15 Must Taste Malnad Dishes

The region is a food lover's paradise, offering a diverse range of dishes that are sure to tickle your taste buds. So, fasten your seatbelts as we take you on a gastronomic journey through the 15 must-try foods of Malnad.

15 Must Taste Malnad Dishes: a picturesque region nestled in the Western Ghats of Karnataka, India, is not just known for its breathtaking landscapes but also for its rich culinary heritage. The region is a food lover’s paradise, offering a diverse range of dishes that are sure to tickle your taste buds. So, fasten your seatbelts as we take you on a gastronomic journey through the top 15 must taste malnad dishes.

15 Must Taste Malnad Dishes

1. Akki Rotti

Akki Rotti
Akki Rotti

Akki Rotti is one of the most popular foods in Karnataka State. Even though the recipe varies from one region to another, this particular Malnad Akki Roti is the most common and favorite food among travelers here. The main ingredients of Akki Rotti look almost similar to that of neer dosa. The texture and the diverse taste are what distinguish them apart.

2. Filter Coffee

Filter Coffee
Filter Coffee

The Malnad region of Karnataka is located on the western and eastern slopes of the Western Ghats and is famous for its coffee plantations. The Malnad coffee has a legendary reputation for being one of the best filter coffees South India has to offer. There is a unique way behind this filter coffee making and that’s what makes it special.

3. Pathrode

Pathrode
Pathrode

One of the most popular and typical Malnad food is Pathrode. It is also known by the name Patravadi and consists of key ingredients like colocasia leaves commonly known among the locals as pathrode leaves, rice, coconut paste, tamarind, and spices.

4. Jackfruit dishes

Jackfruit dishes
Jackfruit dishes

A variety of jackfruit-based dishes is one of the specialties of Malnad food. Snacks like Halasina Hannina Kadubu or Jackfruit Idli and Kayi Kadubu are the most popular among them. Both are the steamed version of sweets and have influenced the creation of several varieties of similar snacks across the state.

Halasina Hannina Mulka or Jackfruit Fitters and Halasina Kayi Pappad or Jackfruit Papad are 2 other famous jackfruit-based Malnad foods. The jackfruit dishes vary from sweet and savory as there are plenty of recipes used regularly. There are a lot of jackfruit dessert recipes available too.

5. Hesarubele Carrot Kosambari

Hesarubele Carrot Kosambari
Hesarubele Carrot Kosambari

Another important Malnad dish is Hesarubele carrot Kosambari also known as Mung dal carrot salad. The simplicity of the dish is what makes it so special. Soaked raw green gram dal or mung dal and grated carrot are the main ingredients used in the preparation of this salad.

6. Huli Avalakki

Huli Avalakki
Huli Avalakki

Malnad style Huli Avalakki or Gojjavalakki is a tasty savory breakfast dish popular among the locals. Prepared by boiling salt, jaggery, and tamarind and then mixed with roasted red chili, gram dal, and urad dal powder, it is said to induce a sensory explosion in your taste buds. The Huli Avalakki recipe has a lot of different variations.

7. Rice halwa

Rice halwa
Rice halwa

Halbai or halubai recipe explained with step by step pictures and a video. Halbai is a kind of rice halwa or rice cake prepared using rice, jaggery and coconut. In this halu bai recipe little cucumber also added to get added flavour and taste. Halbai or halubai is a very healthy food and is generally prepared on Nagara panchami, a hindu festival. This type of Halbai is in practice across Udupi, Mangalore and Malnad region of Karnataka.

8. Kadubu

Kadubu
Kadubu

Although these are essentially steamed rice flour balls or dumplings, Kadubu can be prepared with just so many variations! Prepared with jackfruit during its season, filled with a coconut-jaggery mixture and shaped like a modak during Ganesh Chathurthi or laden with Malnad spices…we could go on with its many versions. While it’s usually served for breakfast or evening snacks with chutney, the plain version can also be had for lunch with a flavourful curry to go with it.

