The cuisine of Andhra Pradesh
is reputedly the spiciest and hottest of all Indian cuisine. The cuisine
includes both the original Andhra cooking and the Hyderabadi cuisine with
its Mughlai influence. It is the former, which is red hot. The food is
very delicious and spices are used liberally in their food. Andhra Pradesh
calls for some mouthwatering traditional delicacies.
There are specific items served for snacks, lunch, dinner, etc. Eating patterns differ as there is a mixture of Hindu and Muslim styles of eating. The cuisine is largely vegetarian, with only the coastal areas showing a marked preference for seafood. Rice, the staple Andhra food, is served with sambar, other lentil preparations along with vegetables.
Traditional Andhra meal starts with people sitting on mats
or small raised wooden seats. A banana leaf is placed before each person
and a little water is sprinkled, this shows that the food can now be
served. Rice is served with a little helping of ghee.
Unlike other parts a dry curry goes as a perfect combination with the rice. The meal includes nearly five types of dishes, but a typical Andhra meal has to have the famous hot pickles, chutneys, powders etc. Curd ends the spiciness of the meals on a cool note.
Pulihara, or tamarind rice, is the main food here in Andhra Pradesh, and green chillies add spice to the cuisine. The vegetables and greens are prepared with various different masalas giving the same vegetable different flavours. Traditional Andhra cuisine also has many non-vegetarian dishes, which are also spicy and unique in taste.
The pickles and chutneys are very popular and last for more than a year. Chutney is made practically of every vegetable including tomatoes, brinjals and an aromatic green called 'Gongoora' which is an Andhra speciality.
The mango pickle 'Avakkaya' is a perennial favourite of Andhraites all over the world. The famous south Indian Tiffin's like Idli, Dosa are found in many restaurants, but the favourite remains to be 'Pesarattu', which has filling of 'Upma'.
Andhra cuisine is largely vegetarian, with only the coastal areas showing a marked preference for seafood. Fish and Prawn are curried in sesame and coconut oils, and flavoured with freshly ground pepper and eaten with rice.
Snack time could mean onion 'Pakodas', 'Vadas', 'Murku' (roundels of rice flour that are deep fried), and 'Appadams'. For desserts, try 'Payasam', a pudding made with rice and milk. 'Putharekulu', 'Kakinada Kaja', 'Bobbatlu', 'Booralu', and 'Bandhar Ladoo' are the famous sweets.
Hyderabadi cuisine is rich and aromatic, the taste more
distinct, with a liberal use of exotic spices and ghee and the fresh fruit
normally used is replaced by dried fruits. Lamb is the most widely used
meat in the non-vegetarian dishes.
One of India's finest foods, the 'Biryani' (flavoured rice with meat or vegetables) is closely associated with Hyderabadi cuisine. It is so popular that it takes a special mention in the world of cuisines.
The Mughlai Delicacies
Hyderabadi Cuisine owes its origins to the Mughlai style of cooking of the Asaf Jahi period. By carefully mellowing and nurturing the typical Mughlai flavours with a blend of spices, the cuisine of Hyderabad was born.
For those who want a taste of the royal menu, there is a variety of 'Biryanis' (a rice and meat preparation, seasoned with spices and flavourings); 'Kababs' (meat pieces or minced meat cooked in many different styles such as 'Boti Jhammi', 'Kalmi', 'Shikampur', 'Sheek', 'Lagan-ke-Kababs', 'Dum-ke-kababs'); 'Kormas' (either meat or vegetables cooked in a rich creamy gravy) and 'Lukhmi' (pastry).
During the month of Ramzan, one gets to taste 'Haleem' (a pounded wheat and meat preparation). For those who prefer more homely food, there is Khichri (a rice a lentil preparation); 'Keema Methi' (minced meat with fenugreek); 'Nahari' (stew of tongue and lamb trotters); 'Rumali Rotis' (bread as thin as a handkerchief) and 'Chakna' (a spicy dish of meat). 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.
For vegetarians there is 'Bagara Baingan' (a rich spicy preparation of brinjals); Mirch-ka-salan (chillies in a creamy gravy); 'Tomato Qoot' (aromatic puree of tomato with flavourings); and 'Shahi Dahi Vadas' (lentil dumplings in Youghurt sauce).
For dessert, on can have a pick from 'Double-ka-Meetha' (a bread and cashewnut pudding); 'Qubani-ka-Meetha' (stewed apricot dessert); 'Ande-ka-Piyosi' (made with eggs, almonds and purified butter); 'Badam-ki-Jhab' (marzipan) and 'Dil-e-Firdaus' (a rich, milk-based sweet).
Many small hotels and restaurants around the Charminar area offer authentic Hyderabadi dishes.
Mangoes, 'Anabshahi' grapes, custard apples are among the delicious fruits varieties and finally the elaborately prepared 'Paan' can be enjoyed after a hearty feast.
Andhra Pradesh Tourism offers on order a typically Hyderabadi multi-course dinner served on a low table (Chowki) around which 8 people can sit. Authentic Hyderabadi cuisine is served course by course, as the Nawabs were served with a Deccan ambience accompanied by traditional entertainment like Ghazals.