Ugadi, memories & more…

Ugadi, memories & more…

Bobbatlu, Palathalikalu, Jeedloo, Pootharekulu, Malai Kaja, ChittiGaarelu, Minapa Rotti, Gutti  Vankaya Koora,  Chapala Pulusu, KodiI guru, Kodi...

Bobbatlu, Palathalikalu, Jeedloo, Pootharekulu, Malai Kaja, ChittiGaarelu, Minapa Rotti, Gutti Vankaya Koora, Chapala Pulusu, KodiI guru, Kodi Vepudu, Gongura Mamsam, Ulavala Chaaru, Raagi Mudda – the list is just a small portion of the several dishes served during one of the recent dinners celebrating Ugadi, the Telugu New year, in advance.

It was called ‘Telugotsavam 2.0’ since it was the second edition of celebrations that began last year at Spicy Venue, a restaurant started in 1998 and serves specialty Andhra cuisine. This year too, the event organised by the Hyderabad Foodies group food had the lavish, delicious spread from Spicy Venue, and the owner Sampath himself was there dressed in traditional silk dhoti and shirt playing the host to perfection. It was a colourful event with music, a whole lot of tradition thrown in - in terms of the décor and the attire of those who attended it.

It all began with sugar cane juice, Badam milk and the Sugandhi juice, the starters that included the Bajjis and Kodi Pakodi, and just went on. How much could one eat at a time. Hence, at this event one was left having little of everything and craving for all that you couldn’t have.

For a foodie – remembering all the wonderful food spread out for you to hog on and pining over the fact that you haven’t tasted that Kakarakaya Pulusu, which someone said was amazing, or that additional piece of Royyala Iguru, which seemed like it was made in heaven – well that could be quite an ordeal.

The truth of the matter is that you may love your continental food, eat Chinese noodles every second day, but native food never fails to entice you.

Spring brings with it the memory of those wonderful evenings before Ugadi when mother and her sister would collaborate over this huge number of Bobbatlu that could feed an entire colony, chatting away and not complaining one bit and painstakingly spreading the maida dough soaked in oil wrapped over small balls made of senagapappu (lentil – Bengal gram) and jaggery and frying it over a pan adding an overdose of ghee to it.

As the aroma wafts out of the kitchen and reaches you, you are moved out of the reverie of whatever you were doing and rush to taste the first produce of the magical hands. Bobbatlu, also known as Polelu in Telangana are integral to Ugadi. Today too, many homes stick to the tradition and make Polelu/Bobbatlu, but several others prefer to buy it at Swagruha stores.

Food brings with it memories, food is an extension of culture. It is not just about satiating our taste buds, but much more. There are many Telugu dishes, curries, chutneys (pachadlu) and other preparations that were extensively made to be served during lunch and dinner, but so many of them are either not being prepared now, for want of time or are simply forgotten.

This Telugu New Year we begin a column that will bring to you such memories and few experiences from everywhere – of all those wonderful dishes that enrich Telugu cuisine from across the two states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

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