Citizens, today it is my glorious pleasure to introduce you to the Telugu cuisine of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh – prepare to be blown away!
Telugu cuisine is a cuisine of South India native to the Telugu people from the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. 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 Pradesh state is the leading producer of red chili, rice and Telangana state is millets in India influences the liberal use of spices — making the food one of the richest and spiciest in the world. Vegetarian as well as meat and seafood (coastal areas) feature prominently on the menus. Dal (lentils), tomato and tamarind are largely used for cooking curries. Spicy and hot varieties of pickles form an important part of Telugu cuisine.
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 banana leaf. The banana leaf are used during festivals, special occasions and for guests. Many restaurants in middle-budget in smaller towns use banana leaves for serving. At times, vistari (a larger plate made of several leaves sewn together) is used. The traditional packing material for long journeys was sun-dried banana leaves.
During a meal, pappu (dal/lentils) and kooralu (curries) are placed to the right of the diner, while spiced pickles, Pachadi (chutney/Raita), a saucy condiment with yogurt and vegetables and Pappulu Podi (Dal & Dry Red Chilli based powdered condiment) & Neyyi (Ghee) are placed to the left. On some occasions special items such as Pulihora (Tamarind rice/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 is added on rice, Aavakaaya Mango pickle and Gongura Roselle leaf pickle are two varieties of pickles which mark the spice and flavor of Andhra cuisine.
Annam is a staple of the entire meal and is typically mixed with the other course using the right hand. It is the main source of carbohydrates. Spiced pickles, pachadis, podis and papadum (appadam) are available as condiments.
The order of a meal is to start with modhati muddha (first bite) with an appetizer of an ooragaaya (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 only vegetarian or a combination of vegetarian and non-vegetarian for getting their vitamins and minerals. A pappu or rasam or a charu (usually kadi is the third part of the course. The fourth course of the meal is either a Perugu (Curd or Yogurt) or as Majjiga (Buttermilk) accompanied by a spicy pickle or any of the other condiments.
After meal paan or somph, (Arcenut, Betel on Pan Leaf) is offered in traditional households. On festival or auspicious occasions, sweet is served with the meal, which is usually eaten first.
Citizens, this peppery dish is one that I am sure you will enjoy and is a favorite of many Indians – I hope you make it at your earliest convenience!
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