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AS MEATY AS IT GETS సెప్టెంబర్ 22, 2014

Posted by Telangana Utsav in Essays.
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What’s Telangana Thali Without Generous Portions Of Meat!
Sudipta Sengupta
Red hot spicy meat: that’s what, most suitably, defines Telangana food. So, a typical Telangana thali then, is bound to comprise generous portions of meat, in varied forms and preparations, feel residents of the new state. Though unlike its neighbour, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana is still trying to customize an exclusive menu-card that would reflect the gastronomic interests of its people, old-timers from the region clearly have their list of kuras (curries) and pappus (daals), which they think should, almost certainly, be on that ideal T-thali.Mamsam (meat), they however reiterate, is undoubtedly the mainstay .

“There are of course vegetarian accompaniments that23_09_2014_002_005_015 are equally essential; the most common being the pacchi pulusu (raw, uncooked rasam, more like tamarind water with generous sprinkling of onion, coriander, chilli) and pappu. The dal can either be thick and solid, like muddapappu (tur without any tadka), or have a higher consistency of water like pappucharu (similar to sambar) or pesara pappu (which is moong dal based),“ shared Ravikanth Reddy, an entrepreneur by profession and foodie by passion. Hoping to spread the word about T-cuisine, Reddy, who originally hails from Adilabad, is now planning to take small groups of friends back to his village during winter to treat them to a classic `Telangana dawat’.

23_09_2014_002_005_011Green leafy vegetable curries such as punti kura, totta charu and palakura, are also extremely unique to the Telangana cuisine, described by many as “simple yet lipsmacking“. “Sarvapindi, which is made of rice flour, chana dal and spices and is a lot like the Maharashtrian thalipeeth, is also a popular staple,“ shared Mandaar Sukhtankar, executive chef at The Park, Hyderabad. Its Hyderabadi speciality restaurant, Aish, recently held a `Tastes of Telangana’ food promotion.

“But it is non-vegetarian food that most people in this part of the country prefer to eat,“ said G Suraj, owner of Telangana Ruchulu -a twoyear-old eatery in the city that’s taken that first step towards designing a Telangana thali. “So there are a lot of mutton preparations including delicacies like talakaya mamsam kura (goat head curry) and kaarjum kura (liver curry) that we cook here,“ he added. These dishes, along with steaming hot plates of white rice and curd, is what customers walking into this place for a Telangana thali, are usually served. I n t e r e s t i n g l y, though meals in T households commonly consist of rice now a-days, that wasn’t the case in the past. the case in the past.

Jonna rotte (jowar rotis), instead, was the staple food then, courtesy the dry weather of the region. “Even now, it is integral to the Telangana cuisine though it is consumed more for breakfast than as part of a lunch dinner meal. This, together with the makka (corn) vada (often served as a side dish), assert the state’s identity as a millet-growing region,“ said developer Ashwin Rao, while sharing how country chicken (uuru kodi) is a must-have on the T-thali.

While most parts of the state have fish conspicuously missing from their menu, korramatta pulusu (Murrel fish curry) is popular in certain pockets. As is kalchina mamsam (grilled meat) that, residents point out, is commonly served in Mahbubnagar.

Amidst such delectable dishes, one small yet significant part of a Telangana meal is the pachchadi (pickle). Be it the mamidikaya pachchadi (mango pickle) or the nimmakaya pachchadi (lemon pickle), very few Telanganites, by their own admission, can do without a generous dollop of it.

As for desserts, there is the boondi ladoo and puranpoli (an influence of the Marathwada region that was part of the Hyderabad state), though chef Mandaar has a few interesting additions to make. “We had the very distinct in taste and look Tosu Halwa, made of toasted bread, raisins, sultanas and cashews, on the lines of Double Ka Meetha for the event, which I improvised on by serving with vanilla ice cream, and the Kobbari Pappu Payasam (a cardamom-scented lentilcoconut-jaggery pudding),“ he said, however, pointing out how the line between Te langana and Andhra cuisine is quite blurred. He added: “There is a commonness to both cuisines and that is the sourness as well as the spice factor. Maybe Telangana food can be considered more earthy and rustic.“

(With inputs from Swati Sucharita)

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