Thursday, April 14, 2016

Ugadi special authentic Tullu food

I have this totally unearthly fascination for typical local food. It wasn't always there. I developed it over the months of trying out different food. As I mentioned in my previous post, the local food of different places vary greatly in taste, aroma, colour and flavour. In this post I shall introduce to you'll the authentic Mangalorean Tullu cuisine. The last post of Mangalorean Konkani Cuisine can be found here.

I do not know why I am so fascinated with food - the unique blend of multiple colours on one platter, mystifying aroma of so many different things together and bites that tickle your tastebuds in the most compelling way. You just let loose and let the aroma hit your nostrils as you inhale closely and pick little morsels of food. Also, the joy of eating with your hands. Sigh!

I come from a Goan Catholic family, and we do not follow this tradition of eating on a banana leaf. We never have in our family or extended family/friends. But I have eaten on a banana leaf at my Hindu neighbours/friends place during the Ganesh Chaturthi (Chavat) festival. Yes, in Goa, Ganapati celebrations is a big deal and every house has a feast. So lots of food everywhere you go!

About today - I was invited to a friends place in Mangalore for Ugadi celebrations. (Thank you Dhanush for hosting us) Apparantly, it's their New Year according to some calendar. (Sorry! My knowledge in such things suck) So I was warmly greeted and served home made juice in the beginning. After a bit of talking and hanging around, we were ushered towards the dining area.

We were made to sit on the neatly arranged mats on the floor. Soon, a banana leaf was placed in front of us by the lady of the house. She poured a little water on it and requested us to wash the leaf, which eventually became our plate.

Next the food items were placed on our plates one after the other. I loved the way each items was a different colour and texture. It looked so pleasing to the senses! All the food items were vegetarian.

This is what they called it when I asked the names of the food on my plate - Padengi Upukari, Takkare Talli (salad), Carrot-Kadle Upukari (Carrot-Nuts Dry Curry), Cabbige Upukari (Cabbage Dry Curry), Kanchala Upukari, Bendekai Gashi (Ladies Finger Gravy), Uppad (Pickle), rice and Sambhar (South-Indian curry made of mixed veggies). P.S. Upukari means dry gravy with coconut. All the names are in their local language - Tullu.

I couldn't finish all of the food. But as I always do, I had my eyes on the payassam (dessert made of sweetened milk, vermicelli and dry fruits) even before the food was served. If you do not follow me on Instagram, you might have not seen my payasam photos and rants about how much I love payasam. They soon served me a FULL glass of payasam, and I couldn't help but take another serving after that as well. Yes! I am obsessed with payasam as much as with donuts. I have a sweet tooth, you see!?

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