The Food of Karnataka – 8 Most Popular Items

Food of Karnataka

The Food of Karnataka is claimed to be one of the oldest in the country, dating back to the Iron Age. It mixes a variety of flavors, ingredients, and culinary techniques from its southern neighbors, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu, and northern neighbors, Maharashtra, with its rich gastronomic heritage. 

Karnataka also features one of India’s milder cuisines. There are many varied and various regions to visit, each having its distinctive cuisine to sample. North Karnataka, south Karnataka, Kodagu, Udupi, and Mangalore all have their regional staples and specialties, ranging from vegetarian cuisine to seafood and meat curries.

Some of the traditional food of Karnataka are rice, ragi, and jowar (millet), semolina, urad dal, huli (a thick broth made with vegetables, lentils, and a ground paste of coconut, chilli, tamarind, and spices), palya (vegetables), tovve (cooked lentils with minimal seasoning), kootu, kosambari (lentil and vegetable salad), saaru (clear pepper broth), obbattu (sweet flatbread also known as holige), payasa, papad, puri (rolled from wheat flour. In Karnataka’s cuisine, palm jaggery is also a popular component. Traditionally, banana leaves or muttuga leaves are used by the people in this region to serve food and these leaves are sewn together.

The food of Karnataka is influenced by its neighbors, including Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra. The flavors, on the other hand, differ from one location to the next. The food of Karnataka is region-specific with each region having its unique specialties. North Karnataka food, south Karnataka food, Kodagu, Udupi, Mangalorean, North Canara, and Navayath food are some examples of vegetarian and meat-eater-friendly food all belonging to the Karnataka cuisine. The sour seafood of Mangalore and Uttara Canara is well-known. Compared to the rest of Karnataka, the northern region’s food of Karnataka is spicier. 

Let us delve a bit deeper.

Food of Karnataka

The cuisine of North Karnataka is primarily vegetarian. Rice and jola (sorghum) are the region’s main crops. Jowar and wheat rotis are the major dishes, which are served with a variety of spicy curries, pickles, and buttermilk. Steamed rice and ragi (finger millet) are staples in south Karnataka cuisine, with the Ragi ball serving as the traditional meal (Ragi mudde). Benne Dosa (Butter Dosa), Akki Roti, and Ragi Roti are among the other must-try delicacies. Bisi bele bhath, Kesari Bath, and Vangi Bath are just a few of the rice delicacies available.

Seafood dishes abound in North Canara (Coastal Karnataka), with rice and fish curry serving as mains. Because of the various communities that have lived in the area, Mangalorean cuisine (Coastal Karnataka) is distinctive and diversified. The main components in most Mangalorean cuisines are curry leaves and coconut, as well as indigenous spices. Neer dosa, Kori Rotti, Mangalore Buns, and Macaroon are just a few of the famous local foods. Many Mangaloreans eat fish because they live in a seaside environment.

Rice is the basic dish of Kodagu cuisine, which comprises hot curries made from beef, poultry, or pork. The main ingredient in all of the curries is kachampuli (vinegar), which gives the meal its tanginess. The utilization of indigenous fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans is emphasized in Udupi cuisine. It’s a completely vegetarian cuisine made with jaggery, rice, and coconut. It consists of a variety of dosas and spicy rice. The cuisine of the Navayath is mostly found around the seaside. Mutton, poultry, shellfish, eggs, rice, and coconut are all common ingredients in Navayath cuisine.

The majority of the food of Karnataka specialties are prepared with native products, while the cuisine reflects some culinary traits of neighboring states. Karnataka cuisine has a lot of coconut and coconut oil, as well as native spices and curry leaves. Ghee (clarified butter) is also used in cooking for special events and festivals. 

Here are the top 22 traditional food of Karnataka cuisine that will please your taste senses.

