From Pathrode to Pork, Mangalore Cuisine has it All!

Feb 26, 2011

Mangalorean Catholics love food. The fact that most of us have triglycerides and heart problems is a proof of how enthusiastic we are towards food. Recently, on a Sunday morning, my friend called me and said, "Anil, I feel like eating crabs man." My mouth started watering as soon as I heard "crabs," they being one of my favorites, and moreover, it had been over 16 months since I attacked a crab. Within half an hour we were on our way to the fish market to check out the sexy crabs. To our utter disappointment, the market was closed. How could somebody close a central market on a Sunday? We cursed the authorities and everyone else who came in between us and the crabs.

Anyway, both of us, now sinking into depression yet shamelessly dripping saliva from our mouths, went to a supermarket and bought fish, mussels, squids and clams and came home to make it up for the crabs. Our story ends here - we cooked, we ate and we slept like logs. This small incident sparked a huge discussion over lunch and the topic of attention was the delicacies we Mangaloreans savour. The list may be only one-tenth of what I know and what I have eaten.

In this article I intend to go about disturbing your taste buds and would be honoured if I could make at least some of you water at the mouth. Let’s start with appetizers. Chicken fry, chicken ghee roast, fish fry - naked fry, masala fry, rava fry. One of our very own and excellent caterers in Halealve "NItyadhara Caterers" has a copyrighted taste over "Surmai Masala tava fry". I bet each one of you would be licking off the masala from the plates. One should taste their chicken and pork delicacies as well. These are all recent innovations, but for me traditional dishes like Tendli-cashew nisthen, kuvalyachen bapath, chik peas mixed with coconut, sprouted moong salad make very healthy appetizers which prepare the tummy for the savouries to follow.

There are a whole bunch of varieties when it comes to curries. Fish curry is the most loved one across the Mangalore coast. Mangalorean oldies prefer fish to meat and some youngsters too. I remember, my granny used to wait for fresh fish to come home by 11 am and then go for the masala grinding procedure. There are a thousand ways in which fish masala is ground for different kind of fish. Apart from fish, we have chicken and mutton delicacies, with distinct flavors and tastes like "roce galli kadi", "piyav galli kadi" and so on.

My mom makes a special curry out of chicken which we call "Sheetak Kadi"- simply finger-licking good. Usual curries like Bangde curry, tarle kadi, vaalchi baji – prawn mixed curry, though not menu leaders, have a fan following of their own.

It would be an insult to a Catholic reader if I haven’t mentioned the variety of pork we have – pork bafat, pork chilly, pork vindaloo, sorpatel, pork salad and many more. If at all we Catholics have to choose a community animal, there are no second thoughts about who the winner would be. Every function’s success is measured by how good the pork is and every caterer in coastal Karnataka strives to better the pork preparations with each order. Every mother in and around Mangalore will give her children at least one kilo of bafat powder when they go abroad, even before thinking about basics such as toothpaste and brush.
Then comes our daily bread - something to dip and eat in the above listed curries. Sanna (Idli) with a tinge of toddy in it for better fermentation is a class apart just like Sachin Tendulkar. Aapam, a Kerala dish, but very well known in Mangalore is one of my favourites and goes well with any Roce (coconut milk - chicken or mutton roce curry). I can easily eat 6 to 8 aapams in one serving. Panpale (neer dosa) with chicken sukka or even kundapur chicken. Shevyo, Indian noodles which tastes awesome with coconut milk and any curry.

The menu which rules on Sundays in our house is Bhakri-Dukra mass and Bhakri-chicken curry. Bhakri is very famous in Maharastra and I remember pithla-bhakri on top of the Sinhaghad fort of Pune very vividly. Kori rotti, the thinner and more popular brother of bhakri rules many menus in Manglorean restaurants at home and abroad. Fuge Bhakri, one more cousin of the Bhakri also is an equally tasty competitor.

