Friday, February 3, 2012

andhra cuisine

The Cuisine of Andhra Pradesh

Andhra cuisine refers to various everyday dishes and delicacies consumed by the people of Andhra Pradesh . The cuisine varies greatly across regions. Each district has a unique gastronomic heritage.


Andhra Pradesh, also known as the Rice Bowl of India is like a melting pot of varied cultures. It is a region which has been governed by different dynasties and empires. This diverse exposure to the cultures and traditions of the empires has had an indelible influence in forming the Culture of Andhra Pradesh. The conglomeration of many cultures has formed the present day culture of the region. Some of the primary rulers of the region were the Ikshvakus, Pallavas, Chalukyas, Kakatiyas, Vijayanagars and Mughals.

The influence of external powers has influenced every aspect of the Andhra society. From music, dance, cuisine and literature, the foreign powers have left a mark of their own. This variety and diversity has helped the culture to become richer and more successful.

Of Hyderabadi cuisine most of you would have heard, for it is famous all over the world. The Nawabsand Sultans who ruled over the Deccan brought some of the best cooks from all over the country to make the Deccan the food capital. So much so that when you talk of Andhra or its capital, Hyderabad, visions of a mouth-watering biryani comes to mind. If there is any one statement that can, in a nutshell, describe the Andhra kitchen, it is: Andhra food is hot!

Local legend says there was once a severe famine in the area and all that grew, and grew well, were chillies – red chillies, famous in a place called Guntur in Andhra. So people made as many dishes as possible with chillies.

A more realistic explanation comes from nutritionists who say that being a very hot area, there are more chances of stomach infection for the local people. They probably make use of large quantities of chillies to guard against stomach infection. A parallel can be found in the desert state of Rajasthan in northern India.

Geography & Demographics

Andhra Pradesh abbreviated to A.P., is a state situated on the southeastern coast of India. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city is Hyderabad. The State has the second longest coastline 972 km (604 mi) among all the States in India.[1] The official language of Andhra Pradesh is Telugu, while other languages spoken in Andhra Pradesh are Urdu, English, Tamil and Hindi

Andhra Pradesh is bordered by Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Orissa in the north, the Bay of Bengal in the East, Tamil Nadu to the south and Karnataka to the west. Andhra Pradesh is historically called the "Rice Bowl of India". More than 77% of its crop is rice; Andhra Pradesh produced 17,796,000 tonnes of rice in 2006.[2] Two major rivers, the Godavari and the Krishna, run across the state. The small enclave of Yanam, a district of Puducherry, lies in the Godavari Delta in the northeast of the state.

Andhra Pradesh was formed by merging Telugu speaking areas of Hyderabad State and the Telugu speaking part of the Madras Presidency on 1 November 1956.

Traditionally, Andhra cuisine is eaten on a banana leaf by people sitting on mats or small raised wooden seats. A little water is sprinkled around the banana leaf, depicting that food can now be served. Rice is served along with a little ghee.

Along with the rice a dry curry is served. This meal consists of nearly five types of dishes. But a typical Andhra meal is characterized by the famous hot pickles, chutneys, powders etc. Curd is served as a cooling element, that provides a respite from the hot spices.

The Delicacies

The main food of Andhra Pradesh is Pulihara, or tamarind rice along with green chillies adding spice to the cuisine. Green vegetables are cooked with various masalas (spices) that provide different flavors to the dish. Non-vegetarian dishes are also a part of traditional Andhra cuisine, spicy and hot.

The pickles and chutneys are very popular and are an integral part of Andhra food. These can last for more than a year. There chutneys are made of almost every vegetable including Tomatoes and Brinjals. An aromatic green chutney called 'Gongoora' is a specialty of Andhra cuisine.

The mango pickle called 'Avakkaya' is very popular. The famous south Indian Tiffin's Idli, Dosa are found in many restaurants, but the 'Pesarattu' is more popular, having a filling of 'Upma'.

