Dr Seetha Poovaiah, an eminent educationist, is based at Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. Daughter of Sannuvanda Nanjappa, Seetha is married to Apparanda Col. Poovaiah. They have a son Dr Shoury Kuttappa, and a daughter, Shabri .

Seetha says ‘Therme Thoppu’* is a rare variety of edible fern found near river beds in Coorg. She recalls with fondness her mother-in- law preparing this dish many decades ago.

 Therme Thoppu

Using your hands, break the therme thoppu into small pieces. Wash, then marinate with a little salt, and pounded green chillies, small onions, a little kachampuli (vinegar), and a pinch of turmeric.

  • Set aside for 10 mins.
  • Next, prepare a tempering with onions, garlic, and green chillies. Add the therme thoppu and stir to mix.
  • Cover, and cook on a low flame stirring occasionally.
  • When nearly done, add grated coconut, and a pinch of sugar if desired.
  • Should be done in 30 mins.
  • Scrambling a few eggs into the thereme thoppu at the end of cooking is a delicious addition.
  • Goes well with akki otti.

 * There are several varieties of fern, not all are edible. Use caution and be sure to identify them correctly.




Shilpa Bopanna grew up in Mumbai. Her parents, Machangada Appaiah and Nervanda Shanthy, however, ensured that she and her two sisters visited Coorg on every vacation to keep them connected to their roots and traditions.

A cooking enthusiast from an early age, she loved to experiment with dishes that were not regularly prepared at home by her mother, to whom she credits her culinary skills. After marriage to Kalengada Bopanna, Shilpa realised her husband loved good food, and Kodava cuisine in particular, so she set about learning various recipes from family members.

She shares a favourite recipe for Chicken Cutlets that was given to her by her cousin Jyoti.

Chicken Cutlets


Chicken – 900 gms

Onions, chopped – 3

Ginger garlic paste -1/2 tsp

Green chillies – 3

Coriander powder – ½ tsp

Chilli powder – 1tsp

Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp

Garam masala – 11/2 tsp

Pepper powder – 1 tsp 

Coriander leaves, chopped – a  few sprigs

Potatoes, medium sized- 3

Egg whites – 2

Breadcrumbs – for coating

Oil – for frying


Pressure cook and mash the potatoes . Add salt, chilli powder, turmeric, coriander powder, some garam masala to taste, and keep aside.

Marinate chicken with chilli powder, turmeric and salt and pressure cook it. Shred the chicken and keep aside. (You can mince it as well, but I prefer not to)

In a medium sized non-stick pan , heat a little oil. Add the chopped onions, chopped green chillies, ginger and garlic paste and saute for 3-4 minutes.

Add shredded chicken and saute well for 10-15 minutes. Toss in the garam masala and pepper powder. Stir in the chopped coriander leaves.Turn off the flame and let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.

Add the mashed potatoes to the chicken mixture and mix well using your hands. The mixture should hold shape when rolled into balls. Taste if all spices are blended in well and adjust the same accordingly.

Take small portions of the mixture and roll into lime sized balls, then flatten between the palms to give it shape.

Beat egg whites with a fork. Dip each cutlet in egg white, then roll it in breadcrumbs.

Heat oil in pan and fry the cutlets on medium flame till they are golden brown.You can deep fry or shallow fry the cutlets.

Serve hot with green chutney.




Kumbala Thoppu Palya with Egg

Dhanya Uthappa Ballachanda is the founder and chairman of Devdan Foundation, Mysore. A special educator who runs a school for specially-abled children in Rajiv Nagar, Mysore, she is also a yoga instructor.

 Dhanya says:

“My vision is to work towards the empowerment and betterment of specially-abled children.

 I have a passion for cooking and gardening. I am sharing a recipe from my late mother-in-law, Mrs Ballachanda Gombe D. Poovaiah from Kadangamuroor village, Virajpet Taluk. This traditional dish used to be a prevalent household dish in the past. I have found great joy in rediscovering it.”

Kumbala Thoppu Palya with Egg


  • 4 tsp Coconut oil or any cooking oil
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Dry parangi malu (birdseye chilli) or dry chilli as per your taste
  • 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  • Pumpkin leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 eggs


Clean the leaves by flicking them to remove any dust. Then, holding the stem in

one hand, strip the outer fibres away.

 Wash and chop the leaves into small pieces.

 In a pan, heat the oil, then add the mustard and cumin.

Add the onion to the pan and fry till golden brown.

