The English food writer, Jane Grigson, remarked: ” It could be said that European civilization – and Chinese civilization too – has been founded on the pig… cooked and cured from snout to tail.” While we may not venture to say quite the same of Coorg, our hunting festival of Keilpolud, our harvest at Puthari, our weddings – in fact, almost every celebration would not be the same without a dish of pork. It could be a classic pandi curry, or small cubes of preserved pork, cooked in its own fat, or morsels of smoky flavoured roast pork, blazing with the flavours of bird’s eye chillis whatever the favourite, pork makes the occasion.

The hefty wild boar that roamed the once dense forests of Coorg, with its family of deliciously striped piglets was a formidable adversary, respected by every Coorg hunter. Intelligent, cunning and terrifyingly strong, generations of hunting experience is summed up in a simple adage: ‘do not stand in the path of a charging boar.’ Wild boar meat was much sought after, and once its sharp bristles were smeared with mud, and burnt off in a fire built up with grass, there was plenty to be done with the meat, both fresh and dried. There were as many stories about wild boars, as there were hunters in Coorg, but one day, the wildlife laws changed everything.

The end of hunting did not mean the end of pork on the table, though. My mother -in -law, like many Coorg women, reared pigs. Large, well-fed and active, they ambled around, familiar figures, until one day, they vanished. This happened at regular intervals, and no one quite asked where they went, preferring to maintain a discreet silence on the topic. She once had an adorable pair of piglets, oddly – named Jack and Jill, who became a great favourite with the grandchildren of the house. The children would run across to the pigsty every day, the littlest one, my daughter, sitting on the wall, while the boys played with, and often teased the piglets. One day the boys were chased fiercely around the sty by the piglets, and quickly gave up teasing them. When Jack and Jill disappeared some time later, I worried about what explanation to offer the children; but no one asked too many questions. The Coorg passion for that dish of sultry pandi curry on the table, that bottle of pork pickle to take back home after the holidays, triumphed over recently made farmyard friendships.

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. GDMMDH says:

    I love pork, but was a bit worried about the worms issue that i am obviously ill informed about. Can you tell me about that please.

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Like all food, vegetables or meat, it is very important to buy it from a good, clean and reliable source. Good quality farmed pork, like what is sold by the Bangalore Ham Shop on M.G. Road who have their own farms,is safe.

  2. Aarish says:

    Yummmmm, truly the “land of Kaveri” & i hereby re-christen your home “pandi heaven”!

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hi Aarish, coming from a chef like you, I welcome that. Do try the recipes,especially this one. It takes more time, but works brilliantly.

  3. Ra-Ben says:

    I just love this Coorg staple. So far I’ve tried the Pandi curry at The Windsor Pub, Koshy’s and, if I remember correctly, Coorg (just off CMH Road) and they were quite good. Any other places that you would recommend?

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Yes, Ra-Ben, we recently had dinner at Dakshin, at the Windsor Manor. They had an authentic and tasty pandi curry. Master Chef George Jayasurya has been trained by Mrs. Ranee Vijaya Kuttaiah, who is a superb cook herself. Chef Jayasurya sources kachampuli from Coorg, and slow roasts his spices in the traditional way. I think you will like their version.

  4. Ashvin says:

    Coorg! my favourite destination in the whole world and Pandi Curry makes it so much better. Cant wait to try this recipe out. I have tasted Pandi Curry made by Mrs Ponnapa and I still start licking my fingers when i think about it. Today i get to know the secret and I am all excited!!
    Thanks alot ma’am

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hi Ashvin, great to see you here. Enjoy the recipe, it’s really good, and there’s another, shortcut one which is going to be up soon, so you can decide which one you like better.

  5. Uday says:

    That pandi curry was DIVINE!! Remember Ashvin how the entire staff at Graze went crazy over it!!!

    Thank you for sharing the recipe with us ma’am!!

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Uday, thank you very much, and I hope you will follow this page, there are many more tried and tested, much loved recipes on their way.

  6. binny says:

    Akka, i have had pandi curry made by you couple of times and must admit i just love it.. “Delicious” is the only one word to desribe it 🙂 thank u for sharing it.

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Can I now tempt you to try out the recipe?!!! Then you can tell me how it turned out. 😉

  7. Antonios Vasileiadis says:

    This is just great ! After nine years of visiting and actually living, for months on, in Kodagu i will be able to enjoy a delicious meal, and share this enjoyment with my friends here in Greece. I had some recipes from several people there but this one is far beyond in details and about the actual way that it has to be prepared. I am sure that the diners I will offer to my friends will become famous in all Athens.

