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Thin, crispy, crust fried to the right shade of light brown. A succulent filling of sweetened coconut, a sweetness not jarring and obnoxious but mild and sophisticated. The Karchikai, for me, is symbolic of the rich gastronomic heritage of Kannada culture. Yet this, and many other delicacies: chirote, mandgi and even the humble alhitt are disappearing from the banana leaves on festive days in the recent past. The reason is fairly obvious: the qualities that are prerequisites for Indian cooking, patience, skill, passion and unconditional, motherly love are quite asynchronous with the ideals of the global village. And that’s the way the Karchikai crumbles.

A rare treat indeed!

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