The Andhra cuisine is dominated by vegetarian food but in the coastal areas seafood is preferred. Fish and Prawns are major seafood eaten here. They are mainly found with curry in sesame and coconut oils along with grounded pepper flavor and are eaten with rice.

Light Bite

The range of snack is also quite good here. Some of the snacks that can be enjoyed here are onion 'Pakodas', 'Vadas', 'Murku' (roundels of rice flour that are deep fried), and 'Appadams'. Some of the desserts that are a part of this cuisine are, 'Putharekulu', 'Kakinada Kaja', 'Bobbatlu', 'Booralu', and 'Bandhar Ladoo'.

Non-Vegetarian Food

The cuisine of Hyderabad is famous for its non-vegetarian preparations. These dishes have a royal touch, prepared with exotic spices and seasoning. The various types of Biryanis are the major attraction of this cuisine. It is a preparation of rice and meat, having rich spicy flavor. Another popular non-vegetarian dish are the 'Kababs', which is meat pieces or minced meat cooked in many different styles such as 'Boti Jhammi', 'Kalmi', 'Shikampur', 'Sheek', 'Lagan-ke-Kababs', 'Dum-ke-kababs'). 'Kormas' is yet another preparation which is either meat or vegetables cooked in rich with creamy gravy and 'Lukhmi', a pastry.

The month of Ramzan is a special time, when a variety of exotic dishes are prepared. One of them is the 'Haleem', a pounded wheat and meat preparation. People who love home cooked food can taste Khichri, a rice and lentil preparation. Another specialty of this cuisine is 'Keema Methi' which is minced meat with fenugreek leaves.

Then there is another dish called 'Nahari', which is lamb trotters. Apart form these dishes , 'Rumali Roti' which is bread as thin as a handkerchief and 'Chakna', a spicy dish of meat are also quite popular. During the festival day of Id-ul-Fitr, it is traditional to serve 'Sheer Korma', the delicious 'Kheer', made with 'Sevian', dried fruits and dates.

Vegetarian Food

The Hyderabadi cuisine also offers a lot of mouthwatering dishes for vegetarians. There is 'Bagara Baingan', a rich spicy preparation of brinjals and Mirch-ka-salan, a preparation of chillies in a creamy gravy. Apart form these, the 'Tomato Qoot' is an aromatic puree of tomato with flavorings and 'Shahi Dahi Vadas' which are lentil dumplings in Youghurt sauce.

Desserts The cuisine of Hyderabad is equally famous for its desserts. There is a good range of sweet dishes available here, one of them is the 'Double-ka-Meetha', a bread and cashew nut pudding. Another popular sweet dish is the 'Qubani-ka-Meetha' which is a stewed apricot dessert. Then, the 'Ande-ka-Piyosi' made with eggs, almonds and purified butter , 'Badam-ki-Jhab', a candy and 'Dil-e-Firdaus', a rich, milk-based sweet are the widely eaten desserts. Apart from these delectable desserts, one can also enjoy a wide variety of fruits like Mangoes, 'Anabshahi' grapes, custard apples, etc. After a wholesome Hyderabadi food, come to an end of your gastronomic journey with a 'Paan'.

Many small hotels and restaurants around the Charminar area offer authentic Hyderabadi dishes.

The Famous Chowki Dinner

The Chowki dinner of Andhra Pradesh is very famous. It is offered by the tourism department of the State. The typical Chowki dinner is served on a low table (Chowki) around which 8 people can sit. This is served in typical Nawabi style, where authentic Hyderabadi food is served course by course. Along with the exotic dinner, the majestic Deccan ambiance accompanied by traditional entertainment like Ghazals, add to the taste and enjoyment.

Regular meal

A typical Andhra meal generally consists of some or all of the following:

§ Cooked Rice

§ Pappu, the Telugu word for cooked Redgram /Pigeonpea seeds.

