Coorg is known to many as the land of tranquil forests and hills, weekend retreats, coffee plantations, and home to the only community in India that’s allowed to carry a gun without a permit.
Just as wonderful as all that is the food from the region. If you’ve ever been to a Kodava wedding, their love for food and drink is on abundant display. Unlike many Indian communities, the Coorg people will happily serve you alcohol and non-vegetarian food at their weddings, especially their famous Pandi Curry or pork in a spicy and sour gravy made from Kachampuli, a black vinegar made from the black Kokum fruit.
Rice has always grown in plenty in Coorg, so it’s not surprising that rice in many forms is the foundation of most Coorg meals. Breakfast can be Akki Rotti (a chapatti-like pancake made from cooked rice and rice flour). Or perhaps you’d care for a range of Puttu, steamed rice dishes such as Nooputtu (rice threads similar to the Kerala Idiyappam), Paaputtu (a mix of steamed broken rice, coconut and sugar). To accompany these, you can have the famous Coorg honey or hearty curries not usually found elsewhere such as pumpkin curry, bamboo shoot curry, or a curry made from wild mushrooms.
Lunch and dinner too has rice as the base, and there’s usually at least one non-vegetarian dish to accompany it, usually chicken, mutton, or the much-loved pork. Coconut is a common ingredient in many of the tangy and spicy Coorg curries, ground with onions, garlic and spices such as chillies, cumin, pepper, etc. with Kachampuli providing the fruity tartness. As accompaniments, you will find chutneys made from dried or smoked meat and fish, or pickles made from tender bamboo, gooseberries, and mushrooms.
But vegetarians need not lose heart. Unique to Coorg are dishes like Kaad Maange curry, made from wild mango that’s got a more peppery tart flavour than regular mangoes. Also try the Chekke curry made from raw jackfruit, Kemb curry made from the colocasia plant.