Ah, the lush greenery, mist covered mountain tops, monks in red chanting in unison are some things that come to my mind when you mention “Coorg”. During my visit there, I came to know that the Coorgs’ (Kodavas) love their food [Kadi] and their liquor [Kudi equally. Their food is largely influenced by the geography (hills and forests) and their culture which is quite unique.
They are essentially rice eaters, but eat rice in various forms – Akki Ooti (rice chapathis made like rotis using cooked rice and rice flour), Puttus (steamed rice dishes), Kadambuttu (ball shaped puttus made with finest rice flour), Thaliya puttu (flat puttus steamed in plates), and a wide variety of puttus [ some made with coconut milk, others with broken rice and then ther are some made with banana or jackfruit. There is also one puttu called Madd puttu (made of a medicinal leaf called Madd Thopp). Oh and how can I forget the Thambuttu that I tasted in Madikeri, a dish made with roasted and powdered rice flour mixed with mashed ripe bananas. Apart from these, they make quite a few varieties of Biryani and pulaos [ both veg & non veg]
The region is also filled with tea and spice plantations which is why we find all dishes laced with cardomom or cinnamon. Therefore when I heard about the Coorgi festival at Club House restaurant in Taj Club House, Mount Road, Chennai, I was quite excited and eager. This is a cuisine that is yet to find a place in Chennai and so with all my memories and stories I had heard from friends, the curiousity levels were quite high.
Chef Naresh has put together a simple yet intriguing menu based on Coorg cuisine and he hails from their Hotel in Coorg. The dishes ranged from Akki Ooti to Pandi Curry and Cardomom Custard as well. It had quite a few Non veg dishes, but I was happy to note that us Veggies were not left out.
The meal opened with two starters – one was Kummu Barthad [chilli spiced Mushroom, lightly dusted with flour & fried] and the other was Kari Bale Cutlet [Raw banana patties]. I loved the mushroom but the raw banana one was also good, the chutneys that accompanied these were amazing [one had a strong sesame kind of flavour while the other seemed to be made with ginger]. And then came the Kummu soup [Classic mushroom soup from Coorg], it was thick, it had coconut paste & curry leaves, and was tad spicy [very different from the other Mushroom soups I have had]..
During the course of the dinner, we learnt more insights about Coorg way of life and food, how each family has their own version of making a dish [ very alike the rest of the world].
For the main course, there was Akki Ooti, Kadambuttu, a kind of simple Puttu and Tarkari Pulao[ veg pulao] that was served with 2 veg side dishes- Molai Kuru [mixed sprouts curry] and another made with Spinach which was really yumm. The non veggies got to try the Pandi curry[pork gravy] and Koli curry[ chicken cooked with spices]. I quite liked the Akki ooti and the spinach the best, probably because I have eaten Akki ooti quite a few times before [in Coorg and at an aunt’s house].
Just when we were talking about food, the conversation drifted towards Desserts and before we were done, a portion of Cardomom Custard [it was Caramel custard but with a good sprinkle of cardomom on top] served with traditional sauce. And then came the Akki payasam [ rice payasam] that i enjoyed as it was hot and low on sweet quotient. Oh and how can I not mention the interesting drink we all tried- it was warm, filled with spices and just sinfully light..
This festival is on at Taj Club House till the 28th September. So, all of you who have never tried Coorgi food or knew what this cuisine was all about, go for it…
Lunch and Dinner |A la Carte | INR 2000 onwards per couple
No. 2,Club House Road, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600002
For more details and reservations contact +91 44 6631 3131
Disclaimer: The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember these were just my views!! Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit 🙂