Andhra Pradesh Food Cuisine

Andhra Pradesh is a state situated along the south-eastern coast of India. The charm of the Andhra Pradesh cuisine lies in the fact that it is the delightful blend of original Andhra, delicious Southern and brilliant Hyderabadi style of cooking. While the original Andhra food is hot and fiery in nature, Hyderabadi food brings the Mughal influence into the Andhra cuisine. The liberal use of spices is due to the influence of South Indian cooking style. Again, this state is home to people of both religious beliefs, Hindus and Muslims and almost in equal numbers. So the cuisine of the land is an exciting combination of these two diverse food cultures. Rich taste and spicy flavors define the characteristic of the food of this place.

The cuisine of Andhra Pradesh is a foodie’s delight. The food of every Indian state has a certain kind of uniqueness to it and the same holds true for the cuisine of this state too. Abundant use of spices and exotic seasonings mark the cooking style of Andhra Pradesh. This cuisine sees a healthy mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian items. A large chunk of the population is vegetarian and has devised brilliant vegetarian recipes. The people along the coastal areas have developed amazing seafood recipes. As Andhra Pradesh was under the rule of Mughal Emperors the cuisine of the land has been heavily influenced by the Mughals and this influence is reflected in the world-famous Hyderabadi cuisine.

Rice is the staple food of Andhra Pradesh which is eaten with Sambar (stew prepared with lentils) or pappu (boiled lentils) or rasam (stew prepared with tamarind juice or curd. Various vegetables are cooked in different styles and eaten with rice. As rice forms the basis of food, a lot of rice based items are popular in this state. Idli, dosa, vada and uttapam are a few of the popular rice-based delicacies of Andhra Pradesh. Chutneys and pickles are important elements of this cuisine. Avakya or raw mango pickle is famous for its spicy and unique taste. Desserts are enjoyed enthusiastically in this place.

Common breakfast items are dosa, pesarattu and upma, served with delicious chutneys.

A traditional Andhra Pradesh meal is served on a banana leaf. Rice is served along with spoonfuls of ghee. A dry curry is usually eaten with rice. Pulihara or tamarind rice is the chief food of Andhra Pradesh which is enjoyed with green chillies and spices. The vegetable dishes are prepared with different spices to impart delicious taste and flavor to them. The meal is a fulsome affair with around five kinds of dishes included in the spread. Traditional Andhra Pradesh cuisine also has a lot of non-vegetarian dishes to offer. The most popular items are fishes and prawns spiced with grounded pepper and cooked in sesame and coconut oil, which gives the items a unique and spicy taste. The meal is always accompanied by a variety of famous hot pickles and chutneys. The meal is ended by having curd, which balances the fiery taste of the dishes and adds a cool note to the spread.

Regional Variations

The reasons of regional variation of the Andhra Pradesh cuisine are many and varied. The main factors to affect the variation are the strong influence of the Hindu Royal families and the Muslim Nawabi Royal families. Topographic variations are also reasons of variation of the cuisine. The cuisines of Andhra Pradesh can be categorically classified based by its regions like Kosta (Coastal) Andhra, Telangana, Rayalaseema, Uttarandhra and Hyderabadi cuisine. Andhra Pradesh lies in close proximity of Western, Central and Eastern India, which makes the cuisine of these border regions more diverse.

Kosta (Coastal Andhra) Cuisine

This region mainly comprises of the Krishna Delta, Godavari Delta and the long coastline of Bay of Bengal. Rice, dal and seafood is the staple food of the people residing in this region. A variety of curries, lentil stews, spicy pickles and delicious chutneys are also popular here. The food items are primarily rice based. This region being the largest producer of chillies and rice, the food of this region reflects a spicy and fiery flavor. Hot and spicy dishes like Gongura mutton, Bommidailapulusu, Natukodi chicken are a few non-vegetarian specialties of the region. Avakya is the most popular pickle of the region made of raw mangoes and exhibits a tangy taste.ellore region exists in the southern part of this region and has very unique recipes.

Uttarandhra

Uttarandhra comprises of the districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam that lies in the north eastern portion of Coastal Andhra region adjacent to Orissa. Uttarandhra is also known as Kalinga Andhra. This region has very distinct flavor and taste of the dishes but it also shares quite a lot of similarities with the Kosta Andhra cuisine. A few famous dishes of the region are Murku, Booralu, Appadams, Putharekulu, Anabshahi and Pulihara. Idlis,upmas, dosas, pickles and chutneys are greatly enjoyed in this part of Andhra Pradesh. Avakya is the favorite mango pickle, just as it is throughout the state. Gongoora is a green chutney that is a specialty of the region. In Visakhapatnam, a snack item called Murri Mixture is very popular along the sea-beaches. Murri Mixture is a tasty snack where the main ingredient is the puffed rice and this is combined with chopped onions, tomatoes, boiled peas and coriander leaves to give an amazing taste.

