If you love to indulge in regional cuisines then this episode might come in handy in engaging you with the culinary collage of one of the most popular South Indian cuisines, the Telugu cuisine that is known for its spicy and tangy flavors. It is native to the Telugu-speaking population from the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and has three distinct categories-the coastal Andhra cuisine, the Rayalaseema cuisine, and the Telangana cuisine- that have been shaped by the varied topographical influences.
In the case of cereals, rice is a staple of the irrigated Andhra region and also Rayalseema too. Ragi is very popular in Rayalseema. In the semi-arid Telengana, millet-based bread (roti) is predominant. The cooking techniques are also diverse in all three regions. Across all zones, we noticed a liberal use of spices in the food.
Meat and seafood (coastal areas) feature prominently on the menus while dal (lentils)is also a common dish in the veg section. Tomatoes, coconut, chilies and tamarind are generously used in curries. Spicy and hot pickles and chutneys are common accompaniments in the Telugu cuisine.
So let’s get started with this enlightening gastronomic exploration with our amazing host Sankalp Vishnu as we brace ourselves to savour and discuss some of the popular traditional delicacies of the Telugu cuisine. We visited three celebrated restaurant that have earned the fame for serving the best and authentic versions of these respective cuisines in Hyderabad.
For Andhra cuisine we went to The Spicy Venue at Jubilee hills. Here we met the owner Sampath who introduced us to this cuisine and over the due course of the meal, shared many insightful details about it. The spread here was extensive, spicy and tangy but super delicious. We started with pain plain Rice and ghee which was the staple and then moved onto the popular traditional veg and non veg dishes. The feast ended with the most delectable apricot dessert that we had ever tasted.
Our next destination was Rayalseema Ruchulu where we tried some of the traditional Rayalseema delicacies. The curries were quite similar in flavour to the Andhra ones though there was a notable difference in the spice quotient and the sourness aspect of the two cuisines. All the curries and chutneys were mostly paired with either Ragi Sangati or Jonne Rotte. The bottle gourd halwa is the popular dessert from this region. The food here was equally scrumptious.
Finally Sankalp took us to Mercure hotel on the eve of Telangana Foundation day to try the authentic Telangana spread that was being showcased there on this special occasion. The chef in charge introduced us to the popular dishes from the region. We then had a hearty meal along with the palm wine, a traditional alcoholic drink native to this region. The sweet dishes included the arise and rava ladoo.
We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all our hosts including our gastronomic partner Sankalp bhai. This cultural connection through the regional culinary traditions wouldn’t have been possible without their hospitality, support and cooperation.