Since Coorgs hunted regularly, venison, wild boar, barking deer and several other kinds of wild game formed part of their diet. These meats were also sliced, rubbed with salt and turmeric, strung or skewered and sun-dried, or hung from the rafters in smoky, wood fired kitchens, where they acquired a special flavour of their own. Another generation recalls that this was also where gunpowder was stored, as the kitchen was the driest room – old Coorg lived dangerously! Dried meat was prized during the monsoon, when there was no hunting. Smoky, chewy, it slowly releases its concentrated flavours, set off by the tang of lime. Dried meat is rich and earthy, served as a snack. It is also curried, but somehow that version never endeared itself to my palate. It’s easy to imagine how it kept the hardworking Coorgs warm and happy during the rains, eaten with a warming drink, made from germinated paddy.

Thank you for visiting this page. If you read something that you enjoy, or see an image that you like, please take a moment to write a response. Do look out for the recipes of all the food featured here in my upcoming cookbook.

Image Credits: Nithin Sagi
All Food Styling: Kaveri Ponnapa

Kaveri Ponnapa

Kaveri Ponnapa is an author and widely published independent writer on heritage, food and wine. She is the author of The Vanishing Kodavas, an acclaimed cultural study of the Kodava people, and a collection of Kodava poems, A Place Apart, Poems from Kodagu. Kaveri is an acknowledged authority on Kodava food traditions.

  1. Kripal Amanna says:

    Kaveri, this looks quite spectacular. Love the way the texture of the dish appeals to the palate, it’s got my tastebuds going.
    Look forward to more such delectable treats.

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      This particular dish has very intense flavours, which makes it a favourite with many people, especially with a good drink in hand, to accompany it. I can cook it (almost!) as good as my grandmother but the credit for the textures lies in the photographer’s art! Thank you for your response, do look out for more on these pages.

  2. binny says:

    yummyyyy:) onak erachi is def. one of my favorite dish!! Akka..i have tasted this at your place and all i have to say is…it had all the ingredients in the right propotion and it was just “PERFECT”

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      I know you are a die hard fan of traditional Coorg food, Binny,with excellent home cooks in your family, so it makes me really happy to hear that you liked this version of onak erachi as much as you did. Thank you for writing in.

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      This tastes as good as it looks, so do try it out – a little effort involved in drying the meat, but once you get the idea, it’s really very simple. Enjoy!

  3. prabeen Singh says:

    Kaveri, Thankyou, This is the ultimate book on the Coorgs hat i have been waiting for many years. Hope I can meet you soon.

    1. kaveri ponnapa says:

      Hi Prabeen, thank you very much for writing in. It’s always wonderful to hear from a reader that they liked the book, it’s my tribute to Coorg. Do try out our food, it’s quite spectacular! Look forward to meeting you someday. Best wishes.Kaveri

  4. ASLESHA MADAPPA says:

    Travelling thru New Zealand by road, we saw large areas where Deer is bred, 100s of the animals! And on the menu at restaurants venison meat!! More recently I met a friend in Texas and he told me he took some deer from India and breeds there.
    If only we could have a breeding place in collaboration with Forest Dept, for Boars, Deer and wild fowl, mainly for culling, all these legacies of “Vanak Yerchi”can be continued without any guilt!!

    Smoked, full of wild flavour and fresh lime………….drooling already!! The photograph and your description are superb!

  5. Saroja Somaiah says:

    Hi,

    Tried this amazing recipe and everyone at home loved it so much. Reviving old recipes and making sure the tradition is kept alive and what better way that cuisine to tell such amazing stories! Cannot wait for your recipe book. Lots of love and thanks for all the help, always.

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hi Saroja, thank you for visiting this page. I’m delighted that you have tried the recipes and enjoyed the results.Do keep reading, and keep writing whenever you can. Warm wishes. Kaveri.

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