Chefs share some native sweet and savory recipes made in south India

Ganesh Chaturthi, Ganesha Habba or Vinayagar Chaturthi… you may call it, but this is a favorite festival of many people. Like most Indian festivals, the festival plate is a display in most homes.

Tamil Nadu: Kara Pidi Kozhukattai

Chef Priya Veera says, “These delicious steamed buns are made with raw rice and spices. Kara kozhukattai are savory versions of kozhukattai, made by steaming rice flour and a mixture of spices. Fragrant kozhukattais. Delicious, easy to digest with spicy chili sauce of your choice can be served for breakfast, dinner and of course, also made during Ganesha Chaturthi.”


Raw rice: 1 cup

Peanut or coconut oil: 2 teaspoons

Mustard seeds: 1/2 teaspoon

Urad dhal: 1/2tsp

Channa dal: 1/2tsp

Hinge: 1/2tsp

Dried green or red peppers: 2 no

curry leaves

Grated coconut: 1/2 cup

Water: 2 cups

Salt to taste

Asafoetida: a pinch


Wash the raw rice and let it dry for 10 minutes and then grind it into a coarse powder. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the ground rice flour and dry roast, until hot, by simmering then setting aside on a plate. Put the oil, mustard, urad dhal, channa dal, and asafoetida in the same pan, add the oil, mustard, urad dhal, channa dal, and asafoetida over low heat. Then add finely chopped green chili or dried red chili, curry leaves and stir-fry thoroughly. Then add water, grated coconut, and salt to boil. Above, add a little bit of roasted rice flour, mix well without lumps, simmer, cook for 5 minutes. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then apply the oil on your hands and shape it into a dumpling. Then, grease the plate and steam for 10 minutes and serve hot with coconut chutney, red chili sauce or khara chutney.

Karnataka: Mushti kadubu

Chef Sombir Choudhary says, “In southern India, rice paper means holding hands. Kadubus or dumplings are rolled by hand and thus have the impression of fists on them. It is specially made for the Ganesha festival. While kadubus is usually made as a savory dish, here is a sweet variation.”


Khoya (Mawa): 250 gm

Palm sugar: 65 gm

Grated coconut: 80 gm

Cardamom powder: 1 gm

Ghee: 20gm

A little salt


Take a saucepan and add the buffalo milk butter over medium heat. Add grated coconut and khoya, followed by cardamom powder and jaggery. Now, throw in some salt. Mix everything and turn off the stove. While the mixture is still warm, grease your fingers with buttermilk and form a dumpling. Garnish with pistachios or almonds.

Coastal Karnataka: Haalbai

Chef Indira Shetty says, “A recipe unique to coastal Karnataka, particularly South Kanara, Haalbai is a sweet dish that had humble beginnings in the traditional homes of this region. As coconuts are readily available, abundant in the region (coconut milk is the base of the dish) it’s the recipe for a quick sweet treat.”


Whole wheat: 1/2 kg (soaked overnight)

Grated coconut: two tablespoons

Cardamom: Eight

Palm sugar: 3/4 kg of jaggery

A little salt.


Puree soaked wheat, grated coconut and cardamom. Strain the liquid with a felt cloth. Add a little water to the remaining mixture and take the second extract. Now, take a large saucepan and add the mixture along with jaggery and a pinch of salt. Continue stirring constantly over medium heat and make sure that there are no lumps. When the mixture turns thick, turn off the heat. Pour the mixture onto a greased plate and let it sit for four hours. Cut to desired shape and garnish with cashews.

Andhra Pradesh and Telangana: Boorlu

Chef Sumitra says: “Boorlu is a sweet filled with lentils, grated coconut, sugar and cardamom. It is a very important part of a festive meal or any celebration. The procedure is lengthy but the result is always good. It is done in traditional Telugu Brahmin houses during festivals.”


Urad dal: 1 cup

Raw rice: 2 cups

Moong dal: 1 cup

Grated coconut: 1 cup

elaichi powder: 1/2 teaspoon

Sugar: 1 cup



The outer coating is dosa powder. Urad dal and rice must be freshly ground and not fermented. For the stuffing, soak moong dal for two hours and coarsely grind. Then it needs to be steamed in a pot for 1 whistle. Remove after cooling and coarsely grind in a mixing jar into small batches. Keep it in a jar. Add 1 cup of grated coconut, 1/2 teaspoon of elaichi powder and 1 cup of powdered sugar. Mix it together and form balls the size of a lemon. Add very little salt to the dosa dough, adjust the thickness. Heat new oil in kadai. Drop these dough balls dipped in the dough and fry until golden brown. They become very crispy and delicious. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.

– Compiled by Sunayana Suresh, Sharanya CR and Madhu Daithota

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