Add the dry chilli as per your taste, then the chopped pumpkin leaves and cook on a medium flame for 7 minutes.

Add salt to taste.

 Now, add the two eggs and stir to mix thoroughly.

Pepper powder(preferably coarsely ground) can be added, for extra spice and more flavour.

Cook for 4 minutes on a low flame.

 Kumbala Thoppu palya is ready to be served with akki otti or chapati.


By P.T. Bopanna

I am neither a foodie nor do I have basic knowledge of cooking,
but by involving those better qualified and doing some learning on the job, I was able to run a website dedicated to Coorg food. Today coorgrecipes.com is the ‘go to’ digital space for Kodagu cuisine.  

 I have been asked in the past about what sparked off my interest in Coorg food. Well, I had already undertaken the task of chronicling all things Coorg, and at some point during that journey I realised that the land has a rich culinary tradition as well, one which is certainly worth preserving. To that end, I put together a Coorg recipes website www.coorgrecipes.com way back in 2006.

How did I kick-start the website off to a good beginning? There were many who came forward to help, initially Manavattira Sharada Mandanna, contributed recipes that were well received. I also added recipes culled from the book ‘Kodava Theeni’ brought out by the Karnataka Kodava Sahithya Academy, this work was translated into English by Boverianda Maya Muddaiya.

A textile designer, Chindamada Arati Monappa also contributed content for the website on Coorg food and lifestyle. Besides which, the well-known researcher Boverianda Nanjamma Chinnappa, shared an article that she authored, titled ‘An Introduction To Coorg Cuisine’. It had cartoons by Nadikerianda Nala Ponnappa which added zing to the website.

I also included a ‘Coorg recipes section’ in the first edition of my book ‘Discover Coorg’ which was well-received by readers.

With the recipes site gaining traction, I made the site dynamic and introduced a section ‘Recipe of the Month’ where people could contribute Coorg recipes.

Over the years, the recipe site has garnered a rich collection of Coorg recipes contributed mostly by home cooks. With the internet boom, there has been a steady rise in the traffic to the site from readers seeking Kodagu recipes.

Till 2012, the recipe site included a section on Coorg jewellery, but wanting to focus totally on food, I created a new website only for the jewellery and called it www.coorgjewellery.in

After hiving off the jewellery portion, coorgrecipes was redesigned and a new section called ‘Coffee with Priya Ganapathy’ was added to it. The new addition carried content on the making of the perfect cup of coffee and tips on how to make different varieties of coffee liqueur.

Around this time I felt that the website was ready for the next phase of growth and that I needed to involve someone who could curate the site. It had to be someone both knowledgeable in the field of Coorg cuisine, and having food writing experience. Biddanda Shalini Nanda Nagappa (in picture) fitted the bill perfectly, a Canada-based food blogger who hosts “A Cookery Year in Coorg”, the most authentic Coorg food blog. Her popular blog features well-researched articles and family recipes.

 I am currently on the job of putting together a book with content sourced from my recipes site.The book will also feature interviews with personalities in the culinary and cultural fields, and essays on various aspects of Coorg food and culture that have been contributed to the site. The proposed book will be well-illustrated with colour photographs of ingredients and preparations. The book will be curated by Shalini Nanda Nagappa.

I have created a group and page on Facebook to promote Coorg food. My Facebook group coorgrecipes.com has over 5,600 members. Whenever a new recipe is posted on my recipe website, the same is shared on my Facebook group and on the Facebook page dedicated to Coorg food.

There is something satisfying about the handing over of recipes for foods eaten by our ancestors, to our future generations. Through this food I feel, their love and wisdom will continue to nurture us.

Source: My Coorg Chronicles by P.T. Bopanna. Book available on Amazon. Follow the link below:








Nagachettira Smitha Kaverappa is a fashion designer turned Montessori trained teacher and now a cake artist. Married to Pravin Kaverappa, Smitha is mom to three sons. She shares the recipe of Madd Thoppu cake made out of the medicinal leaves (belonging to Justicia Wynaadensis Heyne of the Acanthaeceae family).

Preparations made out of Madd Thoppu are relished on the 18th day of the Kodava (Coorg) month of Kakkada when it is believed the leaves will have 18 varieties of herbal medicine.


 . APF/ Maida –                         150 grams

. Unsalted Butter (melted) –   60 grms

. Vegetable oil –                       2 tsp

. Powdered Sugar –                  100 grams

. Salt                       –                   ¼ tsp

. Baking Powder –                    1 tsp

. Baking soda –                         ½ tsp

. Vanilla extract –                      1 tsp (optional)

. Purple food color –               2 drops (optional)

. Yoghurt / thick curd –           150 grams

. Madd Thoppu rasa (juice) –  100 ml reduced to 50 ml


 . Grease a 7 inches square tin or a loaf tin.

