I started writing this blog to try keeping the nostalgia of some of the traditional cooking that was done in our family back in Bangalore. I would like to emphasize that, Kannada food is not just Bisi Bele bhath. Karnataka vegetarian cuisine is almost limitless, and each region has its own unique style and specialty. For example the cuisine the Udupi- Mangalore region is very different from that of the Dharwad- Hubli region, or the old Mysore region. This has something to do with the type of produce that grows there.
I would like add on my blog, vegetarian recipes from around India( maybe, around the world too), but I would like to showcase recipes of a small group of people to which I belong, called Madhwas. We are followers of Guru Madhwacharya.
Madhwaism started in Udupi, the place most famous for food. Onion, garlic, tomatoes, carrots, brinjal, radish etc, are strictly prohibited for Madhwas. In fact the range of vegetables and fruits allowed is very small. It is amazing to see the infinite range of food that can be prepared with a limited number of resources. In Udupi, every day at least 40-50 dishes are served as naivedya (offering) to the Lord Krishna.
Madhwa cuisine itself is very diverse. The deshastha Madhwas, from Maharashtra, the Madhwas from Bangalore and Mysore or from north Karnataka, or the coastal regions, or Tamilnadu, all have different styles of cooking.
Madhwas have one day of complete fasting every 15 days, called Ekadasi. They do not eat or drink anything after taking a spoon of holy water after Pooja that morning. Ekadasi, is a must for all madhwas who are able bodied, though there are allowances for children, sick people, pregnant women and the elderly. Ekadasi is done to purify the body and try to instill discipline and self control, and is supposed to be spent in complete devotion of God.
There is another important religious vow or Vrath that all able Madhwas are expected to keep. It is called the Chaturmasya Vratha. ‘Chaturmasya’ means 4 months, and ‘Vratha’ means Vow. The chaturmasya is done every year. Each month the person keeping the vow cannot eat a certain food that is restricted. For example, in the first month, all vegetables and fruits are restricted, in the second month, yogurt and its products are restricted. In the third month, milk and milk products are restricted. In the last month, most vegetables and lentils are restricted.
Though I do not do the Chaturmasya here, I will try to post some recipes of the chaturmasya vratha once in a while. The recipes are very easy, and more like comfort food.
Madhwa food has stayed the same through the centuries, as is evident from some songs of our revered Saint Purandaradasaru and his decendent Dasaru.
My family is very mixed now, with lots of people from different sub sects. So not only cooking, but life in general has also been influenced in a very good and positive way:-)