India is a country of unparalleled culinary diversity. Each and every region, each and every city has its own specialities, its own famous dishes. Today, I explore one such dish from North Karnataka region – Jowar Kudubu and Pundi Palle. The major crop this region produces is jowar, and it is a common staple in local cuisine. Gongura is also a popular plant growing in this region, which is also used by the local population to flavor their cooking. The Gongura is popularly used in Andhra cuisine as well as North Eastern cuisine. Gongura is very rich in iron, vitamins, folic acid, anti-oxidants, etc. It is generally a summer crop, hotter the place, the more sour the leaf gets. Scientifically, the plant for Gongura leaves could be Hibiscus cannabinus (Kenaf) or Hibiscus sabdariffa (Roselle).
Pundi Palle is said to be enormously influenced by Andhra and Maharashtrian cusines. It is a mixture of the gongura leaves, spices, green chilies, ginger, garlic and some pulses. It is quite spicy and tangy. This tangy side dish makes a great accompaniment with Jowar Kadubu, Rice kadubu and even steamed rice.
Jowar kadubu, as the name suggests, is made from jowar flour. They are in the form of small balls. These balls are placed on green jowar leaves in a pot and steamed. They are otherwise a little bland, save the sweetish taste of jowar. They make a great pair with the spicy and tangy pundi palle.
I tried this dish at the Sattvik Food Festival organized over Christmas in Ahmedabad. It was great. I had a tough time being able to say the name, and memorizing it. In fact, I made the stall volunteer say it aloud and slowly about 6-7 times so I could catch it. But once I caught it, I loved it, the dish and the name. Such a wonderful preparation.