Savitha Poovaiah’s Halbai

This month’s recipe is shared by Mandepanda Savitha Poovaiah.  Besides being passionate about wildlife photography, Savitha is also fond of cooking. Her culinary skills are well known in her family circles.

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Savitha says Halbai, has always been one of her favourite sweet dishes .It can be made using different cereal grains, like wheat and ragi. This recipe using rice is very simple to prepare, but requires some patience due to the long stirring involved. Try it out – your patience will be rewarded!


Cook time: 45 minutes (apart from soaking the rice)



  • 1 cup rice, washed and soaked for 4-5 hours
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • Jaggery to taste
  • 4 tbsp ghee
  • 2-3 green cardamom, powdered
  • 20 cashew nuts
  • pinch of salt
  • saffron to garnish (optional)


In a mixer jar, grind the soaked rice along with the cashew nuts to a fine paste. halbai2

Heat a heavy based kadai, add the ground paste with 2 tbsp ghee, coconut milk,   cardamom powder and a pinch of salt. Stir for sometime and add jaggery to taste.

 Keep on stirring the mixture ensuring no lumps are formed.

 Add another 2 tbsp ghee while stirring constantly. Cook the mixture until it thickens and leaves the sides of kadai. This may take around 30 minutes.

 Grease a plate with ghee and spread the mixture evenly with a knife or spatula.

 Let it cool and then cut the halbai into your favorite shape.




Interview: Ranee Vijaya Kuttaiah, author of ‘Cuisine from Coorg’

By P.T. Bopanna ranee kuttaiah

The credit for putting the spotlight on Coorg cuisine goes to the highly talented Ranee Vijaya Kuttaiah, famously known as the ‘queen of cuisines’.

Her book ‘Cuisine from Coorg’, a treasure house of mouth-watering Coorg delicacies, has been going into reprint for the last 15 years.

The multi-talented Ranee is an accomplished Bharatanatayam and Kathakali dancer, and has donned many roles in her eventful life. She had worked as a lecturer at the Maharani College, Bengaluru, and later in the public relations department of the Ford Motor Car Company, New York.

A top-of-the-line culinary expert, she taught the intricacies of Coorg cuisine to the chefs of the Taj Gateway and Taj West End Hotel, Bengaluru. Bursting with energy all the time, she is an avid golfer and writer of short stories. Ranee has also written books on Tamil Nadu and Karnataka cuisines.

Daughter of Kotera Chinnappa, a Kodagu politician, Ranee learnt cooking from her mother, Akkavva. Ranee, married to Nadikerianda Kuttaiah, a well-known name in Tamil Nadu plantation industry, learnt from her late husband, the niceties and refinement of Coorg cuisine.

After marriage, Ranee lived the good life in the Nilgiris, till her husband died tragically when he was young.

Talking to this writer, Ranee regretted that many homes in Coorg had stopped making Coorg dishes in their original form and distorted the cooking style. For instance, she noticed people using butter/cream for Koli Barthad.

Basically, she said Coorg or Kodava cuisine was not very spicy. “We never used onions much and tomatoes were seldom used.”

Ranee says the Kodavas (Coorgs) should stick to the original cuisine. “Even to this day, I prepare fish curry in a mud pot,” she notes. coorg ranee

She is happy to note that original Kodava dishes are still prepared in the Coorg wedding houses.

Ranee wants the mothers to teach their daughters how to cook Kodava food in the original form, instead of experimenting with the Coorg cuisine which leads to distortion.

Ranee is a quintessential Kodavathi who still dressed up in the traditional long-sleeved jacket and Kodava style sari. She is the cynosure of all eyes in high society parties.  



Chikklundé (Sweet puffed rice dumplings)

 Chembanda Reshma Bheemaiah is a real ambassador for Coorg. She runs a home stay, where she invariably serves Kodagu food to her guests.

 reshma passport

For breakfast, it is paputtu, thalayaputtu and otti.  For lunch and dinner, it’s noolputtu, belath neer, kadambutu and non-vegetarian dishes prepared in Kodagu style.  

 Reshma says: “It feels so nice when visitors ask me for the recipes and write them down. They also want to buy the ingredients here in Coorg. I notice that popular items to take back are kachampuli, black masala, and paputtu thari, along with wine and spices.”

 Reshma shares her recipe for a popular sweet- Chikklundé. 

