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Telugu cuisine is a cuisine of South India native to the Telugu people from the states of Andhra, Telangana and Yanam. Generally known for its tangy, hot and spicy taste, the cooking is very diverse due to the vast spread of the people and varied topological regions.

Andhra Bhojanam Thali
Andhra Bhojanam Thali

All three regions — Coastal Andhra, Rayalaseema and Telangana — have distinctive cuisines. In the semi-arid Telangana state region millet-based bread (rotte) is the predominant staple food, whereas rice is predominant in irrigated Andhra and Rayalaseema regions. Ragi is also popular in Rayalaseema region. Many of the curries (known as koora), snacks and sweets vary in the method of preparation and differ in name, too.

Andhra Pradesh is the leading producer of red chili and rice among Indian states, and Telangana the leading producer of millet; this influences the liberal use of spices in Telugu cuisine, making its food some of the richest and spiciest in the world. Vegetarian dishes, as well as meat and seafood (coastal areas), feature prominently on the menus. Tomato pappu, gongura, and tamarind are widely used for cooking curries. Spicy and hot varieties of pickle form an important part of Telugu cuisine. Deltaic Telugu cuisine from erstwhile Guntur district in Coastal Andhra is known as the spiciest among Telugu cuisines, primarily because of the use of the traditional red hot chillis grown in the region. Pickles called avakayas are also made using Guntur hot chillis.

Regional variations

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There are many regional variations due to topographic differences in Telugu-speaking populations spread over a large area. They can be classified based by region into Coastal Andhra, Rayalaseema and Telangana cuisine. Cultural factors that have heavily influenced the cuisine over the years are the eating habits of Hindu royals and Brahmin, and the Muslim Nawabi royal families. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana's proximity to Western, Central and Eastern India makes those border regions' cuisine more diverse with Telugu population spread into neighboring states. Different communities have their own variations and rural areas still follow centuries-old cooking methods and recipes.

Coastal Andhra

Vegetarian ordinary meals made in Andhra Pradesh, Vijayawada
Vegetarian ordinary meals made in Andhra Pradesh, Vijayawada
Vegetarian meals for a special day made in Andhra Pradesh, Vijayawada
Vegetarian meals for a special day made in Andhra Pradesh, Vijayawada
A vegetarian Andhra meal served on important occasions
A vegetarian Andhra meal served on important occasions

Coastal Andhra is dominated by the Krishna and Godavari river delta regions and is exposed to the long coastline of the Bay of Bengal. Hence rice, lentils, and seafood are a staple in the diet of the people. This region has its own variations; ultimately the dishes are predominantly rice-based. This region is one of the largest producers of rice and chilies. The Nellore region in the south has its own unique recipes, markedly different from those in Uttarandhra. Ulava charu is a famous soup made from horse gram,[1] and bommidala pulusu is a seafood stew that is a specialty of Andhra Pradesh. Andhra cuisine is prevalent in restaurants all over Andhra Pradesh as well as in cities like Bangalore, Chennai and New Delhi.

Uttarandhra

Uttarandhra region is the northeastern districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam bordering Odisha state in Coastal Andhra. While Visakhapatnam district has a distinct dialect and cuisine closer to the rest of Andhra, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam have their own distinctive flavors and unique taste, although they share many similarities with Andhra regional cuisine. The people of this region like to eat many of their foods sweeter than other regions of Andhra Pradesh. They often cook lentils in jaggery, referred to as bellam pappu, enjoyed with butter and steamed rice.

They cook vegetables in gravies of menthi kura (fenugreek seed paste), avapettina kura (mustard seed paste), or nuvvugunda kura (sesame paste). Ullikaram is another popular dish in which vegetables or corn seeds are flavored with shallots or onion paste.

Poori and Patoli are favorite breakfast or festival dishes. Patoli is soaked split black chickpeas (Senagapappu or chana dal) ground to a coarse paste and seasoned with coriander seeds, onions and, at times, with cluster beans (Goruchikkudu kaya). Uppupindi is coarsely broken rice upma steamed with vegetables and tempering seeds.[2] This dish is eaten on feast days when people fast during the day and eat at night. Attu, also called dosa, is a standard breakfast in Andhra Pradesh, which may also include coconut or tomato chutneys. Idli is also very common.

Inguva Charu is a sour-and-sweet stew made with tamarind and hing. It can be eaten with rice or uppupindi. Bellam pulusu is another highly flavored thick sweet stew made out of rice flour, jaggery (cane sugar), corn cobs and whole shallots.

