Palya is the most ubiquitous dish in every meal spread from Karnataka, India. It is basically a collective name or a generic term use to describe a variety of vegetable stir-fries used as an accompaniment to traditional breads (chapatti, roti, bhakri, etc.) and rice preparations from this region. It is analogous to curry, in that there is no specific ingredient that makes this dish and numerous palya recipes are used throughout Karnataka. Also, the taste, flavor, and texture of the dish can vary from very spicy, crunchy, and oily to sweet and sour with a soggy texture depending upon the recipe used to prepare the palya.
Ingredients Used in Palya Recipes
Palya, as mentioned before, does not have any specific recipe. Hence, any and every vegetable can be used to prepare this dish. The spices and condiments used in playa recipes depend a lot on the region. The recipes from North Karnataka make use of dry red chilli powder, jaggery, and crush peanuts along with large chunks of vegetables, whereas in South Karnataka fresh green chilli and fresh grated coconut is used to flavor the vegetables. At times condiments like finely chopped onions and garlic may also be used in the recipe. Though, the term palya refers vegetable based recipes, pulse base recipes like those for preparing belepalya is also popular in this region.
Methods of Preparing Palya Recipe
Palya is basically a dry vegetable accompaniment which is prepared by stir frying pieces of vegetables in seasoned oil. Traditionally peanut oil is tempered with mustard, chilli, and condiments before adding the vegetables. The dish may further be flavored with other spices like masala pudi, kara pudi, sesame seeds, etc. Certain palya recipes also call for presoaking or broiling of the vegetables instead of simple stir frying. This is especially the case with hard vegetables like yam, and bamboo.
The amount of oil used and the extent to which the vegetable is cooked determine the quality of the dish. Though traditionally the dish is prepared exclusively in oil, the amount of oil used can be drastically reduced by steaming the vegetables before hand or cooking the palya in a microwave.
Tips For Serving Palya
Palya is the versatile accompaniment that can be eaten with a variety of traditional breads and rice preparations. In formal dinner settings, the table spread includes a large variety of accompaniments including gravy preparations, salads, chutney, and of course, an assortment of vegetables prepared using one of the various palya recipes. As a norm, all the accompaniments are served on the upper left portion of the plate. The palya may be mixed with rice or scooped up with a piece of traditionally bread during the meal.
Dishes Related to Palya
Palya is not exclusive to Karnataka, similar dry vegetable dishes can be found all over India, albeit with different names. Sabzi, Bhaaji, vanagi, etc. are some of the dry vegetable dishes which use a recipe quite similar to palya recipes.
Health and Nutrition Facts of Playa
Palya contributes to the basic vegetable food group in a meal. This dish is a good source of carbohydrates and fat. Though, palya recipes are low in protein, the protein content can be increased by using ingredients like sesame seeds, peanuts, etc.