Chikklundé is one of the unique Kodagu sweets which is enjoyed by kids and elders alike. It is normally prepared during festive occasions, and also during the wedding season. Chikklundé has pride of place in the goodie hamper which a bride carries with her when she returns from her mother’s house.

The main ingredient for the filling is puffed rice (nell pori). To make this puffed rice, paddy (unhusked rice) is spread on the floor for a day to gather some moisture, then roasted in a clay pot over a wood fire. The heat drives the moisture in the grain out, causing the rice to puff up, much like popcorn.


Chikklundé  (Sweet puffed rice dumplings)



  • Puffed rice                        750 Gms
  • Brown sesame seeds          25 Gms
  • Roasted gram (channa dal)     50 Gms
  • Grated coconut                 75 Gms       
  • Salt                                   to taste
  • Jaggery                            100 Gms           
  • Oil                                     for frying
  • Turmeric powder            ¼ teaspoon          
  • Maida(refined white flour)     150gms
  • Water                                     for the batter         


 Method of Preparation: chikkalunde pic


  1. The proportion of puffed rice (nell pori) to the other ingredients is normally 3:1


  1. Sun dry the puffed rice and crush or grind coarsely.


  1. Grind the grated coconut, sesame seeds and roasted gram coarsely, adding a pinch of salt.


  1. Melt the jaggery, strain it to remove dirt particles and reduce to make a thick syrup.


  1. Mix the ground puffed rice and the rest of the dry ingredients together.


  1. Add the jaggery syrup which will bind the ingredients, and mix well.


  1. Using your hands, and pressing firmly, shape the mixture into small balls.


  1. Meanwhile prepare a batter with the maida, turmeric powder, and as much water as needed to make bring it to a coating consistency.


  1. Dip the dumplings in the batter and deep fry till they turn golden brown.



Deepthi’s Coorg Lamb Masala and Paaputtu

This month’s featured recipes come from Deepthi Pemmaiah, daughter of Ammatanda Pemmaiah. deepti

 Deepthi and her husband, Koothanda U. Aiyappa are a charming young couple who are proud of their Coorg heritage.

 Deepthi is a passionate cook, and an avid sportswoman who played hockey for Bangalore University. An MBA in Marketing and Human Resources, she has worked as a Senior Director for a UAE based company in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. 

 Deepthi believes in cooking healthy, delicious food, and likes to use a range of herbs and spices from various cuisines for their flavour, as well as their health benefits.

 Deepthi’s Coorg Lamb Masala




  • 1 kg lamb
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 5 teaspoons pepper
  • vegetable /meat stock – 2 cubes dissolved in 400 ml water.
  • 4 large onions
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (preferably Everest brand)
  • pinch of sugar
  • salt
  • fresh coriander leaves
  • oregano fresh/dried


Aromatics:lamb curry

  • 6 cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon shahi jeera
  • 2 birds eye chilly (parangi malu)
  • 2 dried long red chillis
  • 1 teaspoon white poppy seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ginger- garlic paste
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • pinch of turmeric


Method of preparation:

Wash fresh lamb meat and cut into medium pieces. In a cooker first fry the meat on both sides with a little oil till the meat firms up and begins to brown.

 Add 4 tsps pepper and vegetable/meat stock along with water till the lamb is immersed in the stock. Pressure cook on high flame for five minutes and then on low flame for ten minutes. Once the meat is tender and well done, keep it aside.

 In a pan, using very little oil, fry finely chopped onions until they turn golden brown. Keep aside. Now fry the aromatics till aroma releases. Blend fried onions and aromatics in a blender till a smooth paste is formed.

 In a deep pan, add one teaspoon of oil along with the ground paste and tomato puree. Add a pinch of sugar and cook, stirring continuously for 15 minutes till oil releases from the edges. Now add the cooked meat along with the stock and let it simmer for few minutes till the gravy thickens.

 Add 1 tsp of black pepper powder, a pinch of salt and one teaspoon garam masala powder. Add finely chopped fresh coriander leaves and dried/ fresh oregano leaves for flavor.

 Serve with rice cakes (Paaputtu)




Paaputtu paaputtu



  • 2 cups thari (broken rice)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup fresh grated coconut
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons ghee/ clarified butter


Use plates with reasonable depth for this recipe. First apply ghee on the plate and spread evenly. Now add the thari and water. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Add the milk, sugar, salt and fresh grated coconut.

 Use a pressure cooker without lid and cook on medium flame for 20 minutes or till the paaputtu is firm.

