Udupi Cuisine

Centuries ago, Madhavacharya founded the Krishna Matt in Udupi, unknowingly setting the stage for a culinary revolution. Udupi cuisine, rooted in Vedic principles, was exclusive, shunning onions, garlic, and many common vegetables. Yet, by the 20th century, it had become synonymous with delicious South Indian food. So, what led to its rise?

Udupi cuisine from the Krishna temple fused Shivalli Brahmin gastronomy with traditional Udupi fare. Temples played a pivotal role in evolving society through food, prompting temple servants and cooks to explore new vegetarian dishes, often inspired by regional influences and locally available ingredients.

Including the shepherd caste expanded the cuisine’s horizons, fostering innovation. Coastal influences introduced dishes like vangi bhaat (eggplant rice) and the iconic masala dosa.

Udupi gained global recognition thanks to a small restaurant surrounded by eight temples on Car Street. This eatery birthed the famous Masala Dosa and Goli Baje, drawing crowds year after year.

In the early 1900s, Udupi restaurants thrived, catering to urbanization. Key figures like K. Krishna Rao and K. Seetharama Rao played vital roles in the existing cuisine and creating distinct Udupi cuisine experiences.

Some remained faithful to the traditional Udupi style, while others adapted, making dishes like dosa, vada, and sambar accessible to a broader audience.

Udupi restaurants pioneered designated dining areas, providing freedom, especially for single women in a society with strict norms.

In summary, Udupi cuisine’s journey from temple to city transformed it from a sweet dish into a culinary sensation, blending tradition with innovation.

Udupi Cuisine Dishes 

Udupi cuisine’s culinary genius can be seen in majjige palidya, drakshi gojju, gulliappa, mango marbles, huli, and gojju. Some dishes, like Hayagreeva Maddi and Modakka, have intriguing legends behind them.

Udupi cuisine, primarily vegetarian, boasts dosa, sambar, curry, and unique ingredients like jackfruit and colocasia leaves. The cuisine’s transformation from temple to city was driven by Shettys and Nayaks, who introduced popular dishes and ingredients formerly banned in temples.

The Best Udupi Restaurant

When you’re visiting the Udupi Sri Krishna Temple, make sure to experience Mitra Samaj. It’s one of the oldest, charming, and quintessentially Udupi-style restaurants that will leave a lasting impression.

You’ll savor delightful Udupi cuisine here, including their signature dishes. It’s a go-to spot for well-known, everyday visitors seeking a quick meal, enjoyable breakfast, or evening snack. It can get busy during peak holidays, and you might need to wait 20-30 minutes to secure your seat.

Another notable figure from Udupi, K. Seetharama Rao, made a significant mark by initiating the renowned Dasaprakash chain of restaurants. His journey into the culinary world began in 1921. He decided to join his brother’s tiffin business in the charming southern city of Mysore.

Today, the Dasaprakash family-run chain continues to thrive. While they have expanded their menu to include a diverse range of cuisines, from North Indian to Chinese and even European, to cater to various palates, the unmistakable essence of Udupi cuisine continues to draw customers back.

According to K. Vishwanatha Das, the enduring appeal of Udupi cuisine lies in its authenticity. It’s all about meticulous preparation, including freshly ground spices and the traditional use of firewood, an essential part of cooking.

A distinctive touch that has remained unchanged over the years is the generous use of jaggery, which imparts a subtle sweetness to the food, elevating the overall dining experience. This commitment to preserving the genuine flavors and techniques of Udupi cuisine ensures that customers keep returning for more.

Benefits Of Udupi Food

Udupi cuisine is indeed renowned in the culinary world for its distinctive use of pure Indian spices, which contribute to its rich and flavorful character. To provide further insight into the unique cuisine’s historical origins, let’s delve into the deep-rooted traditional heritage that underpins its exceptional recipes.

Udupi cuisine originates in the ancient city of Udupi, located on the southwestern coast of India in Karnataka. The cuisine’s heritage is closely intertwined with the Udupi Sri Krishna Matha, a revered temple founded by Madhvacharya, a prominent philosopher and saint, in the 13th century. Madhvacharya’s teachings emphasized devotion to Lord Krishna, and this devotion extended to the food offered at the temple.

The cuisine developed as a form of temple cuisine, primarily focused on preparing sattvic (pure and vegetarian) dishes to be offered as prasad (divine offerings) to Lord Krishna. This sacred approach to cooking laid the foundation for Udupi cuisine’s unique characteristics and certain ingredients, including pure Indian spices.

Udupi cuisine follows the principles of Ayurveda, a traditional system of medicine and wellness. This alignment with Ayurvedic principles ensures that the spices used are not only flavorful but also believed to have various health benefits. Spices like cumin, mustard seeds, fenugreek, and asafoetida are often used to enhance the taste of dishes while promoting digestion and overall well-being.