Rayalaseema Cuisine

Rayalaseema lies in the southern part of Andhra Pradesh. It exists in close proximity to Tamil Nadu and southern part of Karnataka and so is strongly influenced by the cuisines of both these places. The cuisine is unique in taste and varied in type. A few popular items of this cuisine are Alsandala vada, Ulavacharu, Peetala Kura, Brain fry, Liver fry and Prawn Iguru which can be combined with Sajja or Jonna rotis and Raagi sangati. Attirasaalu (Aresalu),Baadusha, Jaangri, Jilebi, Pakam Undalu (mixture of steam rice flour, ground nuts, Jaggery), Borugu Undalu(a sweet variety made corn of jowar and jaggery), Pala Kova, Rava Laddu, etc. are some of the mouth watering sweets also known as Bakshalu of this region. Masala Borugulu (like snacks), Ponganaalu wet rice flour, fry with oil, carrot, onions, chilis are other savory specialities in these districts.

Telangana Cuisine

Telangana is the western part of Andhra Pradesh. The cuisine of this place is influenced by the Persian and Afghan cuisines as this region was under the control of Muslim rulers for a long time. A few of the common dishes are Jonna Rotte (Sorghum), Sajja Rotte (Penisetum), Uppudi Pindi (broken rice). This region has tasty vegetarian delicacies like Ulli akku kura (spring onion curry), Kakaraya pulusu (gravy made of bittergourd), rasam, Karapu Annam (Chilli rice) etc. For the non-vegetarian people this place has unique items like Chapala Pulusu (fish gravy), Kodi Kura, Guddu Pulusu (also known as Egg Pulusu) and lots more. Snacks include Sakinalu prepared with rice flour and sesame seeds and is usually made during the Sankranti festival.

Hyderabadi Cuisine

Hyderabadi cuisine is a world famous cuisine. It has carved a name for itself among the best global cuisines due to its brilliant taste and fantastic flavor. Hyderabadi cuisine serves as the highlight point of the Andhra Pradesh cuisine. The food is basically rich in taste and aromatic in flavor. Its distinct taste is a result of the abundant use of exotic spices and clarified butter. Fresh fruit is used in the preparation of this cuisine as compared to dried fruits used in other cuisines of India. This cuisine is especially well-known for its non-vegetarian delicacies.

Hyderabadi cuisine carries a strong influence of the Mughal cuisine. It is also inspired by the cuisines of Arab, Persia and Turkey. The herbs and spices used in this cuisine are generally native to the Telegu and Marathwada cuisines. This cuisine developed in the kitchens of the Nizams of Hyderabad who were great lovers of food and transformed the preparation of food in their reign to an inspirational art form.

The cuisine lays stress on the use of right ingredients in the right proportion at the right time. The ingredients are chosen with a minute eye and cooked to the exact degree and time. The focus is on selecting the perfect kind of meat, rice and most importantly, the spices. The perfect combination of the specific herbs, spices and condiments lend a distinct flavor, taste and texture to the dishes. Coconut, tamarind, peanuts and sesame are extensively used in this cuisine.

Hyderabad is regarded as the birthplace of the delicious Biryani. It first evolved in the kitchens of the Nizam of Hyderabad as a result of the blending of the Mughlai and Andhra Pradesh cuisines. Biryani is undoubtedly the most famous dish of this cuisine which is popular throughout the length and breadth of the country as well as on an international level. Hyderabadi Biryani is a dish prepared with basmati rice and lamb meat and flavored with exotic and rich spices. Generally, mutton or chicken is used as variation in place of lamb.

The dishes are named after the herbs and spices used and the process of cooking followed. For instance, “Murgh do pyaza” derives its name from the onions or pyaz that are added twice to the dish in two variations to achieve the accurate taste. The masalas are integral to this cuisine. Masala is basically a rich blend of herbs, spices and condiments which provides the base for the dishes and is known as “Gravy”. Most of the masalas or blends are well-guarded secrets that are handed down from one generation to the next and kept inside the family or passed on to the Shagird (student) by the Ustad (teacher). The head cooks or the “Khansas” are a respected class of people in Hyderabad due to their culinary craft.

This cuisine also has city specific delicacies like Hyderabad (Hyderabadi biryani), Aurangabad (Naan Qalia), Bidar (Kalyani Biryani), Gulbarga (Tahari), etc.

A few mouth-watering delicacies of Hyderabadi cuisine are Hyderabadi Biryani (a traditional delicious meal of lamb and rice.), Kachche gosht ki Biryani (rice and raw meat cooked over steam where the meat has been kept marinated with spices and yoghurt overnight), Hyderabad Zafrani Biryani (rice cooked with saffron), Pakki Biryani (the meat is cooked before combining it with rice and cooking over steam), Hyderabadi Haleem (wheat and meat cooked over slow flame for a long time), Shammi Kebab, Bagara Khana (Basmati rice delicacy), mirchi ka salan (green chilly curry), Paaya (bone soup), Pathar ka gosht (Mutton/lamb cooked by searing on a stone slab found in Hyderabad), Dum ka Keema (minced meat cooked over steam), Boti kabab (minced meat delicacy), Dalcha (mutton and lentil delicacy), Bina Masale Ka Murgh (chicken done with only curd, turmeric and saffron), and many other unique and awesome dishes.

The Hyderabadi cuisine is rightly called the “Nawabi cuisine”. It is really tough to discover another cuisine that is so brilliant in taste, aromatic in flavor, rich in texture and perfect in temperament.