 Serve this delicious paaputtu with Deepthi’s Coorg Lamb masala.




Nellira Liril Machaiah , a certified soft skills trainer, currently heads the Learning and Development Function at Infinite Computer Solutions, Bangalore. She is interested in exploring life’s mysteries, in pursuit of finding life’s purpose!

Liril shares her grandmother Gubbi Subamma’s quick and easy recipe for pancakes. These pancakes are perfect as a snack with a cup of tea, or as a dessert. Enjoy them the old fashioned way, or dress them up with chocolate sauce if you like.

PancakesLiril 1


  • Maida – 1 Cup
  • Coconut – ½
  • Sugar to taste
  • Water

Method of preparation:

  • Put the maida in a bowl and mix it with water until it gets to the consistency of dosa batter. Set aside.
  • Grate the coconut into a bowl, add sugar to taste and mix well.
  • Heat a flat pan or griddle, lightly grease it, then pour enough of the batter to make a thin pancake by swirling the pan.
  • Cook on low heat until it is done. Cook on one side only.
  • Once it is cooked, flip onto a plate and let it cool. Repeat until all the batter is used up.
  • When they pancakes are all done and cooled, place a spoonful of the coconut mixture in the centre of each one and fold up the sides to make a roll. 20150308_214655
  • Keep the lighter side of the pancakes on the outside for a more delicate appearance.
  • And your yummy pancakes are ready to eat!




Thirtha Uthappa, daughter of Kakamada Uthappa, a jeweller, is following in the footsteps of her father. Thirtha says: “Jewellery has always been my passion, and that is what made me leave my corporate life of 11 years and start my own line, Samaara Jewellery ( I make personalized and customised precious pieces in gold and diamonds.”

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Married to Ammatanda Mithun Appaiah, Thirtha notes that cooking has always been her other key interest. Here, she shares a recipe for a spicy mutton curry.

Mutton Curry


Mutton – 1/2 kg
Onions – 1 large
Ginger paste – 1 tbsp
Garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Chilli powder – 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Cassia leaf – 1
Salt to taste

For the green masala :

Coriander leaves – 1/4 bunch
Green chillies – 4

For the red masala:
Dried red chillies – 5-6
Coriander seeds – 1 tbsp
Jeera – 1 tbsp
Elaichi – 3 – 4
Cloves – 3
Cinnamon sticks – 2 small

Preparation : mutton curry

  • Wash the mutton well and marinate with chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt for about 20-30 mins.
  • Prepare the green masala by grinding together the coriander leaves and green chillies with a few drops of water.
  • For the red masala, first lightly roast all the spices individually. Cool, then grind together into a slightly coarse powder.
  • Heat the oil in a vessel and sauté the finely sliced onions until brown.
  • Add the cassia leaf and the ginger and garlic paste. Sauté until it they no longer smell raw.
  • Now add 2 tbsp of the red masala, along with all the green masala and mix thoroughly. Cook until you see the oil separating out of the masala.
  • At this point add the mutton pieces and water (depending on how much gravy is needed) and bring to a boil. Taste, and add salt and chilli powder if necessary.
  • After one boil, cover the vessel and let it cook on simmer for about 25-30 mins. Check in between to see if the meat is cooked. Alternatively, you may pressure cook the mutton.
  • Your dish is now ready..



 This recipe, for a delicious rice pudding, is shared by Prithi Poovamma, a senior operations manager at Mphasis, in Bangalore.

 An English literature graduate, who also has a diploma in architecture, Prithi is married to Kolera Harish. They have two sons, Yadhu Somaiah (18) and Thanav Thammaiah (9).

 Prithi has travelled all over India with her ex-serviceman father, Nayada Madhu Madappa, and she has also visited the UK on work.

 Her dream, she says, is “to own a small little café in Coorg when I retire, as Coorg is the place I love the most”.

 About the recipe, which is made using fine, broken rice (akki nucchi), jaggery syrup (bella joni), butter, and milk, Prithi says: “I am not sure about the origin of this pudding. My maternal grandmother used to serve the dish at tea time. Honey adds its own flavour to this pudding when used as a sauce.”

