COORG RECIPES WEBSITE: PIONEERING A CULINARY JOURNEY
By P.T. Bopanna
I am neither a foodie nor do I have basic knowledge of cooking, but by involving those better qualified and doing some learning on the job, I was able to run a website dedicated to Coorg food. Today coorgrecipes.com is the ‘go to’ digital space for Kodagu cuisine.
I have been asked in the past about what sparked off my interest in Coorg food. Well, I had already undertaken the task of chronicling all things Coorg, and at some point during that journey I realised that the land has a rich culinary tradition as well, one which is certainly worth preserving. To that end, I put together a Coorg recipes website www.coorgrecipes.com way back in 2006.
How did I kick-start the website off to a good beginning? There were many who came forward to help, initially Manavattira Sharada Mandanna, contributed recipes that were well received. I also added recipes culled from the book ‘Kodava Theeni’ brought out by the Karnataka Kodava Sahithya Academy, this work was translated into English by Boverianda Maya Muddaiya.
A textile designer, Chindamada Arati Monappa also contributed content for the website on Coorg food and lifestyle. Besides which, the well-known researcher Boverianda Nanjamma Chinnappa, shared an article that she authored, titled ‘An Introduction To Coorg Cuisine’. It had cartoons by Nadikerianda Nala Ponnappa which added zing to the website.
I also included a ‘Coorg recipes section’ in the first edition of my book ‘Discover Coorg’ which was well-received by readers.
With the recipes site gaining traction, I made the site dynamic and introduced a section ‘Recipe of the Month’ where people could contribute Coorg recipes.
Over the years, the recipe site has garnered a rich collection of Coorg recipes contributed mostly by home cooks. With the internet boom, there has been a steady rise in the traffic to the site from readers seeking Kodagu recipes.
Till 2012, the recipe site included a section on Coorg jewellery, but wanting to focus totally on food, I created a new website only for the jewellery and called it www.coorgjewellery.in
After hiving off the jewellery portion, coorgrecipes was redesigned and a new section called ‘Coffee with Priya Ganapathy’ was added to it. The new addition carried content on the making of the perfect cup of coffee and tips on how to make different varieties of coffee liqueur.
Around this time I felt that the website was ready for the next phase of growth and that I needed to involve someone who could curate the site. It had to be someone both knowledgeable in the field of Coorg cuisine, and having food writing experience. Biddanda Shalini Nanda Nagappa (in picture) fitted the bill perfectly, a Canada-based food blogger who hosts “A Cookery Year in Coorg”, the most authentic Coorg food blog. Her popular blog features well-researched articles and family recipes.
I am currently on the job of putting together a book with content sourced from my recipes site.The book will also feature interviews with personalities in the culinary and cultural fields, and essays on various aspects of Coorg food and culture that have been contributed to the site. The proposed book will be well-illustrated with colour photographs of ingredients and preparations. The book will be curated by Shalini Nanda Nagappa.
I have created a group and page on Facebook to promote Coorg food. My Facebook group coorgrecipes.com has over 5,600 members. Whenever a new recipe is posted on my recipe website, the same is shared on my Facebook group and on the Facebook page dedicated to Coorg food.
There is something satisfying about the handing over of recipes for foods eaten by our ancestors, to our future generations. Through this food I feel, their love and wisdom will continue to nurture us.