Legend has it that the Kodavas are descendants of Alexander the Great. This may account for the bravery in battle and the fierce individualism but it also accounts for the fact that they are pure non-vegetarians! Their meat is cooked with a lot of coconut, spices and curry leaves. There are many famous dishes you ought to try out. Which ones are not to be missed?
The Coorgis are a warrior tribe and have always been known for their love of pork. Since they largely lived off the land, it’s natural that they are predominantly non-vegetarians. The Coorgis’ eating habits were not easily influenced by anyone else and so, over time, pork (from wild boar), jungle mangoes, jackfruit and rice became their staple cuisine. The pork curry is legendary. Meat lovers will find it irresistible. For pork lovers it’s almost the Holy Grail. It is made with a special cause called kachumpulli. This sauce is a dark, blackish sauce made from the concentrated juice of imli or pulli as we call it in some parts of south India. A lot of Coorgi houses have a steady supply of this sauce as it acts as a preservative to meat. This is the base for the pork curry. Green chillies are preferred over red. Additional oil is rarely used as the meat is allowed to cook in its own fat. It can be eaten all by itself or in combination with several of the rice-based preparations the Coorgis are famous for.
Rice Based Items
String hoppers, otti (baked pieces of rice flour) and kadumbuttu (rice flour balls) are the most famous rice based items that form the base of a meal. Strong hoppers are spaghetti-like, round shaped rice items that have a delicate, filigreed look about them – like lace. They go very well with pork curry, stew, or even all by themselves, hot, and with a dash of sugar sprinkled over them. Kadumbuttu is very famous. It is a warm, nourishing rice based item and goes really well with the vegetarian dishes. If you like rice, you will love Coorgi items because it is the base for everything and they are very creative in terms of how they make it.
This is a savoury item. It is similar to the ‘pazham puri’ or ‘ethaka appam’ that is famous in Kerala. The dish is made from jackfruit or banana. It is important that the fruits are ripe. They are then steamed in banana leaves. This is a great 4 pm snack with tea or a nice invigorating cup of Coorgi coffee!
This is a dessert item. The ingredients are simple enough: rice flour (made from soaked, dried and powdered rice) cooked in jaggery syrup and bananas. Despite the simplicity of it all, the dish comes together with the flavour of life: nourishing, sensually pleasing, and evergreen. Of all the sweets made in Coorg, this one is closest to many people’s hearts. Different families make them in various ways but they are essentially fried dumplings or small cakes made from rice and jaggery with a few added ingredients like bananas or jackfruit.
The Rainbow Room, Amanvana’s restaurant, serves some of the tastiest Coorgi cusiine. If you’re driving down to Coorg or passing through Kushal Nagar make sure to drop in. You can watch the beautiful water cascade in the pool from the restaurant, see the river sparkling between the branches of the trees, and sip a beer while you’re at it.