The cuisine’s historical significance is further accentuated by its association with the Dvaita philosophy of Madhvacharya, which advocates the duality of the soul and the Supreme Being. This philosophy influenced the choice of ingredients, food culture, and food preparation to maintain purity and simplicity.

Regional ingredients and the availability of local produce have also influenced Udupi cuisine. This adaptability over the centuries has allowed it to incorporate a wide range of flavors and textures, making it a diverse and vibrant culinary tradition.

In essence, the historical origin of Udupi cuisine is deeply rooted in tradition, spirituality, and cuisine, which involves a commitment to using pure Indian spices to create dishes that not only tantalize the taste buds but also nourish the soul. It’s a testament to this unique cuisine’s enduring cultural heritage and culinary excellence.

Udupi Recipes

The full-course Udupi meal is served on a raw green banana leaf, typically laid on the ground. The cuisine involves a specific order, with each dish occupying a designated spot on the banana leaf.

Bele Holige Recipe

Bele Holige, a classic and regal sweet treat from Karnataka, graces the table during numerous festivals. This tender and delectable obbattu is a delightful delicacy during Yugadi.


– 1 cup all-purpose flour (Maida)

– 3/4 teaspoon salt

– 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

– 3 teaspoons coconut oil

– 1 cup split Bengal gram (Chana Dal)

– 1 cup sugar

– 4 cardamom pods


Start by taking all-purpose flour in a wide bowl.

Add turmeric powder and salt to it.

Give it a quick mix, and then gradually add water to knead a loose and smooth dough.

The dough may be sticky at this point. Add oil and knead again until the dough becomes non-sticky.

Let it rest for 20-30 minutes.

To prepare the filling (Puran), put the split Bengal gram (Chana Dal) into a pressure cooker.

Include 2.5 cups of water and cook under pressure for four whistles.

Once the pressure has diminished, discard excess water from the cooked lentils.

Ensure that the Puran (Hoorana) attains the desired consistency; if it appears overly watery, it may pose difficulties when stuffing and rolling.

Transfer the cooked lentils to a mixer and add sugar and cardamom pods.

For a smoother Puran, you can use a wet grinder to grind lentils instead of a mixer.

Grind them into a fine paste, ensuring no broken lentils.

Transfer the mixture to a wide plate into lemon-sized balls, shaping them elliptically.

Keep all the stuffing balls (Puran) ready.

Now, place a lemon-sized portion of the dough on a dusted flour surface.

Stuff the lentil Puran into the dough and bring the edges on top to cover the stuffing completely.

With enough dusting, gently roll this into approximately a 6″ disc.

Transfer it onto a hot skillet and cook both sides until dark spots appear.

Kadale Bele Holige (Obbattu) is ready to be served with coconut milk and ghee.

Udupi Tomato Rasam Recipe

Presenting the Udupi Tomato Rasam recipe, a traditional dish from Udupi, Karnataka. The Udupi culinary tradition is renowned for its Satvik principles, abstaining from the use of onions and garlic in its preparations.

This delectable rasam highlights the use of ripe tomatoes simmered in zesty tamarind-infused water, harmoniously combined with cooked toor dal. The unique rasam powder, crafted from a medley of roasted spices, is the key to its exquisite flavor.


– 1/2 cup cooked split Toor Dal (Arhar dal)

– 2 cubed tomatoes

– 1 cup tamarind Water

– 1 tablespoon jaggery

– 2 sprigs finely chopped coriander (Dhania) leaves

Udupi Rasam Powder

– 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (Methi)

– 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds (Rai/Kadugu)

– 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (Jeera)

– 2 tablespoons coriander (Dhania) seeds

– 1 tablespoon freshly grated coconut

– 4 dry red chillies

– 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida (Hing)

– 1 sprig of curry Leaves


– 1 tablespoon ghee

– 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds (Rai/Kadugu)

– 1 dry red chilli

– 1 teaspoon of dry curries


Commence by pressure cooking the toor dal with water until it whistles four times.

Afterward, mash the dal using a muddler.

To craft the rasam powder, dry roast fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fresh coconut, dry red chilies, asafoetida, and curry leaves in a skillet over medium-low heat.

Subsequently, grind these components into a smooth powder using a mixer.

Combine the tamarind water, tomatoes, green chilies, curry leaves, rasam powder, and jaggery in a saucepan.

Allow it to simmer for at least 25 minutes, ensuring you add adequate water if it reduces.

Introduce the cooked dal, verify the seasoning, and blend thoroughly.

Let it simmer for 10 minutes, then incorporate the chopped coriander leaves.

For the tempering, heat a separate pan, add ghee, sizzle mustard seeds, and include the dry red chili and curry leaves.

Drizzle this tempering over the rasam.

Present the Udupi Tomato Rasam alongside steamed rice and Sabudana Sandige or Fryums.

Find some more incredible Indian recipes here: https://desifreshfoods.com/indian-recipes/

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