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Welcome, Antonios, it’s wonderful to see your comments here. Enjoy the recipes, there will be more in the coming weeks. And since you are totally Kodava at heart, I am sure you and your wife will do justice to to our cooking! Thank you!

  8. Prashanth says:

    Mrs Ponnapa you are very inspirational to many chefs like me in the city ,with your information about local traditional cuisine and ingredients.I was one of the lucky ones who had a chance to taste your Pandi curry which was so yummy and flavorful and always wanted to have that recipe.I am sure ,these recipes are tried and tested for a long time and is the best one can get .Thanks for the recipes and looking forward for more.Will definitely try .

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Prashanth, thank you very much, you have made my day with your post! I hope you enjoy trying out the recipes, and now you can make it anytime you feel like – but in case you don’t, then a dish full of pandi curry is just a phone call away 🙂

  9. Bridget White-Kumar says:

    Looks so delicious and I’m sure it tastes divine!! Will try it out this weekend Kaveri. Thank you for showcasing the traditional dishes of your community. Its very important to preserve for posterity the tastes and flavours of our Communities otherwise they’ll simply die out some day.

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      You’ve done such a great job, Bridget, with a host of cookbooks – we can only hope to follow!

  10. Priya says:

    First, thanks fr a great recipe! In the first recipe ie authentic pandi, When does the onion and garlic get added ? And is I’d added in a fried or raw state? The recipe was unclear on that. Making it for the first time so looking forward to it!

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hello Priya, welcome to A Gourmet’s Table In Coorg. The sliced onion and crushed garlic are mixed in, raw, with the pork and salt, pepper and turmeric in steps 1 and 2 and set aside. Add this entire mixture at step 5 of the recipe & follow the rest of the instructions. Since there is no rush of pressure cooking, everything cooks very slowly, and literally melts.
      I have to say that the second recipe is also entirely authentic and very, very tasty, from my grandmother. If you are cooking it for the first time,I recommend the second recipe. Also, do click on Note On Ingredients before you begin cooking, there are some helpful hints there. You are welcome to ask any questions, I’ll be happy to answer them. Enjoy the pandi curry : )

  11. Philipp says:

    Thanks Kaveri. Your recipe sounds really tasty. I want to try it out if I can find all the ingredients here in Zurich. – The way you describe Coorg – the beautiful landscape, the customs and the delicious food – entices me to visit this place. I look forward to more savoury Coorg recipes from you!

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hello Philipp, now that is a real challenge, searching for these ingredients in Zurich. If you would like me to suggest substitutes, I would be happy to. Yes, Coorg is very beautiful and the culture unique, well worth a visit, you would love it, and of course, the food too.

  12. Jyoti Kalapa says:

    Two perfect recipes , thank you Kaveri for sharing them ! Of all the pork dishes I have tasted, Pandi Curry is what I like best by a long shot , followed closely ( I know closely is kind of Non Sequitur after I have said “By a long shot “by Pork Chilly fry as you nurse your favourite poison. For a dish that tastes so divine it is amazingly easy to make. I guess the secret lies in just the right blend of spices and the magical elixir Kachampulli . It has been proven that the fruit has cholesterol lowering properties, so what genius to use it in a pork recipe . It is the Absolute Hog Heaven .

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Pandi curry is a great favourite, and I’m not surprised you love it, Jyoti. I have to say I like the chilli fry better – but on the other hand, the gravy of a pandi curry….. choices, choices! For most people, Kachampuli is associated with pork, but we use it in chicken, fish, crab fry and curry, mutton chops, brinjal fry and many, many other dishes. Most of the people I know in the villages tell me that it was used in all the vegetable dishes too, before tomatoes arrived on the scene, in a thinner concentration. It also has a number of medicinal uses-home remedies some of which I have on sheets of paper, handwritten by my mum-in -law. Very versatile, to say the least.

  13. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

    This recipe has an amazing number of shares – I wish everyone would tell me just how their version of this Coorg classic turned out !

  14. Aliena says:

    Tried this with some ghee rice and the flavours were spot on with the “puli – hit” with a hint of spice from the chillies!

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      A very unusual combination, Aliena,as we usually eat pandi curry with kadambuttus (steamed rice puttus) in Coorg. The mild flavour of the puttus offsets the rich curry. But if it worked for you with ghee rice,that’s just fine, and I hope it inspires you to try some of the other recipes. Enjoy!

  15. Abhi Katyal says:

    Hi…how long should the slow cooking method take after you add the warm water (step 6 in the first recipe above)…I’m sure it varies, but would you mind sharing how long it typically takes for you for the pork to be done after the warm water is added? Thanks!

