There are many regional variations due to topographic differences in Telugu-speaking populations spread over a large area. They can be classified based by region into Coastal Andhra, Rayalaseema, Telangana and Hyderabadi cuisine. Cultural factors that have heavily influenced the cuisine over the years are the eating habits of the Hindu royal, Brahmin and the Muslim Nawabi royal families. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states proximity with Western, Central and Eastern India makes those border regions' cuisine more diverse with Telugu population spread into neighboring states. Different communities have their own variations and the rural areas still follow the century old cooking habits and recipes.
The Coastal Andhra region is dominated by Krishna and Godavari delta regions and is exposed to the long coastline of Bay of Bengal. Hence rice, dal and seafood are the staple diet of the people. This region has its own variations, but ultimately the dishes are predominantly rice-based. This region is one of the largest producers of rice and chilies. Nellore region in the southern part of the region has its own unique recipes, which are markedly different from those in the Uttarandhra region. Ulava charu is a famous soup made from horse gram; bommidala pulusu is a fish stew that is a specialty of Andhra Pradesh. Andhra cuisine is more dominant in restaurants all over Andhra Pradesh as well as Andhra restaurants in cities like Bangalore, Chennai and New Delhi.
Uttarandhra region is the northeastern districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam bordering Orissa state in Coastal Andhra. Cuisine of this area has its own distinctive flavours and unique taste, while it shares many similarities with Andhra region cuisine. The people of this region like to eat many of their foods sweeter than other regions of Andhra Pradesh. They often cook lentils in jaggery (referred to as bellam pappu) enjoyed with butter and steamed rice.
They cook vegetables in gravies of menthipettina kura (fenugreek seed paste), avapettina kura (mustard seed paste), nuvvugunda kura (sesame paste), etc. Ullikaram is another popular dish where vegetables or corn seeds are flavored in shallots or onion paste.
Poori and patoli is a favorite breakfast or festive dish. Patoli is soaked split black chickpeas (senagapappu or chana dal) ground to a coarse paste and seasoned in coriander seeds, onions and, at times, with cluster beans (goruchikkudu kayi). Uppupindi is coarsely broken rice upma steamed with vegetables and tempering seeds. This dish is had during festive days when people fast during the day and have it at night.
Inguva charu is a sour-and-sweet stew made with tamarind and hing. It can be had with rice or uppupindi. Bellam pulusu is another highly flavored thick sweet stew made out of rice flour, jaggery (cane sugar), corn cobs and whole shallots.
The pickles vary from other regions of Andhra Pradesh. They sun dry mango pieces with mustard powder, red pepper powder and salt soaked in sesame oil to give the pickle extended shelf life. The result is a darker hue and sweeter taste. This method is followed to withstand high moisture from the Bay of Bengal coast.
Karappoddi, popular curry powder that is served with Idly, Dosa and Upma.
Rayalaseema, the southern region of Andhra Pradesh, has some unique dishes in its cuisine. Rayalaseema cuisine is famous for being spicy because of the liberal use of chillipowder in almost all the dishes. Seema karam is unique to its dishes. Due to its close proximity to Tamil Nadu and South Karnataka, the cuisine is heavily influenced by Tamil Nadu and South Karnataka cuisines. There are different foods and snacks made in the Rayalaseema region. Some of the main courses include rice, jonna (jowar), ragi roti with a combination of neyyi as well as ragi sangati, usually served with spinach or pulusu. Uggani is a dish unique to rayalaseema region especially kurnool and kadapa districts.It is made by boiled paddycorn and is generally yellowish in color due to liberal usgae of turmeric powder and is usually served with mirapakaya bajji (chilli bajji) uggani bajji is served primarily as breakfast but generally eaten as a snack food too. It is spicy and is one of the ethnic and authentic dishes of rayalaseema.
