“Exotic tribal cuisine” by old tribal communities of South India

India is a country where we find ancient tribes with a great culture. There is around 8.6% of the total population are tribal people in India. The tribal people are the native people of the land, who are generally called Adivasi. Our ancient literature ancient history and literature have always mentioned a large number of tribes living in India, this shows how important role they had. Well, here I am going to talk about their food, the tribal cuisine!. They have their simple yet unique recipes. I am giving you 4 original recipes of delicious tribal food dishes by tribal communities of south India.

Let me introduce one of the amazingly delicious dish by the tribal community of Kerela “Chemmeen Kari”. Kerela has been one of the most popular tourist attractions. The visitors come to the place to seek peace in the divine beauty of nature. Not just nature attracts people but also the cuisine they serve is loved by everyone. They use rare ingredients and cook the food with the finest recipes.

1.Chemmeen kari (prawn curry)

Chemmeen Kari (prawn curry)
Chemmeen Kari

Chemmeen Kari or prawn curry is an undeniably delicious dish for seafood lovers. It is a non-vegetarian tribal cuisine by the tribal community of Kerela. Ingredients are written below followed by the method of preparation.


  • Prawn (chemmeen)- 250 g
  • Chilli powder- 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder- half tsp
  • Coriander powder- 2 tsp
  • Pepper powder- half tsp
  • Crushed ginger- a pinch
  • Garlic- 2 pods
  • Green chilli- 4 to 5
  • Coconut oil- 2 tsp
  • Mustard
  • Curry leaves
  • Coccum (kudampuli)- 2 or 3
  • Cumin (roasted and powdered)- 1 tsp
  • Salt- according to taste


First heat some water in a vessel (earthen). Put some turmeric powder, cut green chillies into small pieces then add it with other ingredients, chilli powder, coriander powder, crushed ginger, and coccum, leave all the ingredients for a few minutes.

   Next, add prawns and cover the vessel. After a few minutes, remove the cover and add crushed garlic. Stir it well. Then add pepper powder and stir again. 

   After that, take a pan and put some oil into it. Then curry leaves and mustard, stir quickly or else it will get burned, then add this on top of the cooked prawns. Stir well and here you go! Your dish is ready.

Next, let’s discover the recipe for tender and soft well-cooked chicken. “the bamboo chicken” is one of the most popular foods which is originally a tribal recipe for chicken. Bamboo chicken or Bongulo chicken is a tribal cuisine of Araku, Andhra Pradesh. Araku is a small place near Vizag. Bamboo chicken is getting love and attention from modern society also, and it’s becoming very popular.

2.Bamboo (bongulo) chicken

Bongulo Chicken (bamboo chicken)
Bongulo Chicken


  • 350gm chicken
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 lemon
  • 5gm ginger-garlic paste
  • 5ml oil
  • 5gm coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1 green bamboo stem, freshly cut


Rinse the chicken thoroughly and put it into a mixing bowl to start the process. Add the turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala, ginger-garlic paste, lemon juice salt, red chilli powder, and oil and mix well. Then leave it to marinate for 30 minutes to an hour.

Next, place firewood on the ground and start the fire for cooking. Take the freshly-cut green bamboo stems with one end closed with the node. Rinse the inner part with water thoroughly before using it. Fill 3/4th of the bamboo with the marinaded chicken and seal the top with balled-up banana leaves properly covered. Place it on the fire and leave for 45 minutes to an hour.

Once done, hold the bamboo with a pincer, and remove the covered leafy plug from the bamboo cylinder. Take a plate and turn the bamboo upside down over it. Winner winner chicken dinner! Serve the dish hot.

Bongulo Chicken (bamboo chicken)
Bongulo Chicken

Well, it is rightly said that “Kerela is a paradise for seafood lovers”. There are so many varieties of dishes made with fish. If you’re looking for an authentic recipe for making fish curry, then “puzha meen” might become your favorite.

3.Puzha Meen (River Fish)

Puzha Meen (river fish) Curry
Puzha Meen Curry

Puzha Meen Curry is basically river fish curry which is a absolute delightful tribal dish. It is known for the rich use of local ingredients of kerela, techniques and vessels add a earthy native feel to it. The tourists come to explore the place and fall in love with the taste of food. They enjoy the deliciousness with every bite. So let’s get started.


  • Puzha Meen (river fish) – 1
  • Chilli Powder – 1 tsp.
  • Turmeric Powder – ½ tsp.
  • Coconut Oil – 1 tsp     
  • Coriander Powder – 2 tsp.
  • Green Chilli – 4 no
  • Coccum (kudampuli) – 2
  • Mustard     
  • Curry Leaves     
  • Cumin Seed
  • Ginger- 1 tsp.
  • Garlic – 4 pods
  • Salt – according to taste

Method of Preparation

Heat some oil in an earthen vessel. Put green chillies and stir. Then add chilli powder with coriander powder and stir. Add garlic(4 pods), then pour some water. Season with turmeric, salt and coccum. Over hot boiling, add the cut pieces of fish and cover the vessel properly with adding crushed ginger, garlic and cumin.

After the fish is well cooked, remove the covered vessel. Take another small pan and heat some oil. Put curry leaves and some mustard, then stir. Now add this on top of the cooked fish and stir well. Done! your dish is ready to serve.

Coming to the last dish, here I present you a tasty dessert recipe. “Koovaleputtu” is a sweet steamed dish that is easy to cook at home also. All you need to do is gather all the ingredients and follow the recipe.

4.Koovaleputtu: Steamed Jackfruit Cake

Koovaleputtu (steamed jackfruit cake)

Having second thoughts about skipping dessert? Well, here you can make something healthy and nutritious! Let’s talk about a recipe from Coorg, Karnataka. By using ripe Jackfruit with ripe Bananas they get taste and nutrition both, because it’s steamed, it retains most of the nutrition.


  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup finely grated coconut
  • 3 Cardamoms, powdered
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 1 cup of very ripe Jackfruit pulp (deseed the fruit and puree it in a food processor)
  • 1 cup broken rice (the same size as rava)
  • A little water, if necessary
  • Banana leaves, cut into 10 cm * 10 cm sections (may require 8-10 such sections)


Wash the broken rice rava. Then add the Jackfruit pulp, sugar, salt, cardamom powder, grated coconut, and ghee to it. Mix it well and set this for 15 to 20 minutes. If the mixture seems too dry, add a little water so that the mixture remains moist. Remember that the mixture should not be too watery.

Prepare the banana leaves by passing them over a flame for a few seconds to make them soft for folding. On each section of the Banana leaf, place two tsp of the mixture prepared before and fold the pieces. Secure with a toothpick if needed.

Steam these in a steamer for 20 minutes. Allow cooling. Remove from the Banana leaf. Hooray! Koovale Puttus is ready to be served.

Koovaleputtu: Steamed Jackfruit Cake

Wrapped up my article with a sweet dessert, hope you like it. India has always been praised for its spices and flavors. What I am concerned about is our own people are forgetting our roots and tradition, day by day people are very much attracted to try out different cuisine of different countries and letting go of our authentic origins. It is an attempt to bring back the traditional flavor to our food. Do not forget to give a sweet comment if you liked the article.