§ Curries made from a wide variety of vegetables, including green leafy vegetables. Vepudu is a fried vegetable curry. Non-vegetarian curries include "kodi koora" (chicken), "mutton" (goat mutton), "chepa koora" (Fish), "royyalu" (Prawns) and "peethala koora" (Crab).*

§ Karam - Various types of dry powders make from lentils or chillies, eaten withghee(Clarified Butter).

§ Pachadi (Pickles), fresh or preserved, can be made from all kinds of fruits and vegetables. Examples include Aavakaaya (a spicy mango pickle) and one made of roselle called Gongura.

§ Ullavacharu (cooked Horsegram soup), traditionally eaten with cream or yoghurt.

§ Pappu chaaru - (Lentil / Redgram based vegetable soup).

§ Pulusu - A type of vegetable curry most typically exported to the west.

§ Chaaru - A light clear soup.

§ Majjiga Pulusu - Buttermilk cooked with turmeric and boiled vegetables.

§ Perugu (Yoghurt) or Majjiga (Buttermilk)

§ Appadam (Papadums)

§ Sweet dishes.

§ Bananas or other fruit

§ Tamalapaku-vakkapodi, also called Killi, Beeda or Paan, made of fresh Betelleaves, Arecanut pieces, and lime.

Typical meals also include Pappucharu or Pulusu and Buttermilk or Yoghurt are consumed. Tamarind rice is eaten on special occasions or during travel because it can be preserved for one or two days.

Andhra Pradesh is also a major producer of chilli pepper and the local cuisine heavily features it. For example, Hyderabad, the capital city of Andhra Pradesh, is famous for its Hyderabadi Biryani.

Breakfast foods

Idlis are commonly eaten as a breakfast item with sambar and/or Coconut Chutney, calledKobbari Pacchadi in Telugu. Chili powder (Kaarampodi) and Ginger Chutney (Allam Pachadi) or other chutneys can also be eaten along with Idli.

Minapattu (Dosa) is also commonly eaten for breakfast or in the evening. Varieties include '"Masala Dosa, Rava Dosa, Sada Dosa, and Rava Masala Dosa." Generally, Andhra-style Dosas are spicier and crispier than those found in other regions of South India.

Pesarattu is also a key item in Andhra cuisine. Pesarattus are similar to Dosas, but the batter is made of green mung beans. It is thin and crispy, usually topped with chopped onions, green chillies, ginger pieces, and coriander. It is generally eaten with a ginger chutney. MLA Pesarattuis a popular variation of pesarattu filled with Upma (spiced semolina).


Lunch is an elaborate affair in many households.

In traditional households, the meal is served on (arati aaku), a single plantain leaf, or (vistari), a larger plate made of several leaves sewn together. Recently, more people have begun using broad steel plates called (kancham). However, (arati aaku) and (vistari) are still widely used for festivals and special events.

Lunch items are served on a single plate in a specific arrangement. Curries and pappu are placed to the right of the diner, while pickles and podi are placed on the left. Special items such as pulihora and garelu are placed at the top right. A large scoop of rice is placed in the middle. Small amounts of pulusu, ghee and buttermilk are typically sprinkled onto the leaf. The ghee is mixed with every item except perugu/majjiga.

Modati Mudda / Starter - Rice with some podi, khaaram, or a certain variety of pickles and ghee is eaten as the modati mudda (the first bite). Modati mudda items tend to taste sour or hot, have strong aromas, and include ingredients with medicinal values, such as dry ginger and curry leaves. They are usually intended to stimulate appetite and aid digestion. Only a very small amount is eaten: four or five balls of rice called muddalu. In some districts, such as Guntur, chutneys are also considered modati mudda items and are consumed before anything else.

Some of the typical Modati Mudda items include:

§ Dhaniyala karappodi: roasted chillies ground with coriander seeds.

§ Karivepaku karappodi: roasted chillies and curry leaves.

§ Shonthi podi: dry ginger ground with a pinch of salt.

§ Nuvvula podi: sesame seeds ground with roasted chillies.

§ Kottimeera khaaram: cilantro leaves ground with raw or roasted red chillies.

