Andhra Pradesh is not only the fifth largest state in India but also the biggest and most populous state in the southern region of the country. Andhra (meaning ‘leader in battle’) is fertile with two major rivers Godavari and Krishna bestowing it with their blessings which are also evident in the lush and vast fields of rice. It will not come as a surprise to anyone that Andhra Pradesh also bears a second name: Rice Bowl of India. The State has the longest coastline (972 kilometers) among all the states in India.
A taste of Andhra cuisine
The Krishna and Godavari rivers together irrigate thousands of square kilometres of land, and create the largest perennial cultivable area in the country. Andhra Pradesh leads in the production of rice (paddy) and is called India’s Rice Bowl. It is also the leading producer of cash crops like tobacco, groundnut, chillies, turmeric, oilseeds, cotton, sugar and jute. It produces some of the finest varieties of mangoes, grapes, guavas, sapotas, papayas and bananas.
The cuisine of Andhra Pradesh is reputedly the spiciest of all Indian cuisine. Foods include both the original spicy Andhra cooking and Muslim-influenced Hyderabadi cuisine. Rice is the staple diet and is used in a wide variety of ways. Typically, rice is either boiled and eaten with curry, or made into a batter for use in dosas and idlis. Meat, vegetables and greens are prepared with different masalas into a variety of strongly flavoured dishes. Pickles and chutneys called pachadi in Telugu are particularly popular in Andhra Pradesh and many varieties of pickles and chutneys are unique to the state. Chutneys are made from practically every vegetable including tomatoes, brinjals and an aromatic green called gongura. A mango pickle, ‘avakkai’ is probably the best known of the Andhra pickles.
Hyderabadi cuisine is influenced by the Muslim population, which arrived in Andhra centuries ago. Much of the cuisine revolves around meat. It is rich and aromatic, with a liberal use of exotic spices and ghee, not to speak of nuts and dry fruits. Lamb, chicken and fish are the most widely used meats in the non-vegetarian dishes. Nellore chepela pulusu (Fish gravy with tamarind) is a popular dish among the varieties prepared with fish. The biryanis, accompanied by mirchi ka salan, are perhaps the most distinctive and popular of Hyderabadi dishes.
An alluring touch of spice from Andhra - Popular regional foods
Chegodi – They are a popular Andhra snack, crispy rings made with moong dal and cumin and crunchy specs of white sesame seeds.
Pappu – Pappu is basically any kind of dal preparation, Moong dal and Toor dal are the varieties commonly used.
Pulusu – Is a curry that is predominantly sour in taste with a base of tamarind or sometimes tomatoes and mango. It can be made with a variety of vegetables and is flavoured with curry leaves, fenugreek seeds, jaggery and chillies.
Sambhar – Sambhar is a dal preparation and like every south Indian state Andhra Pradesh too has its own version of it.
Gongura – Is a green leafy vegetable, which is predominantly used in Andhra cuisine. Gongura leaves are added to several dishes like curries and chutneys!
Ullipakodi – They are fritters or bhajjis made with chickpeas and sliced onions eaten as a snack.
Pachadi – Pachadi is the Andhra term for chutney. A variety of chutneys are made with all sort of ingredients ranging from, coconuts, chillies, leafy veggies and lentils and are usually tempered with mustard seeds and curry leaves.
Garelu – Garelus are vadas which can be of different types depending upon the lentil base that they are made with. Garelus are eaten for breakfast as well as a snack across the state.
Pesarapappu Bobbatlu – A sweet refined flour pancake with a lentil and jaggery filling. It is the Andhra version of what is known as a Puran Poli is some other Indian States!
Khubani ka Meetha - An authentic Hyderbadi sweet preparation made with apricot puree and served garnished with fresh malai and apricot kernels, a must try!