The idea of posting A - Z recipes, based on Andhra Cuisine has been brewing in my mind for some years now though I could make it happen only now. I am going to post 26 dishes this month from the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, as part of the April Blogging Marathon, Journey through the Cuisines. The name of the dishes are going to be in the English alphabetical order with regional names and there is going to be a dish for each letter. Most of the dishes I have chosen are commonly prepared in Andhra Brahmin households and have been in our families for generations. And of course there are a couple of exceptions because of the difficult 'letters' whose sound equivalents are not found in the local dialect, Telugu.
Andhra Pradesh lies on the southeastern coast of India and up until recently was divided into three regions, Coastal Andhra, Rayalaseema and Telangana. Telangana region has formed it's own state now and is no longer a part of Andhra though both states are sharing the capital city of Hyderabad for the time being. Andhra is the leading producer of rice in the country and is dubbed as the rice bowl of India. And naturally all traditional meals are built around rice. Also the region is a leading producer of chillies in India and is known for it's spicy food and pickles. The spiciest food in the world I believe, not exaggerating. The cuisine includes both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, the coastal regions being popular for sea food and meat dishes. Hyderabadi cuisine, predominantly non-vegetarian has evolved into a rich and diverse one, inspired by and during the Muslim reign.
The first thing I did when I decided to go with Andhra dishes was to make a list of ingredients and Andhra dishes that started with each alphabet as many as I can think of. And the below is that list for letter "A". I hope it is useful for those who are not familiar with the region's cuisine.
Fruits / Vegetables:
Arati pandu - Banana
Ananas pandu - Pineapple
Aakakara - Teasle gourd, Kantola
Aaku kooralu - Leafy greens
Aloo / Aloo gadda - Potato
Aanapakaaya - Bottle gourd, Lauki, Sorakaya
Allam - Ginger
Anapakaya - Field beans, Avaraekaayi
Aratikaaya - Plantain
Arati bonde - Banana Stem
Arati puvvu - Banana Flower
Avise aaku - Flax plant greens
Aavalu & Aavapindi - Mustard & Mustard powder
Alasandalu - Bobbarlu, Blackeyed Peas
Appadalu - Papad
Atukulu - Beaten rice flakes, Poha
Avise ginjalu - Flax Seeds
(And the dishes like chutneys, curries, dals, that are cooked using above vegetables/ ingredients as the star ingredient will also start with the letter 'A'. The plantain leaf on which food is served on religious or special occasions is called arati aaku in Telugu.)
Pickles / Chutneys / Podis:
Aavakaaya - Spicy green mango pickle in mustard powder base
Aava pachadi - Yogurt - Mustard base chutney
Allam pachadi - Ginger chutney
Annamlo podi - Spicy powder made with a medley of lentils
Aavadalu - Spicy, Andhra style dahi vada
Aava pettina koora - Curry in mustard base
Aaviri Kudumulu - Steamed sweet or savory dumplings
Annam - Cooked rice
Appalu & Ariselu - Rice flour and jaggery based sweet dishes
Attu - Dosa / Pancake
Atukulu / Atukula upma - Cooked poha
Appachi - Snack / Sweet in baby language
I am starting the series with Alasanda Vadalu, a popular street snack from the Rayalaseema region which also go by the name bobbarla vadalu in other areas. My mind kept going around 'Aava' / mustard based dishes but the instant I let know about the theme of this marathon, my Rayalaseema born and bred husband picked Alasanda vadalu. No surprises there considering that the deep fried black eyed peas' fritters is one of the most sought out and delicious street foods sold in the Rayalaseema region. My first introduction to them happened soon after my wedding when I stepped in my husband's hometown, Kadapa. A nephew of his bought a bagful of them for me to taste. The fritters were tasty enough though I ended up in bed for two days after catching a stomach bug and needless to say I never again dared to buy that stuff from the streets. I have zero immunity against the street food as my husband points out, making fun of me. I grew up in a household with a mother who would not allow us kids to buy any thing off the streets unless the seller appeared tidy and clean, which automatically meant rare occurrences and the blessing in disguise has been that I am not at all tempted by any street foods now. :) However here is a homemade version of those delicious and irresistible vadas from my kitchen.
Ingredients (makes about 18)
3/4 cup black eyed peas / alasandalu
2 to 4 green chilies *
1" ginger piece
A handful of cilantro leaves, finely chopped
Salt to taste
1 big onion, finely minced
About 2 cups oil to deep fry (I used canola oil.)
* The quantity of the chillies depends upon the spiciness preferred. I used 2 very spicy Serrano peppers.
* Wash and soak the black eyed peas in water for about 4 to 5 hours. Take care that they are immersed in water completely during the soaking period.
* Transfer the soaked peas to a colander and leave it aside for about 5 minutes so that the water gets drained completely. Otherwise the batter may end up watery.
* Add black eyed peas, ginger, chillies, cilantro and salt to a blender or a food processor and grind them to a slightly coarser mixture without adding any water. The mixture should be firm, holding together when shaped.
* Heat oil in a small frying pan / kadai.
* Take a small lime sized portion of the batter onto your left palm, slightly pat it and gently drop it into the hot oil. A hole can be poked at the center of the patty if preferred. Usually they are made with a hole in the center like medu vada but can be made just like patties as I did. Repeat the step with the remaining batter. Drop as many patties as the pan can hold without overcrowding.
* Fry them on medium flame, turning them around once or twice in between until they are cooked through out and turn golden brown.
* Remove them with a slotted spoon and repeat the steps with the remaining batter. Serve warm.
1. Add some chickpea flour to the ground mixture in case it is hard to shape it into patties.
2. The soaked black eyed peas can be drained and refrigerated for about two days.
Check out the blogging marathon page for the other marathoners doing BM #63.