Monday, 16 January 2012

From the hillscape of Coorg

Coorg or Kodagu is the south-western district of Karnataka bordering Kerala. The word Kodagu is derived from the word “Kudu”, which means “Hilly place”. It is situated on the western mountainous region of South India. Coorg was merged with Karnataka and became a district in Karnataka, which it remains till today. It has three talukas or districts, Madikeri, Somavarapete and Veerajapete. Madikeri is also the district headquarters of Coorg.
The people of Coorg are more to be loved than liked. One of the most hospitable people in India, the doors of their homes are always open to guests and they take pride in showing off their cuisine. Cosmopolitan in their outlook, they make friends easily.  They have the local Hindu customs and kept their valuable traditions, dress and Peechekati (traditional dagger) intact. These are now the cultural treasures of the Coorgies.
The Cuisine at  Coorg is highly influenced by the mouth-watering South Indian delicacies but also contrasts the same neighboring cuisines with slow cooked hearty soups like Yarchi Nad kanne (mutton broth) or Nalla mallu kanne(chicken drumstick soup), the cuisine leads its way to interesting starters like, Chakkai fry(sauteed raw jack fruit), yarchi brain fried( mutton brain), koli nalla mallu fry( spicy chicken ), koomu bharthad(sauteed mushrooms) and much more. Main course includes, Bamboo shoot curry, arbi phodu( colocassia), dal toi(tempered lentils), bendakai gossu(bhindi curry) ,chakkai curry( jackfruit ), etc. Even the non vegetarian fare is ebullient with, Pandi chootad(bbq porkchops), pandi curry, also yarchi mangai curry(lamb n raw mango)and Coorgi yarchi pulao are favorite items on the menu. Nai kullu (ghee rice) and veechi paratha are popular accompaniments. Desserts include, alabai(rice and coconut halwa), khus khus payasam, karjura halwa, coconut toffee, holige(puran poli), kolai puttu and much more.

Coorg can be called a land of Generals-  Field Marshall Cariappa, the first Commander-in-Chief of free India, and General Thimmayya being the most well known of the lot. Almost every household has at least one person serving in the defence. The birth of a male child, as well as their death ceremonies, are still celebrated with a gun salute. The cuisine of Coorg also shows  brave resilience amidst the South Indian cuisines.
Coorg is a very eco-conscious place. Coorgies are environmentally aware of their responsibilities towards nature and take great care to preserve it. They are highly appreciative of efforts made by anyone to conserve nature and applaud them. The aromas of the cuisine here have the fresh fragrance of nature and also includes earthy and robust flavours.
A lot of coconut, curry leaves, ginger, chilli and spices like pepper and cardamom, grown here in abundance are used. Most South Indian states boast of a vegetarian diet but Coorg has a very rich cuisine of dishes prepared with meat, pork being an all time favorite.
The ingredients though, bear a strong resemblance to those used to prepare the mouth-watering delicacies of the South. Thus we find abundant use of curry leaves, coconut and chilli. Pork, mushrooms, chicken, bamboo-shoots, rice and banana are but a few favorite ingredients that result in the delicious food prepared.

Aromas from Coorg, brings you traditional and exotic preparations from the region in earthenware and specialities like curries, meats and seafood, grills and coffee along with spice blends which are skillfully orchestrated and bring you the aromas which is worth remembering.

Devraj Halder

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