The pickles differ from those of other regions of Andhra Pradesh. Avakaya is a mango pickle which is part of a standard Andhra meal. They sun-dry mango pieces with mustard powder, red pepper powder and salt, soaked in sesame oil to give the pickle extended shelf life. The result is a darker hue and a sweeter taste. This method is followed to withstand high moisture from the Bay of Bengal coast.

Karappoddi, popular curry powder that is served with idli, dosa and upma.

Rayalaseema

Rayalaseema, the southern region of Andhra Pradesh, has some unique dishes in its cuisine, which is famous for its spiciness because of the liberal use of chilli powder in almost every dish. Seema karam is unique to its dishes. Some of the main courses include rice, jonna (jowar), ragi roti with a combination of neyyi as well as raagi sangati, usually served with spinach or pulusu. Uggani is a dish unique to Rayalaseema, especially Ananthapur, Kurnool and Kadapa districts and in Karnataka, where it is called oggane. It is made with boiled paddycorn and is generally yellowish in color due to liberal use of turmeric powder. It is usually served with mirapakaya bajji (chili bajji). Uggani bajji is served primarily as a breakfast but is eaten as a snack food too. It is spicy and is one of the ethnic and authentic dishes of Rayalaseema and Eastern Karnataka.[3]

Attirasaalu or Attirasa (rice-based vada with jaggery), pakam undalu, (a mixture of steamed rice flour, ground nuts and jaggery), Borugu Undalu (a sweet made of jowar and jaggery) and rava ladd are the sweet specialities. Masala borugulu or nargis mandakki (like snacks), and ponganaalu, wet rice flour, fried in oil, with carrot, onion, and chilis, are other savory specialties.

Telangana

Main article: Telangana cuisine

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The Telangana state lies on the Deccan Plateau and its topography dictates more millet and roti (unleavened bread) based dishes. Jowar and bajra feature more prominently in their cuisine. Due to its proximity to Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and northwest Karnataka, it shares some similarities with Deccan plateau cuisine.

Staple Telangana foods

Telanganan cuisine has a special place for roti made from millet, such as jonna rotte (sorghum), sajja rotte (pennisetum), or Sarva Pindi" and Uppudi Pindi (broken rice). In Telangana a gravy or curry is called Koora and Pulusu (sour) in based on tamarind. A deep fry reduction of the same is called vepudu. Kodi pulusu and Mamsam (meat) vepudu are popular dishes in meat. Vankaya (Brinjal) koora or Baingan Bhartha, Aloogadda (Potato) koora and fry, Bendakaya (Okra) pulusu and fry are among the many varieties of vegetable dish.[4] Palakoora pappu is a spinach dish cooked with lentils eaten with steamed rice and rotis. Peanuts are added as special attraction and in Karimnagar District, cashew nuts are added.

Popular Telangana curry dishes (known as Koora) include boti, derived from mutton and thunti koora made out of red sorrel leaves. Potlakaya pulusu, or snake gourd stew is one of the daily staple dish. Sakinalu and garelu are popular fries/fritters made of rice flour during festivals like Dusshera and Sankranthi.[5]

Telangana vegetarian foods

Pesara (Moong-dal) pulusu
Pesara (Moong-dal) pulusu
Various types of lentils (pappulu) and millets for sale in a market
Various types of lentils (pappulu) and millets for sale in a market

In Telangana regions tamarind, red chilies (koraivikaram) and asafetida are predominantly used in Telangana cooking. Roselle is a major staple used extensively in curries and pickles. [6]

Some foods of Telangana

Telangana non-vegetarian foods

Snacks and savories

Sugar madugulu is a sweet made with milk and butter with sugar coating, and pharda pheni is another sugar-coated crispy wafer sweet. Recent years have seen a resurgence of Telangana cuisines in restaurants around Hyderabad with the availability of Telangana thali dish for lunch.[9]

Andhra breakfast

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A typical Andhra breakfast consists of a few of the items listed below. Usually it consists of idli, garelu a.k.a. vada (deep-fried lentil dough), minapattu, also known as dosa,, (rice- and lentil-based pancake or crepe). Tea, coffee with milk or only milk by itself is sometimes taken with these dishes. The most common dishes are:

Pesarattu served with ginger pachadi
Pesarattu served with ginger pachadi
Wheat Upindi upma served with curd
Wheat Upindi upma served with curd
Punugulu
Punugulu