Going back to traditional dishes, we have Pathrode - a dish made out of some kind of leaves. My friend was like, "We in India eat Pathrode twice or thrice in a year, but in Dubai we get it every day." Just a bit more concrete proof of the kind of gourmets we are. Khube-mootli - a tasty mixture of clams and mootli or bhakri, kaylole-roce, shevyo-roce, purna sanna (sanna which is made with a mixture of coconut and jaggery), dodalle panpale, aape (kind of gol gappe prepared from rice and jiggery), bhakri, patholi (seasonal jackfruit dish), manni and cucumber mandaas (if it is baked in an oven, the completely crusted sides are very tasty)...the list goes on.

Bunts in our area prepare some amazing dishes like jackfruit kadabu and Koli Taal (chicken curry) to eat it with. There are many other dishes like Daali Toy, Kulith-Saar and Khotte-kurma. I remember having breakfast every Sunday for at least 4 to 5 years in my dad’s friend's house and I just cannot forget the breakfast. Simply superb. This aunt was an expert cook and an excellent organizer, who made sure every person who enters their door goes back with a full stomach. Muslims make amazing biryanis and I was lucky that my sister had some amazing Muslim friends who used to invite us for Eid.

I don’t know why I am writing this, maybe I long to eat all these dishes. There are a couple of websites which give out Mangalorean recipes, and I am cent per cent sure that this is one area we must venture into and make others realize how rich we are if we look into our kitchen. Almost all recipes are worth being spread across the world. India is a land of curries and I have no doubt Mangalore is the capital of gravies. I have been living away from my home for almost 7 years now and every time go back home, I get lunch, dinner, breakfast invites from all around which I never let go off. Please feel free to invite me for any kind of food. Be assured I wont act like "UNDU HODHA, KONDU HODHA."

The only concern facing us now is a smooth transition of our delicacies to our next generation. Just like our language, our recipes have to be passed on to them, as they are a very strong part of our culture and tradition. The world is becoming aggressively competitive and foreign food courts are ballooning in every nook and corner of the city. I recently read an article on the same website which said Konkani style eateries are diminishing. So very true. I remember a small house near Gundmi which served steaming hot idlis, with a little homemade butter spread on top of it served with a generous helping of chutney. Almost every person who has traversed the pothole-filled NH 17 must be knowing this place. In an era of chicken mcgrills, big macs, double crusted pizzas and chicken popcorns, taushyaso maandaas, pathrode, Khube bhakri and Manni should be given an opportunity to compete with the so-called FOOD.


Anil D'Souza - Archives:

By Anil D'Souza, Halealve
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Comment on this article


    Wed, Aug 22 2012

    can u please forward the sites where i can get these traditional receipes

  • Audrey , New York

    Wed, Feb 01 2012

    Hi Anil:

    Reading your article headlines now makes me yearn for Pothrade. Nothing like the way mum made it!I wish there was a restaurant here that makes this food. No luck!!

  • avina aranha, mumbai

    Tue, Mar 08 2011

    Nice article ! Original :)
    Me too loves our authentic manglorean cuisine & i am proud to be a manglorean

  • Roshni Bhandarkar, Mangalore/KOB

    Sat, Mar 05 2011

    It was grrrrrrrrrreat reading your article from "Pothrade to Pork" though I am a senior citizen I cannot forget my Mais food, wether she cooked for 5, 50 or 500 people the taste remained the same, and till today I can say NOONE can cook like my mother the Mangalorean dishes. I have inherited alot from my mother as I would sit next to her and take down the receipes, and when she could not tell me the exact proportions I would tell her 'Mai please take masala for 1 kg of meat (chicken,mutton or pork) she would place all the ingredients necessary in a plate measuring by hand and her eyes and I would remove each ingredient and measure it by spoon, the present generation dose not know the wealth in mangalorean cuisine, any day "Mais" cook book hits the stands I will be one of them to grab it. Thanks Anil for your write up. Roshni

  • Bevita Serrao, Mangalore/Bangalore

    Fri, Mar 04 2011

    Nice and mouth watering Article Anil..Thanks for remindig the names of various Mangalore special dishes..

  • Raina Pinto, Kulshekar/Dubai

    Wed, Mar 02 2011

    Anil, Very good article. Keep it up.