Attirasaalu (rice-based vada using jaggery), pakam undalu, (a mixture of steamed rice flour, ground nuts, jaggery), borugu undalu (a sweet variety made corn of jowar and jaggery) and rava laddu are the sweet specialities. Masala borugulu (like snacks), ponganaalu wet rice flour, fry with oil, carrot, onions, chilis are other savory specialties.
The Telangana state lies on the Deccan plateau and its topography dictates more millet and roti (leavened bread) based dishes. Jowar and Bajra features more prominently in their cuisine. Due to its proximity with Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and northwest Karnataka, it shares some similarities of the Deccan plateau cuisine.
Telangana in its cuisine, there is special place for roti's made from millets, such as jonna rotte (sorghum), sajja rotte (penisetum), or Uppudi Pindi (broken rice). In Telangana a gravy or curry is called Koora and Pulusu (Sour) in based on Tamarind. A deep fry reduction of the same is called Vepudu. Kodi pulusu and Mamsam (meat) vepudu are popular dishes in meat. Vankaya Brinjal Pulusu or Vepudu, Arintikaya Banana pulusu or Vepudu are one of the many varieties of vegetable dishes. Telangana palakoora is a spinach dish cooked with lentils eaten with steamed rice and rotis. Peanuts are added as special attraction and in Karimnagar District, cashew nuts are added.
Popular Telangana curry dishes (known as Koora) include Boti and Thunti Koora made out of Red Sorrel leaves. Potlakaya pulusu, or Snake gourd stew is one among the a daily staple dish.
In Telangana regions Tamarind, Red Chilies (koraivikaram) and Asafetida are predominantly used in Telangana cooking. Roselle is a major staple used extensively in curries and pickles. Sarva pindi, a spicy pancake, is a staple breakfast, made with rice flour, chana dal, ginger, garlic, sesame seeds, curry leaves and green chiles.
Puntikura Chana Dal: A vegetarian alternative to 'Gongura Ghosht', chana dal is cooked in spices and tempered with mustard and curry leaves.
Bachali Kura: A tangy spinach curry cooked with tamarind paste.
Pachi Pulusu: A spicy-sour rasam made with tamarind, chili and onions.
Some of the famous food of TelanganaSajja Rotti -
Makka Rotti -
Passham (sweet) - done in 2 varieties with jaggery and milk with talukalu prepared of dough.
Antuvuls also called as Bajji - (Pulusu with vegetables)
Sala Pachi pulsu.
Atukulu - Poha
Sajja Kudumulu with onion chettny
Sadhulu - varieties of Rice, mainly cooked for Sadhula Bathukama Festival different flavors are as follows- Sesame(Nuvulu), Groundnuts(Palilu),Bengal Gram (Putnalu),Cocunut(Kobari), Tarmarind (Chintapandu pulusu),Lemon (nimakaya), Mango (Mamidikaya), yogurt(Perugu)
Guddalu - prepared with different beans, Blackeye beans, corns, Chana, Sprouts along with some spice and onion.
Sakinalu - rice flour Snack
Garje - a sweet filled with combination of either sugar, jaggery, lentils.
rotu tokulu - are famous again - generally they are prepared by semi fry the vegetables and grind it on a stone grinder tools, or in a mixer with adding thadka to it.
kallegura(also called as kallegalupula kura ) - mixed vegetable curry generally prepared during sankranthi Festival
Oorru Kodi Pulusu: Telangana’s special flavorful country chicken curry.
Golichina Mamsam: A spicy Mutton fry
Snacks & Savories Sugar madugulu is a sweet made with milk and butter with sugar coating, and pharda pheni' is another sugar-coated crispy wafer sweet. Recent years has seen a resurgence of Telangana cuisines in restaurants around Hyderabad with the availability of Telangana thali dish for lunch.