§ Karivepaku khaaram: curry leaves ground with raw or roasted red chillies.

§ Allam khaaram: ginger ground with raw or roasted red and green chillies.

§ Pachimirapakaya khaaram: roasted and ground green chillies.

§ Usirikaya pachadi: pickled Indian gooseberries, typically mixed with roasted red chillies or chili powder.

§ Nimmakaya pachadi: pickled Indian key lime

§ Dabbakaya pachadi: pickled Indian grapefruit

Main Course There is a great regional variation in what is eaten after the modati mudda. In some districts like Krishna and Guntur, koora (curry) is the most common choice. Other districts, including West Godavari, more commonly serve Pappu (daal) and pachadi, pulusu and majjiga.

Koora - The region produces a wide variety of Kooralu (curries).

§ Vepudu : crispy fried vegetables, typically including bendakaya (okra), dondakaya (tindora), bangaladumpa (potato), and colocasia (chamadumpa).

§ Kaaram Petti Koora / Koora Podi Koora: sauteed vegetables cooked with curry powder or paste, served as a solid mass. The vegetables can be stuffed with curry powder or paste and are usually cooked whole.

§ Pulusu Koora / Aava petti Koora: boiled vegetables cooked in tamarind sauce and mustard paste.

§ Pappu Koora: boiled vegetables stir-fried with a small amount of half-cooked lentils (dal).

§ Other gravy based curries are chiefly made with vegetables cooked in tomato sauce and onion with coriander and cumin powder.

Pappu - Toor Daal (Kandi Pappu) or Moong Daal (Pesara pappu) cooked with a vegetable or green. No masala is added to the dal. Some regions include garlic and onion in the seasoning while some regions prefer asafetida (hing/Inguva). Some times the cooked version of the dal is replaced with a roast and ground version of the dal like Kandi pachadi (roasted toor daal ground with red chiles) and pesara pachadi (soaked moong daal ground with red chillies or green chillies).

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

Pachadi / Ooragaya - For a typical Andhrite, no meal is complete without this very essential item. It is consumed on it own mixed with rice and is also eaten as a side dish with pappu / koora. There are two broad varieties - Pachadi (chutney) is typically made of vegetables/greens and roasted green/ red chillies. It is prepared fresh and is consumed within a day or two. Ooragaya is prepared in massive amounts seasonally and uses liberal amounts of chilli powder, methi (fenugreek) powder, mustard powder and oil. Some of the items include:

§ Vegetable pachadi - Made with vegetables like bottle gourd, eggplant, okra, etc. The vegetable is cooke al dente and is ground together with roasted red chiles/ green chiles, fenu Greek seeds and mustard seeds.

§ Greens Pachadi - The most popular one is Gongura pachadi - made out of red sorrel leaves and roasted red chillies. It is unique to Andhra cuisine and is a must have for any meal that boasts to give the eater a taste of Andhra. Other than this, chukka koora (a variety of sour leafy green found in AP) pachadi is also very popular. Chutney is also made out of Coriander leaves / Curry leaves. This is normally consumed as a modati mudda item.

Ooragaya - Andhrapradesh is very famous for a variety of these hot spicy pickles that one gets addicted to. Pickles like Nimmakay, Dabbakaya, Usirikaya have medicinal values that improve with aging. The very high levels of Vitamin A in these pickles boost immunity and are served as apetizing items for sick people recovering from their illness and for new mothers. A few of the Ooragaya items include

§ Avakaya - The most popular item of Andhra cuisine. It is made of cut green mangos, mustard powder, red chili powder and vegetable oil. It is prepared during the summer months of April/May, when green mangos are abundant. Every family in Andhra is rather proud of its own recipe for this pickle based on the variety of mango, chili and the oil used. Like Gongura pachadi, it exemplifies the Andhra cuisine and is a sure to have item in any showcase Andhra lunch. For many Andhrites, it is a must to have side dish with any pappu item. Mudda pappu (cooked toor dal) and avakaya combination is a staple in most households. There are umpteen number of varieties of avakaya - with garlic/without garlic and depending on the other ingredients used like pesarakaya (avakaya with moong dal powder), menthi kaya (avakaya with fenugreek powder), neeti kaya (avakaya made by grinding mustard paste with water).