 Akki Nuchhi Bella Joni Pudding       


  • 250 grams small broken rice (preferably brown)
  • 6 tablespoons of butter
  • 300 grams jaggery (cane sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (to enhance the taste of the jaggery)
  • 100 ml milk
  • 400 ml water

Method: puddd

  • Roast the broken rice until crisp
  • Boil water, add the jaggery and continue boiling until the consistency is syrupy
  • Whisk the milk with butter
  • In a large bowl, add the roasted broken rice, salt, whisked butter & milk, jaggery syrup and mix well.
  • Pour into a greased dish and steam for 30 minutes or until it is firm on top. (Start checking after 30 minutes.)
  • Once done, remove and serve the pudding warm with honey.

Alternatively this pudding can also be baked in an oven @ 250 C and be served with toffee sauce





My name is Brinda Pramodh. I’m from Bollandanda family, and married into Machetira family. brinda half

After graduating from Jyothi Nivas College, Bangalore, I pursued an MBA in finance from IGNOU, after my both children were born. I am an enthusiastic learner and passionate about every little thing I do. Professionally, I have found myself the most self-satisfying role – that of homemaker!

I was introduced to cooking in my early childhood days when my parents bought kitchen kit toys for me. Playing with them was one of my favourite pastimes as a child. As I grew, the toys were replaced with the real kitchen items, and my interest, and enthusiasm for cooking continued.

I enjoy experimenting in cooking with unique combinations, like bitter gourd and melon seeds, soya bean or bottle gourd in bisibele bath, and bitter gourd roti. Though I cook with a lot of ease, sometimes I take more time thinking “what to name the dish?”!

The recipe I wish to share has been passed on from my grandmother to my mother. Though the procedure looks lengthy, I have seen my mother cook it effortlessly. Well, it is one of the best dishes my brother Kritish and I enjoy from our “Mom’s kitchen”.



Capsicum            1

Kheema               100-150 gms (Minced Meat)

Potatoes               2 big

Onion                            1 finely chopped

Garlic                            2 pieces finely chopped

Coriander leaves2 tbsp finely chopped

Oil                                 2½ tbsp.

Whole Jeera                  2 pinches

Turmeric powder          2 pinches

Red chilly powder         1½ tsp

Salt to taste


Step 1 with Kheema capsicum small

  • Heat ½ tbsp oil in a pressure cooker. Add a pinch ofwhole Jeera followed by finely chopped garlic and sauté.
  • Add Kheema and sauté on low flame till the water separates
  • Add a pinch of turmeric powder, ½ tsp red chilly powder and sauté.
  • Add a little water, salt to taste and pressure cook .
  • After kheema is cooked drain out the excess water by cooking it on low flame and make it dry.
  • Keep it aside to cool

Step 2 with Potatoes

  • Boil potatoes, peel and mash them
  • Add a pinchof turmeric powder, 1 tsp of red chilly powder, salt to taste and mix well. Keep aside

Step 3  Mixing Kheema with the potatoes

  • Heat 1 tbsp oil. Add a pinch of whole jeera followed by finely chopped onions and sauté.
  • Once the onions are cooked, add the potato mixture prepared in step 2 and cook for a while
  • Now add the kheema preparedin step 1 andfinely chopped coriander leaves. Mix them well.
  • Cook for a while and then keep aside to cool.

Step 4  with Capsicum

  • Cut the capsicum at the centre and deseed them
  • Sprinkle some salt over it (sprinkle some red chilly powder too, if you like)
  • Steam it. Do not over cook (to retain its crispiness )
  • Let it cool
  • Now stuff the capsicum with the filling prepared in step 3
  • Spread some rice flour/chiroti rawa on a plate, and rub the stuffed side of the capsicum over it.
  • Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a flat-bottomed pan and cook the stuffed side of the capsicum on a low flame till golden brown.

And your dish is ready.


WINE AND DINE:  smitha pic

Smitha Iyanna, is based in Ethiopia, where her husband manages a rose farm. They have a daughter, Renaa Muthappa.

Smitha is an entrepreneur who runs an Indian food catering service in Ethiopia, and also offers classes in Indian cooking. 

She says that finding the right spices and ingredients in Ethiopia is a challenge. Hence, travelling back from Kodagu her baggage is usually filled with packets of Kappu Masala (pork masala) and bottles of Kachampuli.  

She says, “I enjoy spreading the taste of India, particularly that of Coorg, in Africa”. 

Smitha believes in living in style and has contributed two recipes – Mulberry wine for charging up your appetite, followed by her signature style chicken curry.


The Mulberry fruit can be found in the estates in Coorg. The ripe purple fruit has a nice sweet tangy taste and makes a delicious wine.


