Coorg – popularly known as Scotland of India. Tucked deep within the Western Ghats, this tiny little district of Karnataka is lush green, with beautiful coffee and spice plantations. It took me about 3 hours by road from Mangalore to Chitala (a quaint little town near Madikeri), where I spent three memorable days. The Kodavas are a hospitable lot-warm and friendly. The have their age old customs and traditions which they follow till date. Their cuisine has a unique taste and texture to it, which must be experienced if you are in this part of the country.
Having grown up in Bangalore I was fortunate to have had Kodava friends. I would dig into their tiffin to gobble up the white and soft akki rotis. The akki rotis were most often an accompaniment with the all famous Coorg Pandhi curry. But being a vegetarian myself, I would feast just on the akki roti, which would taste fine, as it is.
Akki Roti is a classical dish of Karnataka. Made out of rice flour or even cooked rice as in Coorg, it is a simple yet delicious dish. Some people make it by adding finely chopped green chilies and chopped onions. But surprisingly, something as simple as this varies from region to region in the state. The Coorg akki rotis is made with cooked rice mixed along with rice flour. Ideally it is made with freshly cooked rice. But trust me, if you have that left over rice in your fridge, you could use that too and it works just fine.
During our stay in Madikeri we discovered a small little joint called Coorg Cuisine! Run entirely by a Kodava family, where the father and the two sons take orders, serve and also do the billing. The kitchen on the other hand is run by the lady of the house, along with another lady helper. The place had quick service and a wonderful homely taste to the food.
The akki roti was served with a Coorg style Rajma curry that interestingly had a coconut tinge to the gravy.
The flavour of Coorg and the memory of the Akki Roti stayed with me, long after the trip (I consider this my souvenir from Coorg). So, this Sunday I decided to try my hand at making it. It wasn’t as good as the one I had in Madikeri, but well not a bad try either.
I served it with a mixed vegetable curry (my own invention), and the family loved the spicy combination with the Roti.
It was the perfect way to cherish the wonderful memories of the holiday we were just back from!!!