Traditional South Indian Brahmin Meal

I am from Bangalore, which belonged to the old Mysore State. Conservative  Brahmin recipes are pure vegetarian and strictly prohibit the use of Garlic and Onions and also several other vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, eggplants, cauliflower, cabbage, drumsticks, etc and also several fruits like watermelon. The reason for not using these vegetables is the belief that the food we eat, influences the way we think. Vegetables like onion and garlic were considered pollutants of the mind, and came under the ‘thamasic’ group. More information about food types in can be found here-
http://www.yogawiz.com/blog/health-tips/yoga-diet.html
My family back in Bangalore still follow many of these customs. I have deviated a bit, I do eat and cook other vegetables, except garlic, mostly because I don’t find the smell very appealing.

A typical festive meal is supposed to be very well balanced and nutritious. It is served on a plantain leaf. Salt is always served first, in the top leftmost corner of the leaf. The other dishes that follow include-
1. A Pickle
2. Chutney
3. Salad- Called kosambari generally 2 types
4. Raitha
5. Gojju
6. 2 types of cooked vegetables
7. A fried fritter
8. Payasa/Kheer
9. Thovve
10. Flavoured rice
11. Plain rice
12. Rasam
13. Sambhar
14. Sweet
15. Buttermilk
16. A little bit of ghee, served on the Rice before starting the meal
Buttermilk or curd is always served at the end of the meal. It is said to aid digestion and cool the body.

The recipes of the Bangalore-Mysore region, where I am from, generally use fresh coconut or dry coconut is most dishes including sweets. The use of just a dash of jaggery or sugar to balance the sourness in sambhar or rasam is also typical of this area.

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4 thoughts on “Traditional South Indian Brahmin Meal

  1. Hi,

    nimma blog posts noDi thumba khushi aaythu. naanu kooDa bengaLoorinavaLu. Maadhwa bere. naanu bere deshadalli irodu. nimma recipes like maaToDi palya, appe payasa, hayagreeva, majjige paLadya nodidre eegle bengaloorige oDoNa ansaththe….
    Neevu kaTTiro mallige hoovu noDi santhosha aaythu. GandhiBazar nalli Vidhyarthi Bhavan yeduru hoovina angaDigaLu nenapu baraththe. Thanks for sharing your wonderful recipes. Finding your blog made my day. I fully agree with you that Karnataka food is not limited to BisibeLebhath alone. naanu iro kaDe vegetarians kaDime. So, they keep asking me how I can survive with just eating veggies alone. I patiently explain to them that vegetarian cuisine is not vegetables alone. adaralloo if I tell them that I can eat only so many veggies, you can imagine their reaction. 🙂
    Keep your recipes coming. And I would love to hear from you. I enjoy cooking and I love traditional kannada (Bangalore-Mysore) maadhwa food. I consider it sacrilegious to break any combination of traditional food like – huggi+gojju, bisibelebhath+raitha :). Like I said before, your blog is a good find. I would love to hear from you.
    -Prathi Rao

  2. I second the above comment.. looking at all these recipes, my mouth is watering.. But I cannot cook these as often as I used to eat since my husband is not used to South Indian Food.. He loves Bisi Bele Bhath, Rasam, Masala Dosa and especially gojju, though. So I cook South Indian food when he is not too hungry or when he has a back up so that I don’t have to force him to eat something that is alien to him and at the same time I ask him to taste it once so that next time when I cook that dish, I don’t have to worry about what he is gonna eat. Till date he has never said “I don’t like this dish” to any south indian dish that I have cooked and I am so happy about it. Thanks to my mom and the blogs that people like you have for us. Thanks 🙂

    – Divya Chauhan.

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