§ Magaya - Like Avakaya, this is made during the summertime. Mangos are cut, marinated in their own juice, dried and then mixed with the juice, chili powder, methi powder and seasoning. It is a very popular pickle in the coastal Andhra region. For some people it is a must to have side dish with yogurt (curd) rice.

§ Dosa Avakaya - Avakaya made with English (yellow) cucumber. Serves as a substitute for the regular avakaya toward the end of the season. A staple served during winter marriages when raw mangos are not readily available. Recent times have seen cauliflower avakaya also become famous. The English cucumber is replaced by cauliflower in this version.

§ Tomato - A relatively new (19th century) addition to the wide range of andhra pickles. Made in the winter season by marinating tomatoes in their own juice, drying and then mixing them with the juice, chili powder, methi powder and seasoning.

§ Korivi Khaaram - The spiciest of the pickles and a unique andhra item too. It is made by grinding ripe red chillies (Pandu Mirapakaya) with tamarind and salt. Pandu mirapakaya is grown in abundance in the palnadu region of Andhra pradesh (Guntur district and the surrounding areas). This variety is very famous for its spice and color. A few modifications to this pickle include combinations of Pandumirapakaya with gongura or Pandumirapakaya with raw tamarind fruit (chintakaya).

§ Chintakaya - Made by grinding raw tamarind fruit (Chintakaya) and salt. It is made during the winter season. The marinated pickle is taken in small quantities and is made into a chutney with roasted red chiles whenever it is consumed.

§ Nimmakaya - Made by marinating Indian key lime in its own juice for a few days and then mixing it with salt, methi powder and chilli powder.

§ Usirikaya - Made by grinding Indian gooseberries and salt. The pickle is marinated throghout the year, picked in small quantities whenever needed and is made into a chutney by grinding it with roast red chiles. Most people avoid consuming Indian gooseberries at night. Saying the name in the night (Usirikaya) is also a taboo and is prominently called Nallakaya. This fruit and the tree are revered as abodes of Vishnu and are worshipped in the month of Karthikam (October/November). Eating a meal consisting of raw gooseberry chutney sitting under the Indian Gooseberry tree is a tradition during these months.

§ Dabbakaya - A lesser-known pickle to the current generation. Made out of Indian grapefruit. Typically consumed as a modati mudda item. Buttermilk mixed with the tender dabbakaya leaves (dabbaku majjiga) is supposed to quench extreme thirst during the hot summer months.

Pulusu / Charu - Unlike most other cuisines, the andhra food doesn't include a soup or salad. Pulusu/Dhappalam is the most important liquid item of the meal. Some of typical pulusu items include

§ Kharam Pulusu - Any vegetable cooked in very diluted tamarind juice and pulusu podi (made of roast red chillies, coriander powder).

§ Tiyya pulusu - Mild and sweet vegetables like pumpkin or sweet potato cooked in light tamarind juice with jaggery

§ Pachi pulusu - Unheated version of the pulusu. It includes finely chopped raw onions in a very dilute tamarind juice with jaggery. In the summer season when mangos are abundant, tamarind is replaced by stewed raw mango. It is mostly consumed during the hot season.

§ Pappucharu - Vegetables boiled with cooked toor dal and tamarind. No sambar/masala powder is added.

§ Sambar - Vegetables boiled with cooked toor dal, tamarind and sambar powder.

§ Challa Pulusu / Majjiga pulusu - Sour buttermilk boiled with channa dal and coconut paste

§ Menthi Challa / Menthi Majjiga - Sour buttermilk seasoned with ginger / green chili paste and menthi seeds fried in oil.

§ Charu - A very dilute concoction of tamarind and charu podi (made of coriander seeds, dal, ginger, pepper and hing). It is also taken as such during the meal like a soup without mixing with rice.

