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Friday, April 1, 2016

A - Z Andhra Recipex ~ A for Alasanda Vadalu

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.


Sandhya Ramakrishnan said...

Very recently i was introduced to Alasanda vadai and we fell in love with it. I make it very often these days for snacks. there are so many ingredients and recipes for dishes with A. Looking forward to your Andhra cuisine :)

Gayathri Kumar said...

The vadas look so inviting. Looking forward to all the authentic recipes..

Kalyani said...

I am so looking forward to ur authentic andhra Brahmin recipes , Suma :) and these vadaalu look so tempting !!

Same pinch on the street food : I can't take them anymore although I can't say I am not tempted by them :)))

Kalyani said...

... And yes , a lovely compilation of all the ingredients & dishes beginning with that alphabet :)) great job 👌👌

Amara’s cooking said...

Alasandalu are very good for health and these vadas look delicious Suma. Just want to reach out for one of the plate...

cookingwithsapana said...

Alasanda vadas looks so crispy and delicious. Looking forward to your Andhra dishes.

Unknown said...

Good choice Suma and very help full ingredients list. Alasanda vadalu looks so crisp and inviting. BTW We call alasandalu with one more name is Bobbarlu..

Srividhya said...

Crispy and yummy and healthy. Wow great dish to start with. :-)

Srivalli said...

Such a fantastic read suman. I enjoyed reading all the different words for a and your detailed notes. These are my favorite ��. Àmma always makes it at home, and we have the same restrictions. My first tasting this off the street vendor was after marriage lol...you reminded me of those days.

Priya Suresh said...

Lovely compliation of all the ingredients and the dishes name with A, thanks for sharing definitely helpful in future for people like me who loves Andhra style dishes. This crispy vadas are very tempting, wish i get a plate rite now.

Pavani said...

Month long Andhra dishes Suma, I'm already thinking what you might have planned for each letter.
I've never had alasandala vada but heard a lot of it. I'm bookmarking this to try out soon.

Priya Srinivasan - I Camp in My Kitchen said...

Delicious vada suma and thanks for the list dear, we can go for another 10 marathons with the list i believe!!! :)

Smruti Ashar said...

The vadas look so tempting. I wish I could pick one off the picture :)

Suma Gandlur said...

Padma, I know about the usage of the word bobbarlu for black eyed peas and was planning to mention about it in the post but somehow forgot. Thanks for the reminder.:)) Will update.

MySpicyKitchen said...

Nice compilation of ingredients and dishes. Alsanda vadalu or garelu as well call them were quite common preparation at my maternal grandma's place. Looking forward to all your recipes

Harini R said...

Mouthwatering vadas Suma. Regarding street foods, growing up I have never eaten street food/chaat as my parents never let us eat out. But after my wedding things took a reverse turn :) Looking forward to all the traditional dishes.

Saraswathi Ganeshan said...

Alasanda Vadallu always wins everyones heart..Yummy taste will no stop us with one..

vaishali sabnani said...

Suma hats off !..beautiful and informative post, though its difficult for me to pronounce some of these and remember, but truly very interesting..and the wads, wow...they look fantastic, i feel like picking one of the scree.

Unknown said...

The vadas look crispy... Looking forward to many other Andhra cuisines...
That list from A would be very helpful for our next time planning...

The Pumpkin Farm said...

Wow Suma, this is one list you have pulled out and the final selected dish is also delectable....looking forward to more andhra cuisine

Padmajha said...

This has been on my list since a long time. Loved your detailed post.Looking forward to your other dishes in this series..

Nalini's Kitchen said...

Looking forward to your Andhra Brahmin recipes..BTW alasanda vada looks so Crispy and had it my friends place many times.

Chef Mireille said...

thanks for the language lesson - really helpful when/if I ever focus on this cuisine - I made these when we did the Indian regional marathon and loved them entirely - yours look so crispy delicious

veena said...

Thank you for listing out , helpful for the nexxt marathon. Love these vadais.Looks awesome

rajani said...

The vadas look absolutely delicious and the pictures are so gorgeous.