. Sieve the dry ingredients together twice.

. Mix Maida, baking powder baking soda, salt together and set aside.

. In a bowl take the butter, oil and sugar and whisk to a smooth paste.

. Add the set curd/ yoghurt and whisk to combine.

. Add the madd rasa and combine gently. Now add the dry ingredients in three additions and gently combine. Do not over mix.

. Add the vanilla extract if using after the first addition of the dry ingredients.

. Bake in a preheated [email protected] Celsius for about 25 to 27 minutes or until the skewer inserted                 in the Centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Slice and serve.


 . Keep all the ingredients at room temperature.

. Preheat the owen before mixing in the cake batter.

. Grease the cake tin with butter / oil or use a parchment paper to line the bottom of the tin and gently brush some butter or oil on top.

. Vanilla is optional. I did not use as I wanted to retain the natural flavour of the madd rasa. Food colour is also optional. I used it to give a marble effect.

. Butter can be substituted entirely with vegetable oil. Butter is more flavorful though.

. I used mini loaf tins 4.5/2 inches – 3 tins.

. Can add slivers of almond on top of the cake batter and then bake it. It will enhance the taste and also the beauty of the cake.












Editor’s note:

Colocasia, known as Kaymbu in the Kodava language, it is one of the most useful food plants, with its edible corms (kaymbu kandé) stems and leaves. There are several types of Kaymbu that are commonly eaten. The two main ones are the green stemmed and red stemmed (chondé kaymbu) varieties. There is another thicker leafed variety, known as mara (tree ) kaymbu, that grows on the sheltered branches of large trees. 

Kaymbu in all its forms – tubers, stems and leaves, needs to be cooked thoroughly to help neutralize the calcium oxalate crystals  (known as raphides) present in it. The needle-like crystals can cause severe irritation to the soft tissues of the mouth and throat.

 In Southern India, colocasia is almost always cooked using some tamarind in the recipe. While this might seem counter intuitive, to add something sour to the already tart leaves and stems, it may have an effect in further neutralizing some of the calcium oxalate. Some people experience skin irritation while handling the raw plant parts. This can usually be prevented by applying oil to the hands before proceeding to prepare the dish.

Here are two recipes from Cavadichanda Pooja Muthamma, who is an Assistant Professor at an Engineering college. Her hobbies include baking and painting.


Preparation time – 30-35 minutes

Kaembu curry – Recipe 1

What you need:

Colocasia leaves with stalk – 1 kg

Kachampuli(Garcinia vinegar) – 1 ¼ tsp

Water – ½ cup

Garlic – 8 -14 cloves

Grated coconut – ½ cup

Onion -1 (large)

Bird’s eye chilli – 20-25 nos.

Coriander powder – 1 tsp

Turmeric powder – 1 tsp

 Salt – 1 ½ tsp

 Jeera – 1 tsp

 Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

 Cooking oil – 3 tsp

Curry leaves (optional) – 7-8 leaves

What you do:

Finely chop Colocasia leaves and its peeled stalks.

To a deep fry pan, add chopped colocasia, kachampuli, salt, water. Cook it on medium flame for about 15- 20 minutes. Then mash it coarsely.

Blend coconut, jeera, turmeric powder, coriander powder, bird’s eye chilli, and 4 cloves of garlic to a fine paste and add to mashed colocasia.

Mix well, cover and cook it for 5-10 minutes on medium flame. Keep it aside.


Heat a frying pan, add oil, mustard seeds and let them crackle. Then add curry leaves, chopped onion, 8- 10 garlic cloves and fry till it turns golden brown. Pour over the prepared colocasia curry. 


 What you need:

 Colocasia leaves with stalk – 1 kg

Lemon juice– 3 -4 tsp

Garlic – 8 -14 cloves

Onion -2 (large)

Bird’s eye chilli – 20-25, ground to a paste

Coriander powder – 1 tsp

Turmeric powder – 1 tsp

Water – ¼ cup

 Salt – 1 ½ tsp

 Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

 Cooking oil – 3-5 tsp

 What you do:

 Finely chop colocasia leaves and its peeled stalks.

 To a deep fry pan, add chopped colocasia, salt, turmeric powder, coriander powder, water and let it cook on medium flame for about 15- 20 minutes. Then mash it coarsely.

