Kodava Cuisine – Festive Food of Coorg

Published on: 09/11/2018

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Photo title: Rice Fields

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Photo Credits: Jose Ramapuram

In my previous article I discussed the seasonal nature of Kodava cuisine. Kodavas also have certain dishes that are connected to particular festivals.

 

Mid august or September, is the calling of the huntsmen. They would put away all their agricultural tools and bring out their guns and weapons of their clan, which was cleaned and decorated with flowers.

 

Kielpolud is one of the most diminished Kodava festivals as the importance of hunt has been curbed by wildlife laws. Offerings of pork curry, kadamputtu, payasam and a glass of liquor is also offered as a respect to their ancestors.

 

By mid October, Goddess Kaveri comes up to the surface of the pond and Kodavas considered themselves as the children of river goddess. On the Kaveri Sankramana day, curries of tender vegetables are cooked with dosas and offered to the goddess and their ancestors. Albeit this festival is widely celebrated with vegetarian food.

 

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). The aine mane is decorated with mango or banana leaves and the first harvest of dry paddy. On the night of the harvest celebration, traditional delicacies are prepared which may include pork curry. Other foods which may be served include sweet dishes like akki payasa and thambuttu (a banana mash, mixed with roasted rice and fenugreek flour, jaggery, coconut), rice based dishes like otti (rice roti), paaputtu (steamed rice breads), kadambuttu (steamed rice powder balls) and nooputtu (freshly made rice noodles) are made for the festive feast.

 

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

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Photo title: Thambuttu

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Photo Credits: Megha D

Thambuttu Podi

 

Ingredients:

 

100gms par boiled rice

 

¼ tsp fenugreek seeds

 

2 cardamom pods

 

Method:

 

On a heavy bottom pan, roast the rice, 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.

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Megha D

Megha shares a strong bond with Coorg from her maternal side. She spent most of her summer holidays with her grandparents exploring nature and Coorg delicacies. Brought up in two entirely different cultures, gives her an outside perspective. Coorg has also been her favourite because it reminds her of her childhood. When not eating or strolling in her coffee estate, she runs a homestay with her mother and loves to entertain her guests with her cooking and stories. She has been covered organically in several publications like Vogue, Progressive Grocer, Grazia, TOI, Indian Express to name a few.

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