Mangalorean Biryani
Food of Karnataka

This authentic food of Karanataka can be made with or without meat (typically chicken). The masala paste used to prepare the biryani is what gives it its Mangalorean flavor. This enhances the biryani’s core flavor. Coconut, coriander seeds, cardamom, fennel seeds, clove, ginger, dried red chili, garlic, and cumin seeds make up the paste. These ingredients are combined and crushed into a thick orange paste. After that, the veggies are sautéed and combined with the rice. Biryani from Mangalore is served with raita or curd.

Korri Gassi

Chicken is referred to as Korri, while the curry is referred to as Gassi. Succulent chunks of chicken are cooked in this stew with spices and ground fresh coconut. This is a well-known Mangalorean dish. It’s commonly served with a side of set dosa, neer dosa, or roti. 


Allugedda is a potato dish with tomato, onion, and black gram mixed into it. They’re frequently served with dosa or rice as a side dish. Allugedda can be made as spicy or as hot as the cook desires.

Bisi Bele Bhath
Food of Karnataka

One of the most popular Karnataka dishes is Bisi Bele Bhath. A flavorful all-in-one meal made out of rice, lentils, veggies, and spices cooked together. It’s usually accompanied by a hefty serving of ghee and boondi (potato chips). Bisi means “hot” in Kannada, hence this meal is best served hot. 

Kane Rava Fry

Kane Rava Fry is one of the traditional food of Karnataka. It is made up of Lady Fish that has been marinated in red chili paste and then fried after being covered with semolina. The fish is crisp on the exterior and delicate on the inside thanks to the semolina.

Neer Dosa 

In Tulu, the term ‘neer’ means ‘water.’ The rice dosa known as neer dosa is a popular dish in India. Rice must be soaked overnight for a few hours in water to prepare the dosa, and fermentation is not necessary. Due to the abundance of rice in Karnataka, Neer Dosa may be found at a variety of locations and eateries. Chutney, curry, or sambar are served with neer dosa.

Dharwad Peda

This sweet food of Karnataka is created from heated milk and stirred continuously, as well as sugar and condensed milk and is named after the city of Dharwad in Karnataka. The Dharwad peda is reported to have been invented by a 19th-century confectioner in Dharwad and has been designated as a Geographical Indication, making it well-known among Karnataka cuisines.

Mysore Pak
Food of Karnataka

Karnataka’s Mysore Pak is a well-known sweet. It was initially cooked using chickpea flour, ghee (clarified butter), and sugar in the kitchens of the Mysore Palace. The texture varies depending on how much ghee is used, from hard and porous (less ghee) to soft, dense, and fudge-like (more ghee).

Menthe Kadabu

Menthe kadubu isn’t as well-known as the other north Karnataka food dishes, but it’s still a culinary delight. Kadubu is a rice or wheat flour-based dish that is steamed until fully done. Later, these kadabus are stir-fried with menthe soppu, also known as fenugreek leaves, which are finely chopped and mixed with a tadka of mustard seeds and jeera seeds, as well as onion and curry leaves for a distinct flavor.

Mysore Masala Dosa

It is a Karnataka special food, starting with the famed Mysore Masala Dosa. The unique red spice mix spread on the interior of the dosa is what distinguishes Mysore Masala Dosa from other dosas. The red spice mix’s flavor and the crispiness of the Dosa will leave you wanting more. With coconut chutney, sambar, and plenty of ghee, the dosa is at its finest. 

Coorg Pandi Curry (Pork Curry)
Food Of Karnataka

We bring the delicacy of the star Coorgi to the comfort of our own homes. This meal is overflowing with strong flavors, with pork combined with roasted spices and sautéed with onion, garlic, cloves, and coriander leaves.

Mangalorean Bhende Puli Koddel

Another Karnataka special food is puli koddel, which is prepared from okra cooked in freshly made coconut masala. The rich scent and flavor of south-Indian spices will entice your taste buds. While the okra provides a crunchy texture, the coconut mixture’s jaggery and tamarind make it sweet, spicy, and sour at the same time. This traditional food of Karnataka is best served with steaming rice and has no onion or garlic.