  • 1kg ripe purple mulberry fruit
  • ¾ kg white sugar
  • fist full of raisins
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 level tsp of dry active yeast.
  • 1tbsp honey

Method: mulberry pic

Wash the berries in water and drain the water completely. Boil the sugar in a cup of water until completely dissolved. Let it cool a bit. Add the berries to the sugar syrup. Now add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Store it in a glass or ceramic air tight container for a month. Keep in a cool dry place. Stir occasionally to make sure it is well incorporated. After a month, drain the berries from the liquid. Taste to check if it is sour. If it is sour add some more sugar syrup to suit your taste. Serve chilled.


Smithasays “this chicken curry is a favourite among my friends. It combines the nutty flavour of peanuts with coconut milk. It is not very spicy and kids will love it.”


  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato skinned and finely chopped
  • 1tsp ginger and garlic paste
  • 1 tsp sunflower oil
  • 1tsp each of salt, chilli, turmeric, coriander, cumin powders
  • 1 tspkappu masala ( Coorg pork masala)
  • 500gms boneless chicken chopped into bite size pieces and marinated in a tsp of salt, chilli and turmeric
  • ½ can coconut milk
  • 1tbsp peanut butter
  • 1tsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tsp coriander leaves, finely chopped


Method: photo (7)

Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the onions and fry for a bit. Now add the dry spices. Stir well and add the ginger garlic paste followed by the tomatoes. Put in the chicken pieces and cook till lightly browned (10 mins) on a low flame.

Now, add some warm water, followed by coconut milk and the peanut butter. When the chicken is cooked add the tamarind paste as well as the coriander leaves.

Serve over hot steamed rice.



Niveditha’s Rum Blaze Pork Chops

Rum Blaze Pork Chops nivi picture

 Niveditha Belliappa Subramani honed her culinary skills by exchanging recipes with the wives of managers in the tea plantations in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, where her husband Kaushik, worked.

 “The ladies in the plantations, most of them wives of the tea plantation executives, would share recipes and cooking tricks. Initially, I tried making pork chops with two different recipes handed down to me by two fine Coorg ladies. The kitchen soon became my experimental lab. I started cooking trials with my favorite ingredients- Italian seasoning, and our very own vinegar, kachampuli. In this pork chop recipe, the blend of the herbs, kachampuli, and rum brings out a heavenly and unique mouth-watering flavour.”

 “My biggest critic is my 4-year-old daughter, Ojasvi , who already has developed a fine taste for meat. I aspire to cook like my mother and mother-in-law who have a great sense of cooking.”


 1 Kg Pork chops, with fat

Italian seasoning (mixed herbs) – 3 to 4 tsp

Worcestershire sauce – 3 tsp

Malt vinegar- 1 1/2 tbsp

Ginger garlic paste – 3 tbsp.

Fresh red chilli paste — 1 tbsp.

Salt – as per taste

Pepper – As per taste

Oil – 2tbsp

Curry leaves – 8/9 leaves

Onions –thinly sliced – (2 to 3 medium sized)

Coorg pork masala powder – 2 to 3 tsp

Rum – 1 to 2 Tbsp

 To finish:

A little Worcestershire sauce

Or a few drops of kachampuli

 Prep Time: 1 hr + marination time

 MARINATION: pork chop pix

 Pork chops

Italian seasoning (mixed herbs)

Worcestershire sauce


2 tbsp Ginger garlic paste

Chilli paste

Salt and pepper  – as per taste

 Marinate the washed pork with the above mentioned ingredients and refrigerate it overnight in an airtight container.


 Pressure cook the pork with a little water for about 2 whistles and set it aside till it cools down.

 Meanwhile,  heat oil in another pan or wok. Add the remaining ginger and garlic paste. Saute until the raw smell disappears.

 Add the sliced onions and saute for about 3 minutes. Now add the excess oil from the cooked pork (pork fat) into the same pan and cook the onions till they soften and change colour.

 Add the curry leaves and saute while making sure that it is not fried too much. Now add the pork chops and mix well before stirring in the pork masala powder.

 Saute for about 5 minutes or till the pork is well done.

 Check on the seasoning, and add a little Worcester sauce or kachampuli, along with more salt and pepper if needed.

Flame it up: Keep the fame high and pour the rum on top of the pork. Set alight and gently toss the chops. The meat should havea dark reddish-brown colour by now.

 Your Rum Blaze Pork Chops is now ready to be served.

 Happy cooking and cheers, Hic Hic Hurray!!!