The Lingayat cuisine which is traditionally a wholesome vegetarian meal often focuses on freshness and rich in nutrients and healthy, explains Chef Prakash Bisht, sous chef, UK 27 The Fern, Belagavi
Insight on the Vocal about local
Belagavi as the city is known as now was previously called Belgaum and due to the strategic location of the City, bordering Goa, Maharastra it always had a culture mix up however the localities, knows as a Lingayats who are prominently the disciple of Lord Shiva had never allowed the cuisine to be influenced and till date the Lingayat cuisine remains the same over the years and cooked in the traditional way in the houses of the Lingayats.
The Lingayat cuisine which is traditionally a wholesome Vegetarian meal often focuses on freshness and rich in nutrients and healthy.
Lingayats traditionally uses the Kesube oil which is made from the Safflower seeds is a healthy choice and also the influence of the seeds especially the Black gingely, Flax seeds and gurellu ( niger seeds), coconuts both in the fresh and dried format, Local vegetable, sprouts cannot be overruled. The basic mantra remains to retain the natural flavour of the Vegetables and blend them with the flavour of spices being used. Podis or Chutneys made from the various ingredients like Peanuts, Various lentils, etc which complements the food by enriching with the necessary nutrients, protein, vitamins and the widely used desi ghee gives the necessary energy for the wellbeing of the human body and also to remain healthy. Usually, the meals are also complemented by the Jolada (Jawar) Rotis which need special culinary skills to make as it requires deft and careful handling while making the dough with really hot water and salt and making the Rotis with the quick movement and flattening it while spinning the same to make it round. Jawar Rotis are again very healthy options and eaten with the various vegetable, Lentils ( Dal) and the salads in the form of Koshambari and the Spring onion and Fenugreek leaf salad. In the traditional homes, the species are usually brought from the local markets and proximity to Coorg and down south had always ensured the availability of the best quality of the spices and the spices are ground in the home in the traditional mortars (Haman distas as they are known as) and also the wood fire is used and the food is cooked traditionally on the iron vessels which add the additional doses of taste to the food
Lingayat cuisine also flaunts for the desserts made from the various healthy options and famous are SHENGA HOLIGE – stuffed sweet roti made from the channa dal, jaggery and cardamom which gives a sweet ending to all the traditional meal. The traditional Lingayat meals are usually served on the Banana leaf which is another healthy practice as it is believed that the chlorophyll from the leaf is transferred to the Body while eating from the leaf and helps in the rejuvenation process of the Body.
Curating Menus at UK 27 The Fern Belagavi using local ingredients
UK 27 The Fern Belagavi promotes the local flavour through the “ Spices “ the Pure Vegetarian restaurant which is located in the lobby level of the Hotel. The Restaurant is supported by a Pure Vegetarian Kitchen. We are offering the Lingayat cuisine based food mostly in the form of Thali during the Lunch hours
We are also inviting the traditional families of Belagavi to come and share their expertise with us and we incorporate their skill in our culinary display
The typical Thalis are served with the Chhas (Buttermilk), selection of breads from the Jalada( Jawar) Rotis, Bhakri, Poories, Koshambari ( traditional salad made from the sprouts, vegetables smeared with the beaten yogurt ) or the traditional fenugreek leaf and spring onions accompanied by the traditional dishes like Badanekayee Yenngayee ( a traditional brinjal curry cooked in the typical lingayat style) or regular vegetables or Kayee which covers the Gourds and other vegetables and also the seasonal ones like Jack fruits and other seasonal vegetables. Not to miss the various podis or chutneys like sheng (Peanuts) or the lentils. The meal always ends with the Hot “Holige” – the rotis stuffed with Peanuts and Jaggery and flavoured with the Cardamom and literally soaked in the pure Desi ghee and can be taken with the Hot Milk also. A meal is never complete without the Paan (Betel plant leaf).
The one local ingredient your kitchen can not do without
Garlic is one ingredient that has a strong presence in the Lingayat cuisine. As the Lingayat cuisine which is predominately a Veggie affair uses lots of Garlic as the Pod not only adds the typical flavour but also enhances the food value as Garlic is extremely rich in Sulphur, Manganese, Selenium and Vitamin B6, Vitamin C and other components which helps to maintain the body in the most healthy state and also helps in controlling the Blood pressure and blood sugar level in the body.