Perugu / Majjiga - The last item of the meal. Perugu (curd) is normally consumed with an accompaniment like pachadi or ooragaya. Some people prefer majjiga (buttermilk) over perugu due to medicinal reasons. The good qualities of perugu are supposed to be enhanced and the bad effects subdued by churning it manually with water into buttermilk.

Evening snacks

At home, many savory snacks make appearance during evening time. These are

§ Kaarappoosa - Hindi ( khara boondi, salted,chilli flavoured boondi)

§ Chekkalu – Flat puri’s made using gram flour, rice flour, chana dal, and spices and deep fried

§ Jantikalu - Long streaks of sev made using gram flour,rice flour and salt, turmeric, chilli powder, and dev fried

§ Sakinalu or Chakkiralu - (Chakli’s hindi)

§ Chuppulu - Chakli’s made using rice flour, sesame seeds, ajwain

§ Chegodilu - A gem among Andhra traditional snacks is Chegodi. Golden in shade, speckled with spots of white sesame, moong dal and cumin, crunchy with an irresistable addictive taste

§ Guggillu : Boiled chick peas flavoured with a tempering of Urad dal, Mustard seeds, Cumin seeds, Red chilly --- tear into pieces, Curry leaves

§ Pakodi : (bhajia’s)

§ Boondi - Salted boondi’s deep fried

§ Mixture' (Boondi mixed with chopped onions and lemon juice) -

§ Ponganalu - Ponganalu ~ telugu word for fried batter puffs on a special pan. This is very popular breakfast in Andhra

§ Punukulu - Punukulu/ Dosa Batter Dumplings These are called punukulu in Telugu also sold as street fare with various chutneys as accompaniments

§ Upma -

§ Bondaalu or Punukulu' with spicy dips (allam pachadi) -

§ Mirapakaya Bajji - (a local variety of extra-hot chillies stuffed with spices and dipped in chick pea batter and fried).

§ Ullipakodi - (fritters made with sliced onion and spices in chickpea batter).

§ Gaare -(similar to Vada). Gaares are a deep fried and spiced dough.

§ Perugu gaare / Aavadalu - (Gaare are marinated in a yoghurt sauce).


§ Laddu

§ Boorelu :A mixture of boiled chanadal, jaggery,elaichi,ghee, coated in rice flour batter & deep fried

§ Bobbatlu or Polelu : (Puran poli)

§ Pootharekulu : Pootharekulu is a popular dessert made in Andhra in India. Pootharekulu is made of rice starch, sugar powder, ghee and cardamom powder.

§ Ariselu: Ariselu is a popular Andhra sweet for Sankranthi(a harvest festival celebrated mainly in South India) prepared with newly harvested rice and jaggery,sesame & deep fried.

§ Kakinada Khaja :Is a sweet preparation made using, wheat flour, refined wheat flour,rice flour, ghee, which is made into flaky rectangles and soaked in sugar syrup

§ Payasam (Kheer)

§ Gavvalu (Shell shaped sweets made using rice flour,ghee, jaggery,milk)

§ Kajji Kaayalu

§ Chakkera pongali (sugar pongal)

§ Laskora Undalu (coconut laddu) or Raskora Undalu (coconut laddu)

§ Boondi ( ladoo component, sweet boondi)

§ Palathalikalu :Rice flour is made into a very thick batter which is pushed through small holes into boiling milk and simmered for a long time to achieve a thick consistency.

§ Ravva Kesari (sheera)

§ Kobbari ladoo (coconut ladoo)

§ Khajalu :Is a sweet preparation made using, refined wheat flour,rice flour, ghee, which is made into flaky rectangles and soaked in sugar syrup

Regional Variations

There are regional variations in Andhra cuisine. Telangana, the western region of Andhra Pradesh has some unique dishes in its cuisine. Dishes like Jonna Rotte (Sorghum), Sajja Rotte (Penisetum), Uppudi Pindi (broken rice) are common. Telangana cuisine is influenced by Persian and Afghan cuisine as Telangana was under the control of Muslim kings for a long time. In northern Telangana districts the cuisine has dishes similar to those found in Maharashtra such as Kadi.