Andhra lunch and dinner

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Lunch and dinner are elaborate affairs in many Telugu households. In a majority of urban households, the food is served on stainless steel or porcelain plates, while in traditional and rural households, the food is served on a banana leaf. The banana leaf is used during festivals, special occasions and for guests. Many middle-budget restaurants in smaller towns use banana leaves for serving. At times, a vistaraaku (a larger plate made of several leaves sewn together) is used. The traditional packing material for long journeys is sun-dried banana leaves. A complete vegetarian Andhra meal consists of rice served with ghee, pulihora, chapati or puri, pappu (lentils), sambar, chaaru (rasam), fried and wet curries, appadam (papadum), odiyalu, chutney, pachadi, avakaya, yoghurt and a sweet. Food in general contains more chilli and spice mix in the Vijayawada-Guntur region than in the rest of Andhra Pradesh. Rice is generally the main dish and everything else, such as curry, pappu, sambar and rasam is a side dish taken with rice.

Vegetarian

Okra plain curry made in Andhra Pradesh, Vijayawada
Okra plain curry made in Andhra Pradesh, Vijayawada
Dried capsicum for chili-based food in Andhra
Dried capsicum for chili-based food in Andhra
Presentation

Pappu (dal/lentils) and kooralu (curries) are placed to the right of the diner, while spiced pickles, pachadi (chutney/raita), a saucy condiment with dahi (yogurt) and vegetables and pappulu podi (dal and dry red chilli-based powdered condiment) and neyyi (ghee) are placed to the left. On some occasions special items such as pulihora (tamarind or lemon rice) and garelu (vada) are placed at the top right. A large scoop of annam (plain white rice) is placed in the middle. Small amounts of neyyi are added on the rice. Aavakaaya mango pickle and gongura (roselle leaf pickle} are two typical varieties of pickle which mark the spice and flavor of Andhra cuisine.

Course and servings
Dibba rotti or Minapa rotti is a classic Andhra dish served as breakfast, brunch or evening snack with a good chutney or pickle. It is prepared with urad dal and rice rava batter.
Dibba rotti or Minapa rotti is a classic Andhra dish served as breakfast, brunch or evening snack with a good chutney or pickle. It is prepared with urad dal and rice rava batter.

Rice is a staple, typically mixed with the other courses using the right hand. It is the main source of carbohydrates. Spiced pickles, pachadi, podi and papadum (appadam) are typical sides.

A meal starts with modhati muddha (first bite), an appetizer of spiced pickle followed by a pappu, which can be made with vegetables added or eaten plain with a pickle. It is the main source of protein for vegetarians. This is followed by a couple of koora varieties (curry/main dishes) either vegetarian or a combination of vegetarian and non-vegetarian for vitamins and minerals. A pappu or rasam (Telugu: charu), usually kadi, is the third course. The fourth course of the meal is either a perugu (curd or yogurt) or majjiga (buttermilk) accompanied by a spicy pickle or any of the other condiments.

After the meal paan or somph, areca nut, betel on pan leaf) is offered in traditional households. On festival or auspicious occasions, a sweet, usually paravannam, is served with the meal, which is usually eaten first.

Koora/kura/curry (main courses)
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Pulihora made in Andhra Pradesh, Vijayawada
Pulihora made in Andhra Pradesh, Vijayawada
Brinjal with onion curry made in Andhra Pradesh, Vijayawada
Brinjal with onion curry made in Andhra Pradesh, Vijayawada
Gobi Manchuria fry made in Andhra Pradesh, Vijayawada
Gobi Manchuria fry made in Andhra Pradesh, Vijayawada
Banana with Onion curry made in Andhra Pradesh, Vijayawada
Banana with Onion curry made in Andhra Pradesh, Vijayawada
Pulihora, a Tamarind sour fried rice of Andhra Pradesh
Pulihora, a Tamarind sour fried rice of Andhra Pradesh

Koora – Koora is a generic word for a protein-based dish. The actual dishes are named for the material used and the style in which they are cooked. The different methods of cooking are:

Pappu (dal)
Ridge gourd with Moong-dal Pappu made in Andhra Pradesh, Vijayawada
Ridge gourd with Moong-dal Pappu made in Andhra Pradesh, Vijayawada

Pappu (dal/lentils), toor daal (kandi pappu) or moong daal (pesara pappu) cooked with a vegetable or green. No masala is added to the dal. In some regions garlic and onion are included in the seasoning, while some regions prefer asafetida (hing/inguva). Kandi pappu is often cooked with leafy vegetables such as palakura (spinach), gongura, malabar spinach, and fruit and vegetables such as tomato, mango, or aanapakaya. Sometimes the cooked version of the dal is replaced with a roast and ground version of dal, like kandi pachadi (roasted toor daal ground with red chiles) or pesara pachadi (soaked moong daal ground with red or green chilies).

