Tucked away in interior Karnataka in Southern India, Malnad (Kannada: Malenaadu) is a land endowed with beauty. Top grosser when it comes to rainfall, Agumbe, the Cherrapunji of South India, is quietly ensconced amidst mountain ranges of Sahyadri, the heart of Malnad and quiet flows River Tunga down the mountain ranges. Celebrated Indian novelist R K Narayan's imaginary landscape 'Malgudi' for lakhs, thanks to director Shankar Nag's epic serial 'Malgudi Days', the place is also second highest annual rainfall receiver in India.
As diverse as Indian cuisines, Malnad's expertise in cooking is also varied. That a small part in Southern Karnataka has so much to offer in culinary, could be an enigma. But that's how heavily forested Malnad is: A mystery, a riddle.
Be it steamed dishes like Halasina Hannina Kadabu or chutneys like Halasinakai Chutney, Brinjal Chutney(badnekayi chutney) or pickles like Amtekaayi Uppina kaayi, Nallikai (Amla) Uppina kaayi, they all have their stamp of Malnad all over them. Such is the art of Malnad cooking that a single dish like 'Kadabu' has many verities: Sihi Kaayi Kadabu which is made of coconut, Arasina Yele Kadabu which are steam rolled in turmeric leaves and Benne Kadabu made of butter.
Richness in its biodiversity has a cookery angle to it too. Locally available resources have been experimented with and have subsequently made their way to be staple diet for a Malenaadiga. Well that explains Kesuvina Gantu and 'Aanabe (Mashroom)' making it to the kitchen in Malnad. Kumbalakaayi Balaka and many more recipes are reflective of patience in cooking among Malnad women. Above all, Malnad's veritable delicacies are best when served hot.
Here is an invitation to dwell deep into the world of Malnad's dishes.
Eventhough Malnad recipes were the inspiration of this website, this website now has hundreds of Recipes from other parts of Karnataka, South India, North India and worldwide.