Every cuisine has its association with culture, religion and geographical location. But specific
cooking techniques and practices and eating habits are interconnected to the ingredients available
locally. Kodava cuisine’s use of wild plants and marine animals mixed with traditional Indian spices and fruits which is then cooked, grilled or fried, reflects the culture and historical spirit of Coorg, and this is what makes this cuisine stand out from the others. Here are few recipes from the land of tranquil forests and hills.
Mutton Chops- Coorg Style
Recipe Courtesy: Chef Anjana Shanker
6 -8 lamb (or mutton) chops
½ tsp fresh turmeric (or powder)
1 tsp kaachampuli
½ tsp chili powder
1 tbsp olive oil
Combine turmeric, kaachampuli, olive oil and chili powder in a bowl. Toss the lamb chops and mix to coat the chops and let it marinade for 30 minutes.
Spice for lamb chops:
8 small red pearl onions
8 garlic cloves
½ inch ginger
2 tsp white poppy seeds
1 small cinnamon stick
3 green chilies
2 tsp black peppercorns
2 cardamom pods
¼ cup coconut milk (light)
¼ cup cilantro leaves
Combine and grind to a fine paste.
To cook lamb chops:
Ground spice from above
1 cup of water (or substitute coconut milk)
1 tbsp of Kaachampuli
Cilantro leaves or mint leaves for garnish
Crispy shallots (optional) for garnish
Heat the oil in a cooking pot, add the finely ground spices and cook on low heat for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until aromatic.
Add marinated lamb chops and fry for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add 1 cup of water and cook on low heat until almost dry.
Season with salt and cook until the meat is tender. (There should be very little gravy left in the pan). Add kaachampuli and remove from heat.
Granish with crispy shallots, cilantro and mint leaves.
Serve with roasted potatoes or roasted vegetables.
Mutton Pulav: Kodava Style
A richly flavourful dish that will keep you asking for more.
Recipe Courtesy: Smitha Kuttayya Boppanda
½ kg Jeera rice or Chingri akki (a very special variety of small grained rice available in Coorg)
¾ kg mutton pieces (with bones, as bones lend a lot of flavour to the dish)
4 medium onions, whole and peeled
2 onions chopped
½ cup coconut grated
1 whole garlic peeled and cleaned
2 to 3 inches ginger cleaned
4-5 green chillies
4 whole green cardamom
1 tsp poppy seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
3 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder
Salt to taste
2 tsp ghee (clarified butter)
1 bunch coriander leaves cleaned and finely chopped
Oil for frying
- Clean and wash the mutton, drain out all the water, add salt, turmeric, chilli powder and 4 or 5 pods of crushed garlic. Mix well and leave to marinate for about half an hour.
- Wash the rice and drain it.
- Take some oil in a pressure cooker and fry one chopped onion, the crushed garlic, crushed ginger. Fry till the onions are golden. Now put in the mutton and stir till most of the water is dried up. Add half a cup of water and slightly cook the mutton (I cook for about one whistle).
- Now take the ghee in a thick-bottomed pan and heat it. Add 2 cloves, a small bit of cinnamon and about 4 tablespoons of the chopped onions and fry till golden. Add the washed and drained rice and fry. Be very careful while frying the rice as it will be brittle and can break easily.
- While this is happening, put a whole peeled onions (one by one) on the flame of the gas burner directly and allow to burn on slow flame till the outer layers get tender and transparent.
- Now fry the cumin, coriander, poppy seeds, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, green chillies and grated coconut with about 1 tablespoon of oil for about 5 minutes on high flame, stirring continuously.
- Put the fried coconut etc in the blender along with the whole onions. Blend. This need not be a smooth paste, but coarse like a chutney.
- Now drain out the water from the cooked mutton and measure it. Add more water to this measured quantity to make it a total on 2 cups. Bring these 2 cups of liquid to a boil and add it to the fried rice. Add the mutton and the ground masala to it. Carefully stir and add the chopped coriander.
- When it starts boiling, turn the flame to minimum and close with a tight lid. Check in about 8 minutes. Slowly turn the rice and mutton so that the top and bottom layers get mixed. Close again and cook till done. This should be about 20 minutes. (You can also put the vessel on a thava and allow it to cook on even low heat for 30 to 35 minutes)
(If you are short on patience, you can skip steps 5, 6 and 7. Combine all the ingredients in these steps in the blender and use it in step 8. There is a difference in taste but both methods turn out a good Kodava style mutton pulav.)
Serve this with cucumber raitha or sweet tamarind chutney.