Food is an important part of any culture. The methods of preparation of food, preservation, and types of food eaten vary from culture to culture. As part of retaining our culture, I try to learn about different foods that were part of our culture and try to prepare them. I am from Andhra Pradesh, a state in Southern India. Andhra cuisine is famous for the spicy and flavorful dishes. Andhra is one of the major producers of Red chilies and Rice, thus our staple food is rice and spicy curries.
Many people associate food with memories of home and family. When I have a wholesome traditional Andhra meal anywhere, I always remember my mom first and then our childhood days.
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A routine Andhra meal consists of Rice, Dal (lentil and pulses soup), curry (gravy with vegetables), sambar/rasam and curd/ buttermilk. In this post, I am glad to share traditional as well as famous vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes from Andhra Pradesh, India.
Vegetarian Dishes :
In Andhra, we prepare many varieties of Dal in the combination of different vegetables and leafy vegetables. Dal made with Gongura (A leafy vegetable) is mouthwatering to taste. Mango dal is the speciality of the summer season. “Gutti vankaya kura” made with stuffed brinjals is very popular. “Ulava Charu” , a soup made from horse gram is favorite for many. We also prepare a dish called “pulusu” which is made with vegetables and tamarind juice. “Ragi sankati” made with ragi flour(finger millet), ghee and water is a very healthy and wholesome meal in Rayalaseema region of Andhra.
Andhra is very popular for its’ non-vegetarian recipes like “Kodi koora” (A chicken gravy) and “Chepala Pulusu” (Fish curry with tamarind juice). Since Godavari region will have a lot of fresh fish and prawns available, dishes made with fish and prawns are most common. “Gogngura mamsam” is a curry made with meat and a leafy vegetable (Gongura). This is a must try for non-vegetarians.
No Andhra meal is complete without the special pickle made with mangoes known as “Avakaya” served with ghee and rice. Since Andhra produces more red chilies, the people here prepare a variety of pickles with red chilies. Gongura pickle is so tempting to the taste buds that even people staying in Foreign countries get this pickle packed from hometown whenever they travel to the other country.
There are hundreds of special dishes made for festivals like Arisalu (made with jaggery and rice flour), sunnundalu (laddus made with urad dal), janthikalu / murukulu (savoury snack made with rice flour, gram flour, and carom seeds) etc., These were a big hit with friends when we used to stay in hostels away from home. These traditional dishes stay for a long time without spoiling. Payasam(a dessert made with milk and sugar) and Rava Kesari(Dessert made with bombay rava and sugar) are the best desserts for every occasion and celebration.
Do you also associate food with culture, traditions, home, and family? What foods represent your culture? Would love to know.
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