Last Updated: June 15, 2023, 17:09 IST
Banavasi, located near Sirsi in Uttara Kannada district, is an ancient temple town in Karnataka. Nestled deep in the rainforests of the Western Ghats along the Varada River, Banavasi was once known as Vanavasika and later as Jayanthipura or Vaijayanthi Pura during the Kadamba period. Interestingly, before Bengaluru became the capital of Karnataka, Banavasi held that honor. This historical connection between the two capitals is further enriched by a unique food item called Kalbuthi.
During the rule of the Kadamba rulers, who were the first native empire to establish Karnataka’s prominence, the Madhukeshwara Temple was constructed in the 5th century AD to honor Lord Shiva.
Around 400 years ago, the Brahmins of Chitpavan discovered a special smooth stone with high mineral content in the Varada River.
Kalbuthi, a traditional snack, is believed to be the first dish prepared by the Brahmins in Banavasi using this unique stone. Travel writers Anurag Mallick and Priya Ganapathy discovered an heirloom Kalbuthi recipe at the residence of 79-year-old Indira Phadke from the Phadke Anno family. Interestingly, this snack is prepared individually for each family member, as each person prefers their own stone.
Here is the recipe for Kalbuthi:
Mix curd and rice with coconut oil, chopped onions, neem leaves, pepper, mustard seeds, turmeric, and salt.
On a high flame, heat a round flintstone picked up from the river bank using tongs for at least 10 minutes.
Once the stone is hot, pour Oggaraṇe (a mixture of sesame, curry leaves, and asafoetida used for seasoning) over it. Then, using tongs, bury the stone in the curd rice mixture. The stone imparts a strong smoky flavor that enhances the taste of the dish.
Cover the food with a banana leaf for 5 minutes while it cooks, and then enjoy the piping hot Kalbuthi.
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