The Tastes of Telangana…
“You must come and try Telangana cuisine.” A friend from Hyderabad sent out a vague invitation to me knowing my love for food and new cuisines. The invitation led me to ponder over my ignorance about the cuisine from the recently born state of India. There isn’t much dialogue about it, after all. Of course, culinary distinctions have always existed between Andhra and Telangana cuisine but a brand new identity calls for distinct bifurcation. Curious about the cuisine, BlueSkyDreamers (BSD) got in touch with Chef MV Naidu, Executive Sous Chef at Hyderabad Marriott Hotel & Convention Centre & Courtyard by Marriott Hyderabad who promised to tell us all about Telangana cuisine.
BSD: Chef, we have heard so little about this cuisine. Tell us what exactly defines Telangana cuisine?
Chef: Telangana cuisine is rustic and focuses on using local produce that are widely available. The region uses seasonal vegetables, pulses and grain which are a staple of the area and when it comes to meat they use all parts including offal. Telangana is one of the biggest producers of millet in the country and Andhra leads in rice and chilli production so the cuisine is hot and sour and the usage of lentils, tomato and tamarind is predominant in the preparations of the curries.
Remember, Telangana cuisine is different from Hyderabadi or Andhra cuisine in subtle but definite ways. While Hyderabadi cuisine is influenced by the Mughlai, Turkish and Arabic cuisines, Telangana food is known for its expert way of blending spices to create masterpieces.
BSD: What are the specific dishes that one can find only in Telangana?
Chef: Like I mentioned earlier, Telangana cuisine uses a lot of local produce. So you find tamarind, mangoes and peanuts predominant in the dishes. Pacchi Pulusu is a common side dish. Made with tamarind and garlic thin gravy, it is served with millet bread or Jonna roti. Ooru Kodi Koora is another dish specific to this region. A spicy country chicken curry, it is commonly cooked in households in Telangana. Besides these, there’s Sarva Pindi or rice flour fritters. In dessert, one must try Baallam Garelu- i.e. Jaggery and flour dumpling.
BSD: What about the preparation style?
Chef: Pan frying is the predominant style of cooking
BSD: Best place to try this cuisine
Chef: Of course, MoMo café and Okra at our hotel!
BSD: Well, we’ll have to come down and taste the food to verify that!
Chef: Most welcome!
BSD: We’d love to. But till then can you share the recipe of your favourite dish from the cuisine…
Chef: Sure. Here is the recipe for Royallu Munaga Kaaya Kura
Onions chopped 3
Ginger garlic paste 1tbsp
Green challis slit length wise 5
Red chilli powder 1tbsp
Coriander powder 1tbsp
Cumin powder ½ tsp
Garam masala 1tsp
Tomatoes finely chopped 3
Coconut paste 1tbsp
Salt as per taste
Refined oil 4tbsp
Curry leaves 15
- Heat 4tbsp oil in a vessel ad adds the chopped onions and green chilli and fry till golden brown.
- Add the ginger garlic paste, and fry till oil separates.
- Add all the powders and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and stir fried, drumstick pieces, and cook further for another 3 minutes.
- Add the prawns and stir well till it’s well coated with the masala.
- Let it cook for 2 minutes and then add the coconut paste, salt and add 1 cup of water.
- Cook covered for 5 minutes. Till you get the desired curry consistency, turn off heat.
- Garnish with chopped coriander leaves, and serve hot with steam sonam masuri rice, or roti.