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hi Abhi, thanks for visiting this page. As you say, there are lots of variables in the cooking time, the main one being the quality of the pork, and the intensity of the flame, and how long you cook it at step 5. Just as an indication, with tender pork, it should take about 20 mins. Pinch a cube of pork after about 15-20 mins, you’ll get a good idea how much longer you need to cook it, and remember that there’s another 10 mins of cooking to finish it. This recipe may take a little practice, but it’s worth the effort! It would be nice to know how it turns out.

  16. Gautam Khokale says:

    Hi Everybody!

    Just wanted you all to know that I’ve been making this beautiful recipe for over 2 yrs now and we are just totally LOVING it. We have it with our Maharatrian Rice Bhakri to compliment it. I would like to take this opportunity to humbly thank Kaveri Ponnappa and can’t thank her enough for sharing this fantastic dish!

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hello Gautam, thanks so much for writing in, it’s always nice to know how a recipe turned out.I’m really glad to hear that you love this recipe.I have eaten many,many versions of Pandi Curry,and this is the one I enjoy the best.I’m sure that your rice Bhakri’s go well with this curry. We sometimes eat it with Akki Ottis.Someday, do try it out with Kadambuttus, that’s the perfect combination,and I’m sure you’ll love it. It’s a joy to share good food.

  17. Vijaya Shetty says:

    Had this dish Bangalore at a friends place. Loved it! Thank you forsharing your recipe.

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hello Vijaya, so glad you liked the curry. It’s a great favourite, but all our other Coorg dishes are very good too, so do try them!

  18. Lakshmi Muthana says:

    Hi Kaveri.
    I am a kodvati living on the US and I live alone. I often dream of my mum’s pandi curry and wish I were at home or attend a kodava wedding to feast on our most famous dish !! I came through your website and loved browsing through all the recepies and the amazing pictures associated with it. I tried the pandi curry at home. It was nothing compared to the one being made in india because the lean meat here doesnt give you much taste. But i am glad i did try the recepie by following your instructions ! Thank you very much for posting them. Hoping to see more !

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hello Lakshmi, it’s wonderful to hear from you, thank you for visiting my blog. I’m happy that you enjoy reading it, and browsing through the pictures. I’m sure you pandi curry turned out delicious – next time, try and get some (about 250gms) fat and bone mixed, and add it to the curry. It will give you all the flavour that you need, just like a ‘wedding curry’! Of course, this means going to a butcher,which you may or may not have the time for. And yes, there are many more recipes, and more to come. The Coorg Table is also on Facebook now, please do follow us there too. Good luck with your cooking!

  19. Azia says:

    Hi Kaveri,

    Thanks a lot for your wonderful recipe. I tried out the first recipe and it came out finger-licking tasty!! 🙂 Everyone loved it! Hoping to try the second recipe sometime soon as well…Thank you very much for sharing such wonderful authentic recipes.

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hello Azia, thanks a lot for writing in. It’s very adventurous of you to have tried out the first recipe, only because it requires a lot of time and patience, although it’s worth it for the taste! And it’s great to hear that it came out well. Do tell me how the second one turns out. There’s a lot more to Coorg cooking than pandi curry, I hope you will be tempted to try some other dishes too. Best wishes. Kaveri

  20. Ashwin Uthappa says:

    Great work in putting up this site, Kaveri. I especially like the way you explain about the ingredients before showing the recipes…..very very mouth watering.

    In a quick reply to Lakshmi Muthana, we faced the same problem in the US. We either get only meat or only fat, but never together in that lovely combination of chutti with meat 🙂

    However, we found a Chinese store nearby which sold pork exactly the way we like it. Look for these stores nearby ( I think Korean or Vietnamese stores also may sell pork)…and you should be quite happy. Also, you get baimbley in Chinese stores too…though not the same as we get in Coorg, but a decent alternative nonetheless.

    Happy cooking…and eating…to all…

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hello Ashwin, thank you for visiting, and for your appreciation and good wishes. It’s always wonderful when readers write in with their responses and experiences, it motivates me to create and share more. I’m so glad you found the ‘right’ kind of pork, it’s so important for our food! And going to Chinatown for bamboo shoots is exactly what I used to do in London, when I got homesick for bimbale curry. I hope you continue to enjoy The Coorg Table. Best wishes, Kaveri

  21. Priyadarshini Nandy says:

    Dear Kaveri, you entire website is edible. What else can I say. I love the personal tone, the photographs, the way the stories flow, like some sort of a fairy tale. I look forward to coming back every now and then 🙂

    1. kaveri ponnapa says:

      Thank you! And you are welcome back to this site as many times as you like, in fact, the more often you visit, the better. I hope that I’ll always have something interesting for you.Warmest wishes. Kaveri

  22. Ashwin Uthappa says:

    Hi Kaveri – not to take the attention away from Pandi curry, but do you have any homemade recipes for Pork pickle?

