Udupi cuisine is a cuisine of South India. It forms an important part of Tuluva-Mangalorean cuisine and takes its name from Udupi, a city on the southwest coast of India in the Tulunadu region. Udupi cuisine has its origin in the Ashta Mathas of Udupi founded by Madhvacharya.
Udupi cuisine comprises dishes made primarily from grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits. The variety and range of dishes is wide, and a hallmark of the cuisine involves the use of locally available ingredients.
It adheres strictly to the Satvik tradition of Indian vegetarian cuisine, using no onions or garlic, as well as no meat, fish, or shellfish. However, the cuisine may also be adapted for those who consume these restricted items. Following the tradition of chaaturmasa vrata, which is a restriction of certain food ingredients in a certain period or season, may have led to the innovation of a variety of dishes in Udupi cuisine. Pumpkins and gourds are the main ingredients in sambar, a stew prepared with ground coconut and coconut oil as its base.
The ubiquitous Indian dish dosa has its origins in Udupi, according to P. Thankappan Nair. Saaru, a spicy pepper water, is another essential part of the menu, and so are jackfruit, colocasia leaves, raw green bananas, mango pickle, red chillies, and salt. Adyes (dumplings), ajadinas (dry curries or stir fry curries), and chutneys, including one made of the skin of the ridge gourd, are specialities.
The full course Udupi meal is served on a plantain leaf, which is traditionally kept on the ground. The dishes are served in a particular sequence, and each dish is placed on a particular spot of the plantain leaf. All the people eating this meal are expected to begin and end eating the meal together. A person cannot get up in middle of the meal, even though he has finished his meal. The start and end of meal is done by saying "Govinda," the name of Lord Vishnu. A typical meal is served with the following (in sequence):
Depending upon the occasion, individual taste, and money, each dish may be made from different ingredients.
|Food item||Veg. or non-veg||Ingredients||Preparation||Image||Remarks|
|Masala Dosa||Pure Veg.||Rice, Lentils (deskinned black gram)||Dosa with ghee; potato based mixture rolled inside||Invented by Udupi hotels|
|Patrode||Pure Veg.||Colacasia leaves, Rice||Spiced rice flour applied to colacasia leaves, rolled and steamed||Popular during rainy season|
|Kotte kadubu||Pure Veg.||Rice, Lentils (deskinned black gram)||Batter filled in bowl-shaped jackfruit leaves and steamed||Moday is a similar preparation steamed in screw pine leaves.|
|Neer Dosa||Pure Veg.||Rice||Dosa prepared from rice flour|
|Undla kai||Pure Veg.||Rice||Steamed rice balls||Rainy season dish|
|Shyavige or Othu shyavige||Pure Veg.||Rice, Grated coconut||Rice based vermicelli|
|Goli Baje||Pure Veg.||Maida||Round balls of the batter are deep fried||Also called Mangalore bajji|
|Halasina Kadabu||Pure Veg.||Rice, Jackfruit||Rice and jackfruit are ground and steamed|
|Thambuli||Pure Veg.||Coconut, buttermilk, brahmi leaf||Enjoyed as a side-dish|
Udupi or Udipi restaurants and hotels serving Udupi cuisine can be found all over India and many parts of the world. In the past, these restaurants were run by cooks and priests trained at Krishna matha in Udupi. With rising popularity, many others have entered this business claiming to serve authentic Udupi cuisine. Most Udupi restaurants and hotels are family run, with ownership passing among kith and kin of the original owner. Udupi restaurants have undergone many changes in their menu in recent times, adapting to changing economic structure and social statuses in India. They have included vegetarian delicacies from other Indian cuisines.
The first major South Kanara hotel owner, K. Krishna Rao, who worked first joined Sharada Vilas Brahmins Hotel in George Town as a kitchen servant. He is the inventor of Masala Dosa. In 1925 his employer offered him one of his restaurants for ₹ 700 monthly. In 1939 Rao started his first hotel, now called Old Woodlands. The other prominent chain of Udupi hotels is the Dasaprakash group founded by K. Seetharama Rao, who gave up a low-grade salaried position in Mangalore to join his brothers' snack food ("tiffin") business in Mysore in 1921.