A very popular Andhra combo is mudda pappu (plain toor dal cooked with salt) and avakaya.

Pulusu
Moong-dal Pulusu made in a house of Andhra Pradesh,Vijayawada
Moong-dal Pulusu made in a house of Andhra Pradesh,Vijayawada

Pulusu (sour) is a curry-like stew that is typically sour and cooked with tamarind paste. Other common bases are tomatoes or mangoes. The mixture can be flavored with mustard, chilies, curry leaves, jaggery, onions, or fenugreek. Fish, chicken, and eggs are typical meat additions. Pachi pulusu is an unheated version of pulusu, typically made of mangoes or tamarind, consumed during warm months.

Pickles

Pacchadi and Ooragaya are two broad varieties of pickles that are eaten at times with rice. Pacchadi is the Telugu version of chutney, typically made of vegetables/greens/lentils and roasted green/red chilies flavoured with tamarind and sometimes curd as a base. It is prepared fresh and is consumed within a day or two due to a short shelf life. Ooragaya is prepared in massive amounts seasonally and uses liberal amounts of chili powder, methi (fenugreek) powder, mustard powder and groundnut (peanut) oil or sesame or mustard oil. For a typical Andhrite, no meal is complete without this essential item. It is consumed on its own, mixed with rice, or as a side dish with pappu/koora.

Non-vegetarian

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Andhra Chepala Pulusu, or Andhra tamarind fish curry
Andhra Chepala Pulusu, or Andhra tamarind fish curry

Apart from a sizable population who are vegetarians, most of the population cook non-vegetarian dishes. The state has abundant seafood and has extensively established poultry industry. Lamb meat is another traditional fare cooked with century-old recipes.

Apart from Hyderabadi biriyani, the rest of the state has its own recipe generally known as palaav or Andhra biriyani, one of the most enjoyed dishes across all of the state. Royyala palav, made with shrimp, is considered a delicacy in coastal Andhra Pradesh. Mutton biriyani and mixed biryani (chicken, mutton, and shrimp) are other popular biriyani dishes generally available in restaurants. There are many local variations such as kaaja kiryani, kunda biryani (pot Biryani), avakaya biryani, ulavacharu biryani,[10] and panasa biryani.

Kodi (chicken) koora and mutton (lamb) koora are two popular dishes, often made with a range of spices and condiments. The gravy base is usually onions, tomato, coriander, tamarind, and coconut. These gravies are mixed with steamed rice on the plate during lunch. Also pepper is used on fried meat dishes. Popular dishes served commonly in Andhra-style restaurants include the spicy Andhra chilli chicken,[11] chicken roast, and mutton pepper fry. On seafood, tamarind base is widely used. The state's extensive shrimp farming makes shrimp and prawns widely available.

Andhra restaurant chains and hotels are very popular in other states due to the extensive variety of meat in their menus.

These curries are usually served with steamed rice, bagara khana (basmati rice cooked with aromatics), sajja roti (millet flatbread) or jonna roti (jowar flatbread).

Andhra cuisine has some native non-vegetarian snacks such as kodi pakodi (chicken pakora), chicken 65, peetha pakodi (crab pakodi), chepa vepudu (fish fry), royyala vepudu (shrimp fry) etc.

Other snacks inspired from Indo-Chinese cuisine such as chicken 65, chicken lollipop, and chilli chicken are also extensively available, but they will be generally modified by using generous amounts of spices and chillies.

Bhimavaram town in West Godavari district is very famous for its unique non-veg pickles such as chicken pickle, shrimp pickle, and fish pickles.

The agency (forest) area near Rajamundry and Araku is very famous for Bongu chicken (bamboo chicken) curry.

