Food of Telangana

In its 67th year of Independence, on 2nd June 2014, India had a new state to its ever-growing family; Telangana. Albeit being new, Telangana has its roots dating back to thousands of centuries. Pre-independence, Telangana had been under the rule of the Asaf Jahis for centuries, therefore playing a major influence on its culture, its festivities and its cuisine Telangana food is typically spicy and ingredients such as tamarind, sesame seeds, chilies and asafoetida are widely used in a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Sources state that while in Telangana, millet bread/roti is a staple diet its neighbouring state of Andhra prefers rice. Hyderabad is the shared capital of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and is obviously wildly popular for its biryanis and Karachi biscuits. But there is so much more to Telangana and its cuisine that many of us are completely unaware of.

So here is a list of some of India’s finest cuisines and Telangana’s pride.

1. Sarva Pindi

For a healthy breakfast/snack option, Sarva Pindi is an excellent choice as it is cooked with at least one component of each stage of the food pyramid. It is a savoury pancake made of rice flour, chana dal, peanuts and chilli. It is cooked in a deep, round shaped pan and to preserve the sanctity of the recipe, it is pertinent to make holes in the rolled out dough mixture before cooking it. It is also called Ginne Appa owing to its preparation.

2. Malidalu

What do you do with leftover chapathis? Reheat it the next day and have it with sabji? What if there is something useful that can be made with leftover chapathis that is not only tasty but also healthy and sweet? We Indians have a knack for making the most out of situations and this dish is one of the outcomes of that habit. Malidalu is made of chapathi pieces combined with a mix of jaggery, cashews, pista and ghee and shaped into a small balls. Fully packed with nutrients, it is the best solution for anyone craving for a sweet after a meal.

3. Sakinalu

Who doesn’t love some crispy, deep-fried snack every now and then? Sakinalu is one of those grubs that Indians have been perfecting over the years in various parts of India and giving it different names like murkku, chakli etc. But Sakinalu is not the same as the aforementioned items although they do share a slightly similar preparation. Its two chief ingredients are rice and sesame seeds and is devoid of spices, therefore making it a mild snack that is also easy to prepare. It is mainly made during the festival of Sankranti or is offered during marriage.

4. Garijalu

With a crispy exterior, Garijalu also called Kajjikaya has a sweet filling consisting of dry grated coconut, sugar and hints of cardamom. It is deep-fried and its shape as you can see, resembles Karanji; a sweet dish of Maharashtra. The crispy shell is made of maida and rolled out into circles, which is then folded after the filling is stuffed and the shape resembles a half moon. Although the origin of Garijalu is not known and has been shared between different states of India, the people of Telangana have been enjoying making these for generations over the years.

5. Pachi Pulusu

A quick fix for that morning where you’re too sick to cook or you’re craving for Rasam but you are lazy to carry out the entire process of making; Pachi Pulusu will come to your rescue. So the basic difference between Pachi Pulusu and Rasam is that the former has very little “cooking” involved and uses the gas only to temper the seasoning. The commonality is their ingredients. While tamarind requires to be boiled for rasam, it only needs to be soaked in lukewarm water for this dish. The simplicity of the dish sure helps our lazy selves to have wholesome food once in while!

6. Golichina Mamsam

Finally a non-vegetarian dish for the meat-lovers! Golichina roughly translated means “fry” in Telugu. As Telangana cuisine is well-known for its spices, this dish incorporates succulent pieces of mutton into a thick gravy that is loaded with locally grown spices and cooked over low flame for hours so the meat can truly absorb the essence of the curry. It is usually eaten with chapathis, rice or dosa.

7. Hyderabadi Biryani

Thanks to the major influence of Nizams in the state, Hyderabadi Biryani has come to be known worldwide as one of India’s jeweled food items. It is of two types; Kachchi gosht ki biryani and Pakki biryani. Marinated meat is cooked in layers of rice in a big handi which is covered with flat dough that eventually rises due to heat; indicating that the biryani is ready to be devoured.  With two different cooking methods producing mouthwatering results, the biryani has transformed over the years to satisfy everyone’s taste buds and it even has a vegetarian version.

8. Chegodilu

A tea-time accompaniment, Chegodilu is a crunchy snack item that is almost impossible to stop munching on after the first bite. Toasted sesame seeds are the special feature in this deep fried snack giving it a unique nutty flavor that goes well with the mild spiciness.

9. Polelu

Ultra-thin flattened Indian bread with a stuffing made of jaggery, channa dal, cardamom powder and ghee, Polelu is a go to recipe for special festivals like Ganesh Chathurthi. It is commonly found in sweet shops in sealed plastic packets and can be easily made at home.

10. Qubani ka Meetha

An enormously, popular sweet at Hyderabadi weddings Qubani ka meetha never fails to bring out the magnificence of the occasion. Made of dried apricots that are cooked over heat for a significant amount of time to become a compote, it is then combined with sugar, ghee, saffron threads and almonds to prepare a fragrant and delectable dessert. It is often served with a generous dollop of ice-cream, custard or simply malai.

While some of these items are readily available all over India, their authenticity is deep-rooted in the land of Telangana. So, once in a while, let’s pass off that plate of biryani for something that takes us closer to the tradition of the people of Telangana.

This post was published by Darshana Madhavan


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