Add bird’s eye chilli paste, and lemon juice to mashed colocasia and cook it for another 5-6 minutes.


 Heat a frying pan, add oil, mustard seeds and as they crackle, add finely chopped onions, 8 -10 cloves of garlic and fry till it turns golden brown. Pour over the prepared colocasia curry to enhance its flavour.

 Enjoy the Kaembu curry with akki otti (rice chapathi)!








By P.T.Bopanna

The Coorg month of Kakkada starts from mid-July. It is the time when the monsoon is at its peak in Kodagu district (Coorg) in Karnataka. To fortify themselves from the harsh monsoon, certain foods are preferred. They include, mudre kanni (horse gram gravy), kembu kari, a curry made from colocasia leaf, and baimbale (bamboo shoot) curry.  

Among all the dishes, partaking of Kakkada Koli or chicken tops the menu. The chicken should be the home-grown naati variety which tastes the best in this season.

When it comes to keeping the body warm, there is nothing to beat mudre kanni, a dish from a bygone era when horse-gram was boiled in large quantities for bullocks and the water in which it was boiled was made into horse gram sauce.

If you ask me what my favourite monsoon dish is, then it is bamboo shoot curry, eaten with akki ottis (rice chapathi), with a touch of ghee. Ideal for both breakfast and dinner.

Another popular dish is wild mushroom (kumm) curry made out of several varieties of wild mushrooms which spring up on the ground during monsoon.

Even international cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey has shared the recipe of wild Kodava mushroom curry with coconut in her book North By Northwest.

She says the recipe comes from the Kodava people of Kodagu in Karnataka, a region in south-western India that has tropical forests, and grows coffee beans, cardamom and black pepper.  

During the peak of the monsoon, in most of the Kodava homes, curry is prepared from freshly caught crabs from paddy fields.


Fry up some chakkulies for a rainy evening snack! Cheranda Nali Appayya shares her recipe.

Chakkuli (Muruku)


  • ½ cup fried Bengal gram
  • ½ cup black gram
  • 2 cups rice flour
  • ½ cup thick coconut milk
  • ¼ teaspoon jeera
  • ¼ teaspoon of gingelly (sesame seed)
  • 5 cups water
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying


  • Roast fried Bengal gram and black gram, then grind to a powder.
  • Boil the water.
  • Add coconut milk, salt, rice flour and fried bengal gram flour and black gram flour.
  • Cook it until it is thick.
  • Remove from fire and pour the mixture into a plate.
  • Add salt, jeera and sesame.
  • Knead the mixture.
  • Press portions of the dough through a chakkuli press onto a paper covered surface.
  • Fry them to a golden brown.
  • When cool, store them in an air tight container.



Likitha Nanaiah Kuttanda’s mother, Shambavi Konganda was a great cook. Following in her footsteps, homemaker Likitha’s hobbies also include reading, travelling, and a little bit of gardening. She shares her Horlick’s burfi recipe.

Horlicks Burfi



  • ¾ cup gram flour/ besan 
  • ¼ cup Horlicks 
  • ¼ cup ghee 
  • ½ cup oil 
  • ¾ cup sugar 
  • ¼ cup water 


Heat I tsp ghee in a non-stick pan. When it is hot, add in gram flour and roast it for two minutes.

Once it is roasted, remove from the heat and sieve it. Now add in Horlicks and mix well.


In the same pan, add the sugar and water, and mix well so the sugar is dissolved. Bring this to a boil and cook till one string consistency is reached.

Once it reaches one string consistency, add in besan and Horlicks mixture slowly so no lumps are formed.

Next, add the ghee and oil slowly and keep mixing on medium heat. Cook till the mixture leaves the sides of the pan.

Pour this into a greased tray and let it cool down.

Once cooled, cut it into squares.




Mamatha’s Baalé Nurk

Kodandera Mamatha Subbaiah says Baale Nurk is the favourite tea time snack of Kodagu. Baalé nurk is made out of ripened bananas.

Baalé Nurk



  • 10 ripe bananas (preferably Kodagu varieties like mara baalé or poov baalé)
  • Sugar to taste 
  • 5 tbsp rice flour
  • 2 tsp semolina
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp grated coconut (optional)
  • Pinch of salt 
  • Oil to fry 


Mash the bananas, adding salt and sugar.

Add all the other mentioned ingredients and mix well.

Heat oil, make small balls from the dough and fry until they are golden brown. 

Serve hot with coffee or tea.