The city of Hyderabad in the Telangana state, once ruled by Muslim Nizams, features many variations of non-vegetarian dishes. Many of these dishes have an Arab, Mughal or Persian influence. The cuisine shares a large number of bread-based dishes with the Tandoori, Mughalai and other Muslim cuisines. Hyderabad, considered to be the birthplace of biriyani, is famous for its Hyderabadi biriyani, popular all over the country. mutton is more favored in the regions among the other meat varieties.
A typical Andhra breakfast consists of a few chosen from the items listed below. Usually it consists of idli, garelu a.k.a. vada (deep-fried lentil dough), minapattu a.k.a. dosa (rice- and lentil-based pancake or crepe). Tea, coffee or milk is sometimes taken with these dishes. The most common dishes are:Idli: Urad dal and rice steamed dumplings, often eaten with freshly made chutney or with neyyi added and sprinkled with karrap podi (chili dal powder) or chutney and sambar.
Andhra Dosa: A rice- and urad dal-based pancake or crepe eaten with condiments like Chutney and Sambar.
Minapattu a.k.a. Dosa: Rice and Lentil based Pancake or Crepe fried in flat pan laced with cooking oil, accompanied with Chutney and Sambar.
Pesarattu: A Moong Dal-based Pancake or Crepe fried in flat pan laced with cooking oil. It is usually served with ginger chutney. Sometimes Pesarattu is filled with Upma, known as Upma Pesarattu.
Dibba Attu (Idli batter based Dosa): Idli batter poured into a thick and deep frying dish and fried until the outer layers become crispy and brown.
Atukula dosa : Dosa made from Atukulu a.k.a. Poha.
Rava dosa: Dosa made with Sooji dough with Chili, Coriander leaves, Onion and Pepper.
Andhra Upma Varieties
Godhuma Uppindi: Upma made from Broken wheat flour.
Uppudu Pindi or Uppindi a.k.a. Upma: Upma made from broken Sooji flour.
Saggubiyyam (Sago) Upma : Uppma made from Sago (Saboodana).
Semiya Upma (Vermicelli) upma: Upma made with Vermicelli.
Andhra Vada Varieties
Garelu (A type of Vada) : Deep fried Lentil based Doughnut, or regular deep fried Dal mixture.
Punukulu or Punugulu: Bonda, a deep fried dish made from Idli/Dosa batter.
Gunta Punugulu: Made from Rice and Dal batter fried in half sphere-shaped pan.
Saggubiyyam Punugulu: Vada made from Sago (Saboodana).
Mong Dal Punugulu: Bonda, a deep fried dish made from Idli/Dosa batter.
Thapala Chekkalu : A Deep fried Rice and Dal based flat Vada added with onions, Curry leaves and chili.
Andhra Atukulu or Poha Varieties
Atukulu: Also known a Poha in Northern states, Moist Rice flakes sautéed in little oil.
Atukula dosa: Dosa made from Atukulu a.k.a. Poha.
Atukula Upma: Upma made from Atukulu, just replacing atukulu with sooji.
Andhra Bread and Roti Varieties
Nokulu annam: made corn of Jowar and jaggery.
Chapatti: Flattened Wheat dough heated in flat pan. Served with Dal or Chutney.
Puri: Wheat dough deep fried in cooking oil. Served with Potato Bajji or Chutney. Though a North Indian dish, It is prepared on some occasions and widely available in all restaurants.
Lunch and dinner are elaborate affairs in many Telugu households. In a majority of urban households, the food is served on stainless steel or porcelain plates, while in traditional and rural households, the food is served on banana leaf. The banana leaf are used during festivals, special occasions and for guests. Many restaurants in middle-budget in smaller towns use banana leaves for serving. At times, vistari (a larger plate made of several leaves sewn together) is used. The traditional packing material for long journeys was sun-dried banana leaves.