9. Koli Saaru

Koli Saaru
Koli Saaru

Prepared with the region’s spices, ingredients like poppy seeds and coconut paste, the classic Malnad-style Koli Saaru might look like your regular chicken curry but it’s sure to surprise you with its spicier taste. It goes well with anything from Kadubu or Ragi Mudde to roti or rice. Often prepared on special occasions in Malnad households, the dish might just take you down memory lane, we think.

10. Pumpkin Idli

Pumpkin Idli
Pumpkin Idli

While you might find quirky and fancy idlis in restaurants, you’ll probably have to trudge all the way to the Malnad region to try these healthy Pumpkin Idlis or Cheenikayi Kadubus. The best part? It can be made in sweet or spicy variants. The former has coconut and jaggery giving its sweetness while the latter kind is made with red chilli and ginger to give it a spicy kick. Which one would you try?

11. Pandi Curry

Pandi Curry
Pandi Curry

The Kodava-style spicy Pandi curry has been among our favourite Malnad dishes ever since the first time we tasted it. With the Kachampuli adding a twist to the flavours and the juicy pork to dig into, this semi-dry preparation can be mopped up with PapputtuKadubuSanna or just about anything you like, really. We’re already craving for some of this!

12. Thambuli

Thambuli
Thambuli

A refreshing addition to your meal, this Malnad speciality is a yoghurt-based dish made with herbs, spices, coconut and different veggies. Usually served with steaming hot rice and delicious sambhar, the dish is known to have cooling effects. While doddapatre leaves (ajwain leaves) are commonly used to prepare Thambuli, you’ll often see that households substitute it with any seasonal ingredient available. Think Spinach Thambuli, Coriander Thambuli or Ginger Thambuli.

13. Appekkayi Saaru (Raw Mango Saaru)

Appekkayi Saaru (Raw Mango Saaru)
Appekkayi Saaru (Raw Mango Saaru)

Also known as Appe Huli or Appe Rasa in the Malnad region, this spicy and tangy rasam version is made with raw mangoes. The dish can either be enjoyed as a soup of sorts, downed in between your meal or even with rice. Just the kind of comfort food we long for when we’re homesick!

14. Appe Midi Uppinakayi (Tender Mango Pickle)

Appe Midi Uppinakayi (Tender Mango Pickle)
Appe Midi Uppinakayi (Tender Mango Pickle)

How can we talk about Malnad specials and not mention this signature pickle that finds its way into almost every meal? Specially prepared with the tender mangoes found in this region, the pickle often involves a dry masala paste which adds to the burst of flavours. The spice levels can vary according to the quantity of red chilli used. Want to skip the usual roti and rice to go with this? Try it with dosa or curd rice, we suggest.

15. Kai obattu or holige

Kai obattu or holige
Kai obattu or holige

Kai obattu or holige, is a coconut stuffed flatbread. A traditional meal in karnataka, tamilnadu and andhra pradesh, will start with holige. Must try when at chikmagalur.

Malnad cuisines open up a new world of sensory experiences to you. The simplicity in its ingredients and the use of fresh spices make it completely different from all other cuisines in Karnataka. The cuisine of Malnad draws its inspiration from their culture and traditions and locally grown food ingredients.

Malnad’s culinary delights are sure to take you on a flavorful journey like no other. From savory dishes to mouthwatering sweets, the region offers a wide variety of options to tantalize your taste buds. So, the next time you visit Malnad, make sure to savor these top 15 foods that truly capture the essence of this gastronomic paradise.

15 Must Taste Malnad Dishes

  • Akki Rotti
  • Filter Coffee
  • Pathrode
  • Jackfruit dishes
  • Hesarubele Carrot Kosambari
  • Huli Avalakki
  • Rice halwa
  • Kadubu
  • Koli Saaru
  • Pumpkin Idli
  • Pandi Curry
  • Thambuli
  • Appekkayi Saaru (Raw Mango Saaru)
  • Appe Midi Uppinakayi (Tender Mango Pickle)
  • Kai obattu or holige

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