A Southern touch

Down foodpath

Born and brought up in a village, I was always inclined towards traditional food. My father always encouraged me to try different cuisines and his love for food motivated me to try my hand at a variety of dishes.

I learnt a lot from my mother as well, who is an expert at making traditional items like kai holige, hooranada holige, kadabu, karchikai, gulpatgi hulli sankati and different types of payasams, modakas and laddoos. I started cooking when I was 10 years old and learnt all the traditional recipes.

After marriage, I started exploring other types of cuisines like North Indian, South Indian and Chinese. I love experimenting with new ingredients and cooking innovative dishes for my family and friends. Uttara Karnataka is known for dishes like navanakki unde, shenga holige, malyedi and zunakada vade.

The recipe that I am sharing is that of Battalagadabu— it is healthy and rich in protein. The main ingredient in this is jowar. Being the main crop and staple food of our area, it is not only tasty and easy to digest but also ideal for diabetic patients due to its low sugar and non-fatty content.

Dishes made of jowar vary from rotti, nuchchu and mudde to battalagadabu. Compared to the other dishes, battalagadabu is easy to cook and unique in taste. It is also low on sugar, non-fatty and highly nutritious.


Ingredients: Water, Jowar flour, Salt, Cooking oil, Mustard seeds, Curry leaves, Coriander leaves, Onion, Turmeric powder, Gingern Jeera powder, Bengal gram dal

For chutney: Tomato, Onion, Urad dal, Bengal gram dal, Fenugreek, Curry leaves, Jaggery, Salt, Asafoetida (‘hing’), Mustard seeds


Take a thick-bottomed vessel and bring water to boil. Add half a teaspoon salt. Take one to one-and-a-half  bowl of water for two bowls of jowar flour. Keep stirring the flour as you mix water to it till it becomes thick like ‘roti atta’.

When the atta is ready, keep it in a vessel and prepare a tadka. In a pan, pour two tbsps of oil. Once it is hot, add mustard seeds, curry leaves and some Bengal gram dal.

After they turn red, add chopped onions, green chillies and ginger. Also add half a teaspoon each of turmeric powder and salt, one teaspoon jeera powder and mix this tadka well with the jowar atta. A little ginger-garlic paste can be added, if desired.

Press this mixture in your palm and place it in the idli patra and steam for five minutes. Battalagadabu is ready.

For the tomato chutney, cut tomato and onion and fry in a pan with mustard seeds, jeera seeds, one or two ‘byadgi’ chillies, coriander leaves, curry leaves and one tsp each of Bengal gram seeds and urad dal.

After the fried items have cooled down, add a piece of jaggery and a lemon-sized tamarind ball (also add garlic if required).

Grind them in the mixer. For the tadka, heat oil and add mustard seeds and curry leaves. Add this to the chutney.  Relish the hot and crispy ‘battalagadabu’ with tomato chutney.

Note: Battalagadabu can also be made using ragi atta and Bengal gram atta. While ragi battalagadabu can be eaten with different chutneys as the main food, the one made with Bengal gram atta can also be used as sabji with roti.

(The author can be reached at poornimakashikar@gmail.com)

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