For presentation, pappu (dal/lentils) and kooralu (curries) are placed to the right of the diner, while spiced pickles, Pachadi (chutney/Raita), a saucy condiment with yogurt and vegetables and Pappulu Podi (Dal & Dry Red Chilli based powdered condiment) & Neyyi (Ghee) are placed to the left. On some occasions special items such as Pulihora (Tamarind rice/Lemon Rice) and Garelu (vada) are placed at the top right. A large scoop of Annam (plain white rice) is placed in the middle. Small amounts of Neyyi is added on rice, Aavakaaya Mango pickle and Gongura Roselle leaf pickle are two varieties of pickles which mark the spice and flavor of Andhra cuisine.
Course and servings
Annam is a staple of the entire meal and is typically mixed with the other course using the right hand. It is the main source of carbohydrates. Spiced pickles, pachadis, podis and papadum (appadam) are available as condiments.
The order of a meal is to start with modhati muddha (first bite) with an appetizer of an ooragaaya (spiced pickle) followed by a pappu, which can be made with vegetables added or eaten plain with a pickle. It is the main source of protein for vegetarians. This is followed by a couple of koora varieties (curry/main dishes) either only vegetarian or a combination of vegetarian and non-vegetarian for getting their vitamins and minerals. A pappu or rasam or a charu (usually kadi is the third part of the course. The fourth course of the meal is either a Perugu (Curd or Yogurt) or as Majjiga (Buttermilk) accompanied by a spicy pickle or any of the other condiments.
After meal paan or somph, (Arcenut, Betel on Pan Leaf) is offered in traditional households. On festival or auspicious occasions, sweet is served with the meal, which is usually eaten first.
Koora/kura/curry (main courses)
Koora - Koora is a generic word for a protein based dish. The actual dishes are called by the material used and the style they are cooked. The different methods of cooking are:Vepudu (Fry): crispy fried vegetables, typically including: okra (bendakaya), ivy gourd (dondakaya), potato (bangaladumpa), colocasia and several regional vegetables but prepared separately for different days.
Pappu Koora (Lentil based dish): boiled vegetables stir-fried with a small amount of half-cooked lentils (dal).
Podi (Powdered Dal based condiment or seasoning): Mixed with Rice and spoonful of ghee or sesame oil.
Gojju (Gravy), Tomato or coriander seed base adding Drum Stick, Brinjal, Okra etc.
Pulusu (Sour Paste or Gravy):
Pulusu Koora/Aava petti Koora (Stew dish): boiled vegetables cooked in tamarind sauce and mustard paste are two main varieties of Pulusu.
Kaaram Petti Koora/Koora Podi Koora (literally dish with curry powder added): sautéed vegetables cooked with curry powder or paste, served as a solid mass. The vegetables can be stuffed with curry powder or paste and are usually cooked whole.
Pappucharu (Thick Dal Broth) or Charu (diluted than a Sambar)
Rasam (Clear soup)
Ooragaya (Pickled), Avakaya, Gongura, etc.
Pachadi (Pasty/saucy condiment)
Other gravy based curries are chiefly made with vegetables cooked in tomato sauce and onion with coriander and cumin powder.
Pappu (Dal/Lentils) Toor Daal (Kandi Pappu) or Moong Daal (Pesara pappu) cooked with a vegetable or green. No masala is added to the dal. Some regions include garlic and onion in the seasoning while some regions prefer asafetida (hing/Inguva). Some times the cooked version of the dal is replaced with a roast and ground version of the dal like Kandi pachadi (roasted toor daal ground with red chiles) and pesara pachadi (soaked moong daal ground with red chillies or green chillies).
A very popular Andhra combo is mudda pappu (plain toor dal cooked with salt) with Avakaya.
Pulusu (sour) is a curry-like stew that is typically sour and cooked with tamarind paste. Other common bases are tomatoes or mangoes. The mixture can be flavored with mustard, chilies, curry leaves, jaggery, onions, or fenugreek. Fish, chicken, and eggs are typical meat additions. Pachi Pulusu is an unheated version of pulusu typically made of mangoes or tamarind consumed during warm months.Challa Pulusu / Majjiga pulusu - Sour buttermilk boiled with channa dal and coconut paste
Menthi Challa / Menthi Majjiga - Sour buttermilk seasoned with ginger / green chili paste and menthi seeds fried in oil.