There are different foods and snacks made in Rayalaseema regions. Attirasaalu ( Arese) Baadusha Jaangri Jilebi Pakam Undalu (mixture of steam rice flour, gound nutts, Jaggary) Borugu Undalu(a sweet variety made corn of jowar and jaggory) Masala Borugulu(like snacks) Raagi Ball saddi Annam( which made of night cooked rice soaked in butter milk) Jonna, Raagi rotte (combination of ghee) Ponganaalu( wet Rice flour, fry with oil, carrot, onions, chillis) Bonda, Mirchibajji Roast Ravva laddu


Sankranti ) is celebrated for four days in Andhra Pradesh as below:

Day 1 - Bhogi

Day 2 - Makara Sankranti (Pedda Panduga)

Day 3 - Kanuma

Day 4 - Mukkanuma

The day preceding Makara Sankranti is called Bhogi and this is when people discard old and derelict things and concentrate on new things causing change or transformation. At dawn people light a bonfire with logs of wood, other solid-fuels and wooden furniture at home that are no longer useful. The disposal of derelict things is where all old habits, the vices, attachment to relations and materials things are sacrificed in the sacrificial fire of the knowledge of Rudra, known as the "Rudra Gita Gyan Yagya. It represents realization, transformation and purification of the soul by imbibing and inculcating divine virtues.

Ugadi (new year)

The Ugadi Festival in Andhra Pradesh is the New Year festival that is celebrated every year as Ugadi marks the beginning of the Hindi Lunar calendar. Ugadi marks a day of joy and happiness, aspirations and hope, the belief are that this day and its joys would foreshadow the course of events for the upcoming year. Ugadi festival in Andhra Pradesh is the festival to rejoice the coming of the new year. It gives the people of Andhra Pradesh a reason to celebrate and many different ways to celebrate the coming of the new year. People wake up early and wear new clothes. The festoons of mangoe (torana) are tied to the doors and the houses are decorated with fresh flowers. There is a special ‘Chutney’ called Ugadi pachadi that is made during the Ugadi festival which is kept in an earthen pot before the idol of the house. After puja is performed and everyone takes the share of the chutney, they go for feasts and meals together


The rich culture and tradition of the state is reflected in the celebration of the different festivals. Deepavali or the Festival of Light is such a festival that is celebrated with much fun and gusto.

In the Indian states, the festivals are celebrated with much charm and splendor. In Andhra Pradesh, the festivals are celebrated with much pomp and show. The Festival of Light that is known as Deepavali is an occasion that calls for jubilation. Deepavali means row of light. It is celebrated on the new moon day which is known as Amavasya in India.

The Festival of Light has a Hindu mythical association. It is believed that on this very day, the demon called Narkasura was killed in the hands of Lord Ramachandra. This day is also important to the devotee of Ramachandra as on this day he returned to his kingdom of Ayodhya after killing Ravana. The Hindu legends also affirm that on this very day, Bali gifted his kingdom to Vamana, one of the Avatar of Lord Vishnu.

Some favourate food preparations of the Andhra people

Tamarind rice/pulihara : Tamarind rice a.ka. Pulihora,Puliyodhara,Puliyodharai or Pulihara (Puli means Tamarind) is often made as naivedyam for gods on all festivals and served to people as prasadam.,it is usually prepared before going for journey’s and packed in tiffins as it stays good for about 2-3 days if taken proper care
It is made on all auspicious occasions and is a big hit

Dumpalu pulusu: (dumpa,sweet potato): Pulusu(stew) means sauce or gravy dish, cooked with vegetables or lentils with tamarind sauce, jaggery and spices. This traditional dish is cooked almost homes of andhra pradesh.

PESARTTU: Batter made of Pesalu or green beans (moong dal in Hindi)is main ingredient , Green chilis, Ginger, Onions, Upma are the optional ingredient used in different variants of this snack.

