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
Maa Ki Dal
Slow cooked creamy, earthy black gram lentils
- 1 cup whole black lentils
- ½ cup Channa Dal/ Split Bengal gram
- 1 brown onion, chopped
- 1 cup tomato puree
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 inch ginger, crushed
- 1 green chilli, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
- ¼ teaspoon garam masala powder
- 2 tablespoon ghee
- 4 cups water
- salt to taste
- coriander leaves for garnishing
- Rinse the whole black lentils and channa dal in water 2-3 times and soak it in water overnight or at least for 4 to 5 hours
Preparing Maa ki dal
- In a pressure cooker or deep stock pot heat 1 tbsp ghee, add cumin seeds. when they sizzle, add chopped onions, fry the onions till golden brown.
- Add the pureed tomatoes and mix well.
- Add the crushed ginger-garlic or ginger-garlic paste, chopped green chilies, and all the dry spice powders mixed with a little water.
- Sauté the masala till the oil starts to leave.
- Add the soaked Whole black gram and channa dal
- Add water and salt to taste
- Cover the pressure cook for about 15 to 18 whistles or 30 to 45 minutes if cooking in stock pot, till the lentils have become soft and buttery. if still they are not cooked well, then continue to pressure cook/ slow cook as necessary.
- If the dal looks thin and runny, then simmer without the lid, till it reaches a creamy consistency.
- Garnish Maa Ki dal with coriander leaves and dollop of ghee.
Serve hot with steamed rice, roti or naan