Andhra Pradesh is famous for its hot and spicy cuisine along with its rich cultural heritage. The cuisine of Andhra Pradesh includes both the original Andhra cuisine and the Hyderabadi cuisine, having a Mughlai influence. Out of these two cuisines, the former one is more hot and spicy. The traditional delicacies of Andhra are absolutely mouthwatering having a liberal use of spices. Every meal that is snacks, lunch, dinner, etc, have their own specialty. The eating habits are quite varied as there is a mixture of Hindu and Muslim styles of eating. The Andhra cuisine is mainly vegetarian and only in the coastal areas seafood is preferred. The staple food of Andhra Pradesh is Rice, which is served with sambar. It is also served with other lentil preparations along with vegetables.
The Range of Traditional Andhra Cuisine
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 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 famous 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.
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'.
The Famous Hyderabadi Cuisine
The highlight of the Andhra Pradesh cuisine is the Hyderabadi food. It is famous for its rich and aromatic nature. It's taste is very distinguishable having a liberal use of exotic spices and ghee. The Hyderabadi food uses fresh fruit instead of dried fruits. It is also famous for its non-vegetarian preparation and Lamb is the most widely used meat here. Biryani, one of India's most popular foods, is a flavored rice with meat or vegetables. It is an important part of Hyderabadi cuisine.
The Mughlai Delicacies
Hyderabadi cuisine is inspired by the Mughlai cuisine. This style of cooking is here since the Asaf Jahi period. Thus, the Hyderabadi cuisine is a perfect amalgamation of the typical Mughlai flavors with a blend of rich spices.
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 is '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.
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.
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.