Andhra Pradesh, being one of the largest producers of chilies in the world, is famous for its hot and spicy curries. Like other Southern states, the staple food is rice (the delicious Sona masoori), which is served with a variety of curries built from tamarind, lentils, yogurt, and coconut.
Andhra cuisine can be divided across three regions - The eastern Kosta (Coastal Andhra), the northern Telangana and southern Rayalaseema. Kosta is famous for its fiery tamarind curries and spicy sea food, Telungana for its Mogul influenced cuisine and Rayalaseema for its vegetable curries.
In coastal Andhra, tamarind is much loved and is added to just about anything. It is here you’ll find tamarind eaten raw and even young tamarind leaves being used in curries. Hardened by centuries on a spicy tamarind – chili diet, the coastal cuisine seems to have been immunized against the relatively bland Muslim or Christian cuisines. This is probably why despite its proximity to the center of the Muslim rule, coastal Andhra cuisine shows little signs of Muslim influence. This is why Vijayawada cuisine is so very different from Hyderabadi cuisine.
A lot of similarities can be found in the cuisine of Rayalaseema and the cuisine of Southern Karnataka. This is where you find a roti - the Jonna Roti (made from Sorghum/Jowar/ cholam) challenging rice for a place on the dinner plate.
Telangana is where the mild Mogul cuisine was shocked by the fiery spices of Andhra and gradually morphed into the Hyderabadi cuisine. These curries are very different from regular south Indian curries and are not covered here.
In spite of regional variations, certain curries are so popular, they are cut across regions. A variety of Pachadis (vegetables blended with tamarind, coconut and chilies into a thick sour curry) are eaten throughout Andhra. The chief among them is the Gongura Pachadi (sour spinach blended curry) - a uniquely Andhra curry. See 1001 Blended curries for recipes.
Podis (Roasted lentils powdered with chili) are very popular and are eaten across the state mixed with hot, cooked rice and ghee. Powders like the Kandi Podi (Yellow lentil powder) Papulla Podi ( Roasted gram powder) , Karvepaaku podi (curry leaves powder) are eaten everywhere. See 1001 Podis for recipes.
Eggplant is probably the best loved vegetable, though all other vegetables common to south India are consumed. A specialty vegetable is the Dosakkai - an orange sized, round, yellow variety of cucumber which is not common in other southern states.
Andhra pioneered the cooking of vegetables along with tuvar dal into a thick curry - the Pappu. The delicious Maamidikaaya Pappu, Beerakaaya Pappu and Dosakaaya Paapu are uniquely Andhra curries.
Let us now take a bird's eye view of the curry families cooked across the state.
Majjiga pulusu is a medium thick curry where vegetables are simmered in a spiced yogurt base. This is closely related to the Kadis of North India and More Kulambu of Tamilnadu. As yogurt splits on prolonged cooking, this curry needs to be cooked for as less time as possible, on low heat. Using boiled vegetables would greatly shorten cooking time.
Sailaja's Majjiga Pulusu ( Sailaja’s recipes dominate this cookbook – thanks Sailaja !)
Charu is a flavoured, thin sour curry, without lentils, simmered with select vegetables ( usually tomato / garlic). A variant called Majjiga Charu is also cooked where buttermilk replaces tamarind water. If the sourness comes from lemon, it is called nimbu charu.
Aruna’s Majjiga charu
By adding boiled and mashed lentils to Charu above , we get Pappu Charu.
Cooking 4 all season’s Ulava Charu – a charu with a twist as the regular tuvar dal is replaced by horse gram.
Pachhi pulusu is thick, sour curry made by mixing raw tamarind paste with boiled and mashed vegetables. Andhra's love affair with tamarind is so strong that it is only here you'll see tamarind eaten raw.
Shivapriya’s Eggplant Pachhi Pulusu
Perugu Pachadi is the uncooked variation of Majjiga Pulusu. Mix in a variety of raw / boiled vegetables with raw yogurt and you have perugu pachadi. Majjigae pulusu is normally yellow due to the use of turmeric, but perugu pachadi is usually white as turmeric is not used.
Vaniram’s Eggplant Perugu Pachadi
Cilantro Perugu Pachadi
Kura is nothing but spiced vegetables. The vegetables used are cooked in numerous ways. They can be boiled, stir fried, deep fried, steamed, baked or braised. In some variations, the spice mix is stuffed inside the vegetables, which are then cooked as in the much loved Gutti Vankaya Kura. ( Stuffed Eggplant Curry).
Sailaja’s Chana Dal Kura
Pappu, as the name suggests is just dal (tuvar dal / mung dal) boiled with a pinch of turmeric. Popular variations have a variety of vegetables boiled along with the dal to cook up a range of vegetable- dal curries like Dosakkaya Pappu, Mamdikkaya pappu etc.
Srivalli's Mamdikkaya Pappu (Mango Dal)
Mudda Pappu (Boiled Tuvar dal)
Daily Meals' Nimmakaya Pappu (Lime Dal)
Luv 2 Cook's Cabbage and Carrot Pappu
Kottu is vegetables cooked in a coconut- cumin curry.
Sailaja’s Sorakaya kootu ( Bottlegourd Curry)
Pulusu is vegetables simmered in a medium thick tamarind curry. Usually a bit of jaggery is added to balance the sourness of tamarind. A few pinches of rice flour / gram flour is normally added to the boiling curry to thicken it.
Thotakoora Pulusu ( Spinach Tamarind curry)
Amar’s Sorakaya pulusu ( Bottlegourd Tamarind Curry)
Pappu pulusu :: Add boiled and mashed tuvar dal to a pulusu and you have the pappu pulusu, very similar to a sambar.
Onion- Tomato pappu Pulusu
Jyothi’s Pappu Pulusu with a twist, using lemon instead of tamarind for sourness.
If you have a traditional Andhra recipe not listed here, please leave a comment or mail me. Thanks !