Thali Menu #146 – Andhra Thali
About Andhra/Telegu Cuisine
Telugu cuisine is a cuisine of South India native to the Telugu people from the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Generally known for its tangy, hot and spicy taste, the cooking is very diverse due to the vast spread of the people and varied topological regions.
Andhra Pradesh state is the leading producer of red chili, rice and Telangana state is millets in India influences the liberal use of spices. Vegetarian, as well as meat and seafood (coastal areas), feature prominently on the menus. Dal (lentils), tomato and tamarind are largely used for cooking curries. Spicy and hot varieties of pickles form an important part of Telugu cuisine.
All three regions — Coastal Andhra, Rayalaseema and Telangana — have distinctive cuisines, where in semi-arid Telangana state region millet-based breads (roti) is predominant staple food, while rice is predominant in irrigated Andhra and Rayalaseema regions and ragi is popular in Rayalaseema regions which is predominantly semi-arid.
Many of the curries (known as koora), snacks and sweets vary in the method of preparation and differ in name, too.
This weekend, the thali menu is a curation of the vast offerings of this earthy cuisine.
Recipe of the week
Maharashtrian style tempered dal
For pressure cooking:
- ½ cup Toor dal or split pigeon peas
- 1 ½ cups Water
- ¼ teaspoon Turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon Jaggery
- 2 teaspoon Ghee
- ½ teaspoon Cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder
- a pinch Asafoetida
Pressure cooking the Dal
- Wash Toor dal under running cold water till water runs clear.
- Soak the dal in enough water for at least 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, discard soaking water.
- Add dal to the pressure cooker with 1 ½ cups of water and turmeric powder.
- Close the lid, put the weight on and cook it on medium heat for 3-4 whistles, open the lid once the pressure is released.
- Mash or hand blend the dal till smooth.
- Add salt and jaggery to the dal. The dal needs to be thin consistency but not too watery, add water to get the desired consistency.
- Turn the heat to medium and bring the dal to a simmer.
- Let it simmer for 4-5 minutes.
Making the tempering
- Heat the ghee or oil in a small frying pan.
- Once hot add cumin seeds and let them sizzle.
As seeds sizzle, turn off the stove, wait for a few seconds.
Then add red chilli powder and asafoetida.
Immediately add the tempering to the dal. Stir well.
Serve hot with steamed rice.