Perugu - The last item of the meal. Perugu (curd) is normally consumed with an accompaniment like pachadi or ooragaya.
Pachadi (Chutney) and Ooragaya are two broad varieties of pickles that are used at times with rice. Pachadi is typically made of vegetables/greens and roasted green/red chilies. It is prepared fresh and is consumed within a day or two. Ooragaya is prepared in massive amounts seasonally and uses liberal amounts of chilli powder, methi (fenugreek) powder, mustard powder and groundnut oil. For a typical Andhrite, no meal is complete without this very essential item. It is consumed on its own mixed with rice or is also eaten as a side dish with pappu/koora.
Apart from a sizable population who are vegetarians, majority of the population cook non-vegetarian dishes. The state has abundant seafood and has extensively established poultry industry. Lamb meat is another traditional fare cooked with century old recipes.
Apart from Hyderabadi biriyani, the rest of the state has its own recipe and generally known as Palaav or Andhra Biriyani. Kodi (chicken) palav is one of the most enjoyed dishes across all of the state. Royyala palav made with shrimps is considered a delicacy in homes of coastal Andhra Pradesh. Mutton biriyani and Mixed Biryani(Chicken,Mutton and Shrimp) are the other popular Biriyani dishes generally available in restaurants. There are many local variations such as Kaaja Biryani, Kunda Biryani (pot Biryani).
Kodi (Chicken) Koora and Mutton (Lamb) koora are two popular dishes, often made with range of spices and condiments. The gravy base is usually Onions, Tomato, Coriander, Tamarind and Coconut. These gravies are mixed with steamed rice on the plate during lunch. Also pepper is used for fried meat dishes. Popular dishes served commonly in Andhra-style restaurants include the spicy, Andhra Chilli Chicken, Chicken Roast, and Mutton Pepper Fry. Among seafood Tamarind base is widely used. The state's large shrimp farming makes shrimp and prawns widely available.
Andhra Restaurant chains and hotels are very popular in other states due to its extensive variety of meat in the menu.Talakaya Kura: A hearty, rustic meat gravy with bold flavours. This delicacy is made with the lamb's head, corriander and spices.
Chepala Pulusu: A luscious fish curry redolent with freshly ground spices and tamarind juice.
Endu Chapala Vankaya: A flavoursome dry fish gravy cooked with brinjal.
Royyala Kura: Prawns cooked in a tangy paste of tamarind and onion.
Gongura Mamsam: A spicy curry made with tender lamb pieces cooked in gravy of Gongura (roselle leaves) and freshly ground green chilli paste.
kodi Gudla Pulusu: Egg curry flecked with chopped onions, green chilies and bright bits of coriander.
These curries are usually served with steamed Rice, Bagara khana (Basmati rice cooked with aromatics), ‘’Sajja’’ roti (Millet flatbread) or ‘’Jonna roti’’ (Jowar flatbread).
Andhra cuisine has some native non vegetarian snacks such as kodi pakodi (Chicken Pakora), chicken 65, Peetha Pakodi(Crab Pakodi), Chepa Vepudu (Fish Fry),Royyala Vepudu(Shrimp Fry) etc.
Other snacks inspired from Indo-Chinese cuisine such as chicken 65, Chicken lollipop, Chilli Chicken etc. are also extensively available but they will be generally modified by using generous amounts of Spices and chillies.
Bhimavaram town in west Godavari Dristict is very famous for its unique Non-Veg pickles such as Chicken Pickle, Shrimp Pickle and Fish pickles.
The agency(forest) area near Rajamundry is very famous for Bongu chicken (Bamboo chicken) curry.