Snacks

Uggani bajji, a favorite snack in Rayalaseema region
Uggani bajji, a favorite snack in Rayalaseema region
Ravva Dosa served at a hotel in Guntur.
Ravva Dosa served at a hotel in Guntur.
Samosa vendor on the streets of Hyderabad
Samosa vendor on the streets of Hyderabad

At home, many savory snacks make an appearance. These include:

  • Varieties and variants: mirapakaya Bajji (chilli) popular evening snack all across the state, vamu bajji, vankaya bajji (brinjal), aratikaya bajji (plantain), urla gadda bajji (potato), vegetable bonda.
  • Varieties and variants:
  • Ulli kaadalu pakodi
  • Sanna pakodi
  • Vankaya pakodi
  • Varieties include royallu pakodi, kodi pakodi, ullipakodi (fritters made with sliced onion and spices in chickpea batter)
  • Varieties include:perugu gaare/aavadalu – ఆవడలు, gaare marinated in a yogurt sauce, bellam garelu, rava garelu, ulli garelu, pulla garelu
  • Varieties and variants: pesarapappu jantikalu, challa murukulu, chegodilu(చేగోడీలు), sakinalu or chakkidalu – చక్కిడాలు, chakli, chekkalu or chuppulu – చెక్కలు or చుప్పులు, maida chips, molocasia chips, plain papadam, aam papad

Sweets and savories

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Appachulu, snack in Andhra and Telangana
Appachulu, snack in Andhra and Telangana
Bobbatlu, a snack made from wheat or sooji, filled with jaggery and lentils
Bobbatlu, a snack made from wheat or sooji, filled with jaggery and lentils
Chakodi, a Telugu snack
Chakodi, a Telugu snack
Boondi mithai or karakajjam
Boondi mithai or karakajjam

Sweets and savories form an important part of Telugu culture. Made on festive and auspicious occasions, they are given to visiting relatives. Some of the savories are also made for the evening snack.

Others:

Rural cuisine

In rural Andhra Pradesh, agriculture is the predominant occupation. Some centuries-old cooking practices, especially the use of mud pots, are still in vogue but are being replaced by steel utensils in recent decades. The earlier recipes in each village were also largely dictated by what was grown and available locally. In the drier districts, jowar (sorghum), bajra (millet) and ragi are still in use, while eating rice is seen as a symbol of prosperity. In the Delta and coastal districts, rice plays a major role in cooking.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Humble dishes win hearts, grab spotlight". The Hindu. 29 March 2018. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
  2. ^ [Andhra Uppu Pindi | Uppudu Pindi | Rice Rava And Moong Dal Upma https://aahaaramonline.com/andhra-uppu-pindi-uppudu-pindi-recipe/]
  3. ^ Uggani bajji, a popular dish of Kurnool, steals the show, The Hindu, February 24, 2018
  4. ^ . The New Indian Express. 29 January 2014 https://web.archive.org/web/20130918082622/http://travel.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?281198. Archived from the original on 18 September 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2014. ((cite news)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ "In Hyderabad, chicken crosses the road from Andhra to Telangana". indianexpress.com. The New Indian Express. 29 January 2014. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  6. ^ "The Telangana Table". LESLEY A. ESTEVES. Outlook Traveller. 1 June 2012. Archived from the original on 25 February 2014. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  7. ^ . The New Indian Express. 29 January 2014 https://web.archive.org/web/20130918082622/http://travel.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?281198. Archived from the original on 18 September 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2014. ((cite news)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Ragi Malt Or Ambali: This Weight-Loss-Friendly South-Indian Drink Is A Delicious Summer CoolerAmbali or ragi malt is a vegetarian summer drink or porridge that is prepared in Karnataka., NDTV, July 05, 2019
  9. ^ "In Hyderabad, chicken crosses the road from Andhra to Telangana". indianexpress.com. The New Indian Express. 29 January 2014. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  10. ^ [What is Ulavacharu Biryani that's loved by Dulquer Salmaan and how to make it at home https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/food-news/what-is-ulavacharu-biryani-thats-loved-by-dulquer-salmaan-and-how-to-make-it-at-home/photostory/93642925.cms]]
  11. ^ [Andhra Chilli Chicken: A Fiery Chicken Recipe From South India That Spells Indulgence |https://food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/andhra-chilli-chicken-a-fiery-chicken-recipe-from-south-india-that-spells-indulgence-2549621]
  12. ^ [Dried fish is a much-loved alternative to fresh fish across the country https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/dried-fish-with-its-versatility-is-popular-across-the-country/article32437505.ece]
  13. ^ Elizabeth Fernandez, Sugar and spice and all things nice, ISBN 978-1409287223
  14. ^ Chitrita Banerji, Eating India: An Odyssey into the Food and Culture of the Land of Spices, ISBN 978-1596910188
  15. ^ "A truly international dessert". Hindustan Times. 3 October 2009.
  16. ^ "Trailing the Andhra food route". ND TV. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  17. ^ Tiwari, Brijesh; Singh, Narpinder (2015). Pulse Chemistry and Technology. Royal Society of Chemistry. p. 271. ISBN 9781782625674.