold its shape. Add more podi or banana if necessary. Sprinkle with toasted sesame and grated coconut, topped with melted ghee before serving.