  • Cynthia, Sornad/bantwal/Navi Mumbai

    Tue, Mar 01 2011

    Indeed good article on Mangalorean delicacies Anil !....I remember my late mother used to prepare almost all these items.

  • Mavis, Canada

    Mon, Feb 28 2011

    Good article, brings back memories of our childhood..... reading the names of the various dishes my mouth is watering. I remember the chicken curry, pickles, chutneys, alsande veg (fresh from the field), vorn, sheyo, etc...that my grandmother and now my aunt prepared for us. I totally agree with you Mangalorean food is awesome.

  • Joyline, Bangalore/Mangalore

    Mon, Feb 28 2011

    Anil, When you come to Blore soon, we are goin to take u to Mangalore Pearl restaurant in Frazer Town. Ancil,Rohan, Neil and myself have been haunting that place religiously for the last two weekends. Ask Rohan about the pork chops... Thank you Steevan.. Your restaurant keeps us connected... And we dont desire for McGrill or double crust ever !!

  • Jayson Saldanha, Mangalore\Dubai

    Sun, Feb 27 2011

    Hey Anil !
    Nice article man !! i still remmember all those mouth watering Dishes that my granny used to cook !!! Uv left me mouth watering for now !!

  • Vijay, Bangalore

    Sun, Feb 27 2011

    Mouth watering article, Anil.

  • Vinesha, Atlanta

    Sun, Feb 27 2011

    Hey Anil.. You reminded me of mom and her khanna.. Very well written as always..

  • Nikita Pereira, Bejai, Mangalore

    Sun, Feb 27 2011

    wow... Anil i just loved this article. i remember as a kid how my grany used to prepare all these things sitting at home. now-a-days everyone r so busy tat we dont even knw absic cooking cos of the easily available ready to cook n eat things. now surely my mouth is watering to have some of these amazing things soon:)

  • Lawrence Furtado, Udipi/Australia

    Sun, Feb 27 2011

    I would like to get my hands on "Mai's Cookbook"
    Thank you

  • Cecilia Pinto, Kuwait

    Sun, Feb 27 2011

    Anil, Good article, also brought great memories of all the mangolearn delicacies that my late mother used to prepare. However, to address your "only concern facing us now is a smooth transition of our delicacies to our next generation. Just like our language, our recipes have to be passed on to them, as they are a very strong part of our culture and tradition." and to honor our mother we have 'Mai's Recipes' a book that contains almost all of the recipes you mention in your article and this book is a valuable resource for the present and future generations and would certainly keep our mangalorean food culture alive! My Email:

  • Norman M, M'lore / Dubai

    Sat, Feb 26 2011

    nice and mouth watering article. Evenings dinner will be at Canara resturant which has a number of mouth watering m'loreon goodies.......Being in Dubai, Pune, Goa and M'lore....must say that M'lore food is best in class...

  • A.S.Mathew, U.S.A.

    Sat, Feb 26 2011

    Some of the diseases which were
    only heard in the western countries
    are getting very popular in India,
    as our standard of living is
    getting better with an heavy load
    of disposable income.

    Some of the afflictions of the
    affluent are now chasing the
    ordinary people too. Everything
    which is western is not good: our
    old food dishes are far better for
    a long and healthy life, along
    with some short walk to the store
    or market place on a daily basis.
    High fat consumption with an
    indolent lifestyle can lead to
    sickness and early death.

  • geoffrey, hathill

    Sat, Feb 26 2011

    In the last para the writer expresses his concern over trasition of our delicasies to the next gen. Go back to the first, only to face the harsh irony that, in the process, we are transitioning triglicerides and heart issues as well!

  • Jacintha , London

    Sat, Feb 26 2011

    Hey, Anil,

    I like your style of writing, good articles with a sense of humour. My mother was a foodie person in Mangalore. If the fish was not fresh the 'fisherwoman' used to be the talk of the day for selling us the bad fish. She cooked lovely mangalorean dishes - many of those you have mentioned.

