Stop by at Kamats for a North Karnataka Meal

I have lived for the most part of my life in the Southern part of India. And I have always assumed my knowledge of South Indian food (as food from the 4 Southern states namely Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh is referred too) is fairly good. But it is when you travel that you open up yourself for surprises. Travel is fascinating because it always reminds you in a very gentle manner that you possibly don’t know everything about anything!

On our way from Kabini to Bangalore we were driving through Mysore and our cab driver took us to a vegetarian restaurant called Kamat. A small rather nondescript yellow board marked the entrance to the restaurant. The parking was quite big indicating that possibly a lot of people driving through Mysore made a pit stop here. It was right at lunch time when we walked in and we had to wait for some time to be seated. While we waited we saw a few ladies making rotis (flatbread) and cooking them on an open stove. In Tamil Nadu its not common to find rotis or chapatis as part of a traditional meal. But this was Karnataka and things here were different.

I had my mind set on eating a full meal served on a banana leaf. Eager to eat as much sambar (a lentil preparation cooked with vegetables and spices) as I can I skipped on the roti and started straight with rice. As soon as the leaf was laid out within no time was I served pachadi (grated or chopped cucumber and onions mixed with yoghurt), a chutney, holige curry (a spicy brinjal preparation, where brinjals are stuffed with ground peanuts and sesame seeds), kaalu (pulses cooked with spices), a greens and lentil curry (dill was the main green used in this dish). Buttermilk, curd (unflavoured yoghurt), pickle and aplam (papad or pappadum) are a integral part of a South Indian meal and are always served.
I went through my meal quickly and tried to catch the attention of the manager to chat about the meal, but lunch times when the restaurant is possibly the busiest is the worst time to do that. All I managed to get out of him was that what I had just had was a typical North Karnataka meal, and what the ladies were making were not ordinary wheat rotis but jowar or jolada roti. Jowar or sorghum is a popular crop grown in this part of India. If the staples of a typical North Karnataka meal are jowar and rice, a South Karnataka meal comprises of ragi and rice. So out of pure ignorance I had missed out on eating the most important part of the meal! Too late though with my stomach all stuffed I had to leave trying the jolada roti for another time.

12 Comments

  • Reply
    Mridula
    July 1, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    And that sounds like a lovely meal! The kind I would love to eat.

  • Reply
    magiceye
    July 2, 2015 at 1:10 am

    Good to see the hygeine maintained in the kitchen too. The picture which shows that the cooks have their heads covered is an indication.

  • Reply
    Veena
    July 2, 2015 at 3:29 am

    Yummy Post :)

  • Reply
    Siddhartha Joshi
    July 14, 2015 at 2:02 am

    I don't think I have eaten a typical north Karnataka meal, and this looks very very tempting, especially eating on a banana leaf :)

  • Reply
    Chaitali Patel
    July 15, 2015 at 3:47 am

    I agree! Its incredible that they pay attention to these aspects, which are often overlooked otherwise.

  • Reply
    Chaitali Patel
    July 15, 2015 at 3:48 am

    In terms of taste I prefer the Andhra thali or the typical Tamil Nadu one, but for novelty value this ranked very high. Besides its always fun to try out something new.

  • Reply
    Chaitali Patel
    July 15, 2015 at 3:48 am

    Thanks Veena!

  • Reply
    Chaitali Patel
    July 15, 2015 at 3:49 am

    Yes seeing food on a banana leaf just does it I think! :)

  • Reply
    Charukesi
    July 15, 2015 at 8:00 am

    I've eaten at the big Kamat (is it Upachar?) on the highway many times but never heard of this place – must try. Where exactly is it?

  • Reply
    Chaitali Patel
    July 21, 2015 at 9:17 am

    Its not Upachar and its not on highway! Unfortunately don't know the exact location in Mysore…

  • Reply
    Swati Sammie
    July 21, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    Next time try idli at Kamat ,they are so soft just melts in the mouth … In bangalore there are lot of kamat resturants scattered all around famous for south indian dishes :)

    http://thetalesofatraveler.com/2015/07/12/genxnano-thechosenones-event-at-ahmedabad/

  • Reply
    Chaitali Patel
    July 22, 2015 at 10:26 am

    Will do! This time I was just plain simple fascinated about trying a North Karnataka thali. I have lived most of my life in Madras and have love South Indian food, so was thrilled to discover something new.

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