The famous thalis and curries served in restaurants across Hyderabad could well get ‘hotter’ now. And yes, it’s thanks to UPA’s recent decision on separate statehood for Telangana. Given the growing demand to popularise the local (read: Telangana menu) cuisine post division, menu cards at city eateries might just see a special ‘made in Telangana’ section share space with the ‘Andhra’ pulusus here on. And going by the word of food experts, who insist that Telanganavadis love their meals not just piping hot but also doused in chillies (red and green), the home-grown delicacies are sure to be packed with oodles of ‘punch’. In fact, the trend, some say, has already picked up in districts across the region with popular joints in Warangal, Karimnagar and even Medak plating up delectable portions of jonna rotte, sarva pindi (pancakes) and mutton — cooked in typical T-style. “Apart from jonna rotte, the rest aren’t very popular in Hyderabad yet. But we expect to see them making an appearance here soon. Bakshyalu (a kind of sweet), meanwhile, is found being sold more than before in the city these days,” said Bharath Bhushan, chairman, Telangana Utsav Committee.
But that’s clearly not enough for foodies from the region who feel that the soon-to-be 29th state’s cuisine is way more exhaustive. Be it the chenaga pindi billala kura (Bengal gram cutlets also used to make curries), or the pachi pulusu (tamarind juice with onions and chilies) that’s eaten together with mudda pappu (plain dal) in this part of the world, or even the salla kadi (made with butter milk, thickened with Bengal gram flour and topped with vadas), they maintain, have found little mention on the menus of local restaurants so far.
“These dishes should now be promoted as it is part of the Telangana culture,” said nutritionist Dr Radha R Chada, explaining just why the ‘local’ food is way spicier than the Andhra fare. “We not just use green chilies and red chilly powder, but also season our dishes with a generous dose of garam masala. Even our pickles are comparatively hotter,” she said. But while Dr Chada’s dream of a tailor-made T-menu might have to wait awhile, Pradeep Rao is happy with the surge in sale of his sakinalus and pappu garelu (popular snacks from the region). His five-year-old store, Sri Lakshmi Telangana Pindi Vantalu in Tilak Nagar, has more patrons than before now, and Rao feels it’s mainly because of a new-found T-pride among people. “I am sure, my products will find more takers over the coming years,” the proud Telanganavadi said.