    But you forgot one humble homely recipe which I cook weekly. The 'dhal/bimli saar with boiled rice, veg. sukka and fried sardines/prawns, mackerel or king fish to go with it!!. Now that has got my mouth watering and i am off to the kitchen to see what I can dish up for dinner tonite! No sexy crabs around though - i simply loved the crab dish. And all that wedding food in the old days served on the 'plantain leave'!! Hmmmm , heavenly.

  • Liz, mangalore/uae

    Sat, Feb 26 2011

    Thank u Anil for mouth watering article. Most of them are my favourites i.e. pathrode, pork, kailole etc......  Hope to see more wonderful articles in future

  • Herman D Souza, Mulki - Malad - Muscat

    Sat, Feb 26 2011

    Hi Anil.... good article.. good fresh fish from salty river you get in Mulki. Mulki is famous for Kaney( lady fish) and big crabs. Best time 9am to 10am at market neat mulki bus stop. grab it in auction it is affordable.. thanks for the good write up

  • Nelson Rodrigues, Canada

    Sat, Feb 26 2011

    @ Godwin D'souza - depending on where you live in Saudi, you may want to visit Bahrain not far away. There sure must be some Mangi families, who will welcome you with delicious home food - yummy !

  • FATIMA PRAVEEN MENEZE, Halealve /Kuwait

    Sat, Feb 26 2011

    HI Anil
    You made us to remember all special dishes of manglores.Good article.

  • Steven Pinto, Bangalore, Mangalore

    Sat, Feb 26 2011

    Anil, you must visit my restaurant called Mangalore Pearl in Frazer Town, Bangalore, which has almost all the items starting from pothrday to pork specialties, khubay mootlien, mutton polov (roce functions) and many more.

  • Clara Lewis, Kemmannu/Dubai

    Sat, Feb 26 2011

    Anil how you forgot different types of VORN (Payasam) main dish in coastal region for Hindu weddings, Chrsitian roce and Monthi Festh.

  • jeevith shetty, kundapura

    Sat, Feb 26 2011

    Is this same Anil who i used to study with?
    i never knew that you are a food enthusiast. nice article and its true chicken roast, sannas vareity of fish makes me drive 450km just to hog. Man planing to drive again :)

  • Godwin D'Souza, Mangalore/Saudi Arabia

    Sat, Feb 26 2011

    Not a word more Anil, I am packing my bags to mangalore because of Anil who made my mouth water Dukra-Mass.

  • Blesswina, Kundapur

    Sat, Feb 26 2011

    Nice Article Anil... Feel like going home and have sanna Dukramass....Thank you.

  • julie, M'lore / Doha

    Sat, Feb 26 2011

    Very nice article Anil. All dishes you have mentioned are mouth watering. Good Luck. May God Bless You.

  • Astrid , Mangalore

    Sat, Feb 26 2011

    Nice article about m'lorean Cuisine..You did make my mouth water:-)

  • Rohan Valder, Bangalore / USA

    Fri, Feb 25 2011

    Mouth Watering Article....Yet another reason for us Mangalorean Catholics to be proud of....Anil, Thanks for refreshing us with those delicacies....

  • Nancy, Belman

    Fri, Feb 25 2011

    Awsome... Still waterrrryyyy..

    Anil, Really now a days children do not want Iddli, Panpale even dosas. They prefer Pizza, Burger..

    We were lucky enough to born in middle of 20th century to taste all types of food.. In 21st century in Mangalore too it will vanish. Becasue now a days in mangalore also no one wants to prepare home food. I remember we used do "Manni" around september-ocrober. But now, no one makes it. They prefer to bring readymade and tell everyone with top of the voice "we had today burger, Pizza etc."

    If at all for a change I prepare once in while, myself and my husband have to eat it.

    Not only children, now a days even workers also do not want to eat all such type of food.

    But I am loving it....

  • grace dsouza, mumbai

    Fri, Feb 25 2011

    Anil, good article. Keep it up. And how can we forget your Dad's friends breakfast. We have experienced it and Wilma still as a good laugh over it. I think you were there that day.A wonderful treat.

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