Dahi Vada

Dahi Vada or Thayir Vadai is a popular north Karnataka food dish that may be seen on the menu. This form of Dahi Bhalla differs from the north Indian variety, which is a mash-up of acidic flavors. In South India, the dish is made on all eves and festivals, and it is also a traditional breakfast meal. Start your dinner with this simple yet delicious dish if you’re visiting a typical South Indian restaurant.

Coorg Pandi Curry

Pandi Curry is a non-vegetarian Karnataka special food dish from Coorg that is prepared whenever there is a reason to celebrate. The meal was formerly cooked with wild boar and vinegar produced from wild black fruit, but today’s version utilizes pork meat and a unique sour vinegar called “Coorg Vinegar.” The freshly ground spice combination gives the gravy a deep black color. It’s preferable to eat the dish with rice roti or rice balls.

Mavinakayi Nellikai Chitranna

A zesty and intriguing mix of amla, fresh mangoes, and rice will create enchantment in your kitchen. The mixture is imbued with the benefits of local herbs and spices before being cooked to fragrant, mesmerizing perfection. 

Chow Chow Bhath
Food Of Karnataka

Chow chow Bath is one of the perfect food of Karnataka for individuals who enjoy spicy and sweet foods at the same time. Khara Bath and Kesari Bath are two dishes in one. While Khara Bath is a spicy Upma prepared with peanuts and vegetables, Kesari Bath is a sweet Halwa with a saffron flavor. Semolina is used in both of these delicious meals (sooji). It is Karnataka’s favorite morning dish.

Maddur Vada

These fritters are one of the favorite food of Karnataka that are tough to put down once you start eating them. Maddur, a town in Mandya, Karnataka, is the source of this Karnataka cuisine recipe. Maddur Vada, unlike normal Vada, which resembles a doughnut, is made of maida, semolina, and a few spices. This popular fried snack may be found on trains and tea shops. With coconut chutney and filter coffee, this Karnataka delicacy is at its finest.

Ragi Mudde And Sopinna Saru

Ragi Mudde is a dish cooked with Ragi flour and water that is popular in rural Karnataka. The dough is shaped into balls and served with Sopinna Saru, a sauce composed of green leafy vegetables and lentils that has been boiled with spices. Saru’s steadiness makes Mudde simpler to swallow. This Karnataka special food dish is packed with nutrients and offers several health advantages.

Mysore Bonda

Mysore Bonda, unlike regular Bonda, is prepared using maida and yogurt. This delectable fried snack is extremely popular throughout the whole state of Karnataka, and some people prepare it with urad dal. Mysore bonda is traditionally eaten with coconut chutney, although it can alternatively be served with sambar.

Pori Urundai: Puffed Rice And Jaggery

In Karnataka, what we term murmura is known as Pori Urundai. It’s a delectable dessert made of puffed rice and jaggery. The taste is delicious, even though the recipe is relatively basic. It’s a snack that’s best enjoyed with a cup of coffee or tea.

Tatte Idli
Food Of Karnataka

Idlis, like dosas, are popular in South India. Steamed rice cakes with chutney and sambar are cooked using a fermented batter of black lentils and rice. The thatte idli, a plate-sized flattened version, is a popular Karnataka variation (thatte is the Kannada word for a plate). The rava idli, prepared with rava (or semolina), and the Muday idli, found in Mangalore, are two more prominent Karnataka variants.

Udupi Tomato Rasam

Rasam, a sour appetizer, is served to all south Indians to begin their meal. Udupi Rasam is a flavorful dish created with tomato and tamarind water, seasoned with spices. It’s a Kannada Brahmin dish that goes well with south Indian thali or is offered before meals. It’s a flavor explosion in your mouth that you won’t be able to stop at just one glass.

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