At home, many savoury snacks make appearance during evening time. These areUpma - ఉప్మా
Boonda - బూంది
Kaarapoosa - కారప్పూస
Ponganalu - పొంగనాలు
Bajji and Bondaalu or Punukulu- బొండాలు or పునుకులు stuffed with spices and dipped in chickpea batter and fried with spicy dips (allam pachadi)
Varieties and variants: Mirapakaya Bajji (Chilli) popular evening snack all across the state, Vamu Bajji, Vankaya Bajji (Brinjal), Aratikaya Bajji (Plantain), Urla Gadda Bajji (Potatoe), Vegetable Bonda.
Varieties and variants:
Pakodi - పకోడీUlli Kaadalu Pakodi *Sanna Pakodi *Vankaya Pakodi
Varieties include Royallu Pakodi, Kodi Pakodi, Ullipakodi (fritters made with sliced onion and spices in chickpea batter)
Gaare - గారే Gaares are a deep fried and spiced dough.
Varieties include :Perugu gaare/Aavadalu - ఆవడలు Gaare are marinated in a yogurt sauce), Bellam Garelu, Rava Garelu, Ulli Garelu, Pulla Garelu
Murukullu orJantikalu - జంతికలు
Varieties and variants:*Pesarapappu Jantikalu, Challa Murukulu, Chegodilu(చేగోడీలు), Sakinalu or Chakkiralu - చక్కిరాలు, Chakli, Chekkalu or Chuppulu - చెక్కలు or చుప్పులు, Maida Chips, Colocasia Chips, Plain papadam, Aam papad
Maramaraalu or Popped Rice - Usually mixed with tomatoes, onions, coriander and lime juice and chilli powder.
Bean/Pea Snacks includes Senagala Talimpu, Guggillu - గుగ్గిళ్ళు etc.
Mixture' (Boondi mixed with chopped onions and lemon juice)
Sweets and savouries form an important part of Telugu culture. Made on festive and auspicious occasions, they are given to visiting relatives. Some of the savouries are also made for evening snack.Pootharekulu - a famous sweet preparation where sweet powder with cardamom flavour is stuffed into very thin pancake skins made of rice flour.
Kajja Variations of this sweet preparation i.e., Madatha kajja and Kakinada Kajja are relished across the state.
Sakinalu is one of the most popular savouries, it is often cooked during Makara Sankranti festival season. This a deep-fried snack made of rice flour, sesame seeds and flavoured with ajwain (carom seeds or vaamu in Telugu).
Kajji Kai is a fried dumpling with stuffing of suji, dry coconut powder and sugar. It is usually prepared during Deepavali.
Some more to name.Sunnundallu - Laddu made from with roasted Urad Dal (Minapappu) and Jaggery (Bellam)/ Sugar a generous amount of ghee is added to enhance to the taste.
Poornalu - Chenna dal is cooked to soft and cooled, jagerry and cardamom powder is added and the mix is rolled into balls. These balls are then batter fried. The batter that is used is made from Urad dal. This sweet preparation is usually served during festive lunch.
Bhakshalu or Bobbatlu or Polelu
Pongali - A sweet preparation made on a festive morning as offering for the deity. Soaked rice is cooked in a generous amount of milk usually in ratio of 1 : 2.5, when the rice is cooked well broken jaggery is added and finished with splash of ghee and fried dry fruits.
Chakkera pongali (sugar pongal)
Laskora Undalu (coconut laddu) or Raskora Undalu (coconut laddu)
In rural Andhra Pradesh, agriculture is the predominant occupation. Some centuries-old cooking practices, especially the use of mud pots, are still in vogue, but are being replaced by steel utensils in recent decades. The earlier recipes in each village were also largely dictated by what was grown and available locally. In the drier districts, jowar (sorghum), bajra (millet) and ragi are still in use, while eating rice is seen as symbol of prosperity. In delta and coastal districts, rice plays the major part in cooking.