With love, from Coorg

Ambika Shaligram
Monday, 28 May 2018

Chatting up home chef Fancy Muthanna, who is dishing up Kodava cuisine for the patrons of Hyatt Regency

The experience of dining at a five-star hotel is enhanced when the food is accompanied by love and a homely touch. Coorg Connection, an ongoing festival at Hyatt Regency, will give you that experience.

The festival, which is on at The Cafe till May 31, has a specially curated meal by home chef Fancy Muthanna. “Every day we have planned something different for our patrons,” says Muthanna, who personally cooks meals with a team of Hyatt chefs.

Muthanna, who hails from Kushal Nagar in Coorg (Karnataka), has also brought with her traditional ingredients and kitchen equipment to lend her preparations an authentic flavour.

Talking to us about the rich cuisine of Coorg, Muthanna says, “We are largely a meat eating community. Pork, locally available fish are our staple.”

She has served Pandhi Curry or Pork Curry during the festival, which won her a lot of appreciation from the patrons.

For the vegetarians too, there are a few options. “In June-July, and July-August, typical greens grow in Coorg. The Kakada season (July-August) is when you see profusion of these leaves, which are used in our vegetables and also in cooking Payasam. We also make use of pumpkin, bamboo shoots and wild mushroom,” she adds.

The Kodava or Coorg cuisine is also known for its fish preparations. “But these koile fishes are found in streams and ponds in the region,” points out Muthanna. At the food festival, she has made a fish curry, but not with koile. “The koile are found during the rainy season. So I couldn’t source them now,” she adds.

Puthari is the main festival of the Kodava community which falls in December. “That’s the one day in which we have a complete vegetarian meal. We make a pudding of coconut, sesame, ginger, cardamom and rice. There is another preparation called Tambittu made of roasted rice flour and ripe bananas,” says Muthanna.

Muthanna, who cooks up special meals for the community on festivals etc, has the measurements all in her head. When asked if she has written books on Kodava cuisine or if she has a blog, Muthanna says, “I cook by experience. I have written books on romances in Kodava language, but none on cookery.”

Besides Pandhi Curry, she also recommends Kumbala Curry, which means Pumpkin Curry to be had with dosa. Kodava cuisine is also known for its desserts like Chirote, Kanji Curry, Aladige and Balenuka. When asked about the ingredients used in the cuisine, Muthanna says, “Cardamom, Black Pepper, Fenugreek seeds, Cumin, Coriander and Bird’s  Eye Red Chilli. This chilli is the spiciest chilli. Kodavu people like their food hot.”

The Coorg Connection food festival is on till May 31 at The Cafe, Hyatt Regency, opp Weikfield IT Park, Nagar Road. Dinner buffet starts from 8 pm onwards

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