    Thank you

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hello Ashwin, you don’t say if you’ve tried the pandi curry recipes? I do hope you have, and would love to hear how they turned out. The pressure cooker version is my grand mom’s recipe that I have made countless times, for a wide range of friends and guests, and I have to say it’s the best of all the versions I have tried.To answer your question, yes, I do have a very, very good recipe for pork pickle that I have been making for years. It may take a while, but it will go up on this page sometime. There’s always a bottle at hand in my fridge, but since every post is created with freshly made dishes, it takes some planning and time for a new recipe to go up. I hope you’ll keep visiting these pages, and have the patience to wait for the pork pickle – and also the guava jelly. In the meanwhile, it would be great if you wrote in about any dishes that you have enjoyed – and do share the page with food-loving friends. All good wishes. Kaveri

    2. Ashwin Uthappa says:

      Thanks for the reply, Kaveri. Pandi curry is a staple at my place…..and another one of my favorites is the kootu curry…probably one of my veggie faves, along with chettu kurry. But yeah, I have been looking for a great pork pickle recipe….and I would wait for you to put up one in the site. Thank you

  23. priya says:

    Dear Maa’m,

    The picture of the pork curry looks absolutely delicious. How can I get access to the recipe? I cannot find the recipe for the same on your blog. I look forward to your reply. Regards

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hello Priya, thanks you for visiting this page-yes, this pork curry is truly delicious. I am sorry about the recipe, I had to take it down due to the rampant commercial misuse of my recipes and words by a hotel chain in Kerala, without permission or giving credits. I will probably put one of the recipes back sometime,so do look out for it. In the meanwhile, why don’t you try some of the others,like chicken fry, which is very good too. Best wishes.Kaveri

  24. Sonia says:

    Dear Kaveri,

    I’m a novice Cook (started cooking just 4 months ago).

    I made your slow version of pandi curry twice and the second time was better than the first time.

    It’s my birthday on 21st feb and I was craving for the pandi curry… I even got all ingredients and am fully prepared only to be extremely disappointed not to find the recipe!

    Is there any way you can send it to me? My email id is mentioned

    I would really really be thankful to you and would fully appreciate it.

    Best regards,
    Sonia
    USA

      1. Sonia says:

        Hi,

        Thank you for responding.

        I did send you an email soon after I commented here.

        Please let me know if you received it.

        Thank you once again.

        Best wishes
        Sonia

  25. Asha says:

    Mu husband has cooked this couple times and its been our favorite. We also learned that this pork is good when cooked with pork belly so wanted to try this out.

    Now I can’t find the recipe. Please let us know if the location of recipe has moved.

  26. priya bajpai says:

    Dear Ma’am,

    I have this insatiable urge to prepare your pandi curry for my pork crazy hubby….is it possible for you send it to me on my personal email id mentioned here.

    Many many thanks!
    Priya

  27. Gautam Sambhare says:

    Hi Ma’am …… have been making Pandi curry using your recipe for a while now, in fact have commented here as well but surprisingly my comments seem to have disappeared!

    Haven’t cooked this in a while and thought I will today for friends coming over, so here I am, 2 Kgs of pork bought and most of the ingredients bought (from memory) and no recipe!!! and i do know that the true secret is the process…..

    Went through the above thread of comments and I do appreciate the reason you have pulled down the recipe ….. damn that kerela restaurant!

    Going to attempt from memory now……so wish me luck ….. cursing myself for not saving the recipe earlier!

    A big thank you for introducing me to home made pandi curry!

    Sincere Regards,

    Gautam

    1. Kaveri says:

      Hello Gautam, Weclome to The Coorg Table. I sincerely hope that your pandi curry turned just great, and your friends were happy with it. I am so sorry for this! But I hope that it is something like good news to you that I am working on a cookbook which will have multiple recipes for this curry, pork fry, preserved pork and much, much more. Please do look out for it, it may take a while, but it will be well worth it, I hope. In the meanwhile, do try out some of the recipes that are still up on the pages. Best wishes.Kaveri

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hi Maria, thank you for visiting- I’m trying to hurry, but a good book is a lot of work! Do keep reading and look out for updates on these pages. Best wishes. Kaveri 😊

  28. NITIN SUMITRAN says:

    Hello. Are any of your recipes, published online. I remember seeing it a few years back & actually cooking it your style with Kachampuli which I coaxed a friend to get from me on his trip to Coorg. I do not seem to have the recipe now & am very eager to make the Coorg Pandhi Curry once again. Regards. Nitin

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hi Nithin, Please write to me at :kaverikamb@gmail.com I will help you out on the details of pandi curry. Best. Kaveri

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