Pesarattu is crepe made with batter from soaked whole moong dal (Green gram or Green beans) has a greenish hue, while yellow coloured Pesarattu made from dehusked moong dal, gives a fine golden yellow tint to it when roasted. Both these forms are famous in Andhra Pradesh, and are typically served with chutney made from ginger and tamarind.

§ Plain Pesarattu

§ Onion Pesarattu

§ Upma pesarattu (also known as MLA pesarattu as it is popular in MLA quarters restaurants in Hyderabad, AP)

§ Onion & Ginger pesarattu

Upma pesarattu is a favourite in coastal Andhra region especially East Godavari and West Godavari districts.

Aavakaya: Aavakaaya (Telugu: ఆవకాయ) is a variety of Indian pickle popular in South India with its origin in Andhra Pradesh. The main ingredients are mangoes and aavalu (powdered mustard) and a combination of other spices used for pickling.

The Telugu people have a legendary affection and/or attachment for Aavakaaya, so much so, there is every danger that Andhra culture may be thought to be incomplete with out aavakaaya, which is immortalized by this famous adage inTelugu: When Telugus are faced with the seemingly impossible challenge of choosing between "Ambrosia(amritam)" and "aavakaaya", popular wisdom has it that they would always choose aavakaaya over amritam.

The mangoes - meticulously chosen by experts, after much due diligence for this pickle - are cut into medium sized pieces approximately 2cmX2cm size using strong and ultra sharp cutters/knives in swift strokes so as not to structurally damage the pieces. These pieces are wiped clean and dry with a well absorbing soft cloth - usually an old sterilized cotton sari with no embroidery, stowed away for this purpose in foresight. They are then pickled with powdered mustard seeds, red chilli powder (dried and powdered or sometimes dried, roasted and powdered), salt, Gingelly Oil and fenugreek (both in whole and powder form); garlic is optional. The mixture matures for four to eight weeks, taking care to periodically mixing the content to ensure uniform marinade. It seems the aroma is divine according to the Telugus.

Gongura (Hibiscus cannabinus) a relative of the Roselle, is an edible plant grown in India.

Gongura pacchadi is quintessentially Telugu cuisine along with pacchadi (chutney or relish). While it has many culinary uses, the most popular is the pickled version. Although Gongura is widely consumed all over Andhra Pradesh, Guntur Gongura is more popular in hotels, restaurants, eateries and food joints. In the Telengana region of Andhra Pradesh it is known as Puntikura. Gongura is a very rich source of Iron, vitamins, folic acid and anti-oxidants essential for human nutrition[1]. Similarly, "Gongura" is popular in Tamilnadu as well, which is called "pulichakeerai" in Tamil. The famous combination with "pulichakeerai" is "Ragi Kali/Ragi Mudde", which once used to be a regular food for the people in villages (since these items are easily available in agricultural forms). In Maharashtra markets, it is called Ambaadi , It is known as Pitwaa in Hindi, Nalitaa Saaga in Oriya,Mestapat in Bengali, Pandi in Kannada and Sorrel Leaves in English. It is a summer crop, and the hotter the place, the more sour the leaf gets.

Gongura comes in two varieties, green stemmed leaf and red stemmed. The red stemmed variety is more sour than the green stemmed variety. Gongura is popular in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

Drying Gongura for Pickle

A jar of commercially available Andhra Pradesh style gongura pickle

Other well known recipes made with Gongura as the main ingredient are Gongura Pappu (Lentils), Gongura mamsam (goat/mutton) and Gongura royyalu (shrimp). In recent times, Gongura Chicken is also being served in restaurants. Gongura and calabash is extremely popular with the Telugu community in South Africa.

Apart from the curries there are many varieties of pickles made with gongura such as:

1. Pulla Gongura (Gongura + Red Chillies)

2. Pulihara Gongura (Gongura and Tamarind)

Vernon Coelho

Ihm Mumbai