Badagas are the indigenous people living in the Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu.It is said that almost 3 centuries earlier, a large group of people migrated from Mysore to the Nilgiris and these people,the Badagas,have been living here since then.
But some of the elderly locals say that they have been living there for a long,long time and that they are the original native tribes of The Nilgiris.
They speak the Badaga language which is a mixture of Kannada and Tamil.
I spent a large part of my childhood among these people,almost a decade and a half.Many if our neighbors were badagas. These people are known for their hospitality .
UNESCO has declared that the “Badagas of Nilgiris hospitality is the best” and have conferred the community with the “global” honor.Read more about it here.
So, coming to their cuisine part, they mostly use the crops from their fields in their cooking.
For their gravy curries, they make a special masala powder. I still remember my neighbor drying out the ingredients for the masala on a mat as soon as the sun comes out. It is then ground to a powder in the mill and store it in huge tin boxes. Even my present day neighbor agrees that the masala powder though prepared in bulk stays fresh and aromatic in this hot climate!As with any recipe, every family has its own version…
Simple ingredients are used in their cookery yet the dishes turn out delicious.
Potato is of so much importance in their diet that there is even a proverb [Dhodaru Shuloka] which says
‘Gandha illadha mane holla,Gaasu illadha udakka holla’ – meaning
Without a man[husband] a house is bad and without potato curry is bad!!!
To stay true to this proverb, here is a simple lunch that my neighbor prepared for us a couple of years back. I dutifully clicked the pictures for the blog 🙂
On the platter
A simple curry with potato and peas made using a their special masala powder
Though this looks simple, the curry is very flavorful and this make a filling meal.
Do take a look at the other menus in the Lunch Series