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Ugadi – A Festive Feast

Ugadi Food Menu

Having had the opportunity to frequent Andhra right from my young age, this region has always fascinated me with its distinctive cuisines.

Exploring the timeless flavours, secret recipes handed over amidst the aroma and warmth of kitchen walls – I have come to realise that – “if measurements and precision are an integral part of cooking so is the passion to render your soul into it”.

Perception of festive occasions are not just limited to wearing new clothes, getting together with friends and families but on the other hand these are legacies, values and traditions which have been handed over for many generations.

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With Ugadi, the advent of  new year, I have managed to share the recipes of some very traditional and authentic dishes which are made during this august occasion. Here is my menu for the Ugadi festival:

Let’s get started right away.

Pesara Pappu Payasam | Green Gram Dal Kheer Recipe

“Payasam” has been a quintessential dessert throughout the history of Indian culinary world. Traditionally, this is served first during any festive occasion or celebration, symbolizing that all beginnings deserve to be started on a sweet note.  Pesara pappu payasam is a traditional lentil-based sweet dish simmered with milk and jaggery.

Ingredients

  • Moong Dal (Green Gram Dal) – 3/4 cup
  • Jaggery -1 1/4 cup
  • Water – 1/4 cup
  • Milk – 2 1/2 cups
  • Cashew nuts – 2tbsp (halved)
  • Ghee – 1 tbsp
  • Cardamom – 1tsp (powdered)

How to prepare Pesara Pappu Payasam

Soak Moong dal for about an hour.

Add one cup of milk to moong dal and pressure cook for approximately 6 to 8 minutes. An alternate suggestion would be to cook in an open and heavy bottomed utensil, until soft. I chose to pressure cook, since it saves time.

Do not overcook the dal, since it has to retain some amount of texture.

Melt the jaggery along with water, once the jaggery is dissolved completely drain it by running through a sieve to remove impurities if any.

Now mix jaggery, the remaining milk, cooked lentils, powdered cardamom and simmer till well combined.

Once the consistency thickens, remove from stove.

In a separate pan, heat ghee and fry the cashew nuts. Once they turn golden brown pour it in to the “payasam” .

It can be served both hot or chilled.

  • Boorelu Recipe

Boorelu Recipe

Boorelu, a popular delicacy is an integral part of the Andhra Cuisine. These are sweet fried dumplings with not just varied flavours but textural varsity as well. As one takes a small portion of the crunchy outer covering, a burst of sweetness along with the scintillating aroma of cardamom leaves you in a state of absolute bliss.

Ingredients

  • Urad Dal – 3/4 cup
  • Raw Rice – 1 1/4 cup
  • Water as required

How to prepare the outer covering

Soak the Urad dal and rice separately for at least 6 – 7 hrs.

After soaking them for the stipulated time, grind urad dal by adding just a little bit of water as and when required. Ensure that you do not make the batter too runny.

Meanwhile, drain excess water from the soaked rice by transferring it to a sieve. Leave it for a while so that rice is void of water content absolutely.

Once you grind urad dal into a fine paste, pour the contents into another container.

Grind the rice without adding any water, it will turn in to a coarse powder, at this point add the ground urad dal, with a pinch of salt. Blend in till it becomes a homogeneous mixture. Take care not to over-grind the mixture. The coating comes out crispier if the batter is slightly coarse.

Transfer the ground mixture to a bowl.

For the Stuffing

  • Chana Dal – 1 cup
  • Jaggery – 1 cup
  • Grated Coconut – 3tbsp (optional)
  • Cardamom – 1/2 tsp (crushed)

Soak Chana Dal for about a couple of hours. Boil it in a pressure cooker for about 7 to 10 minutes. Let it cool. Drain excess water. Grind the dal in a mixer or you can use a masher to make it in to a smooth paste.

In a seperate container, add about 1/4 cup of water to the powdered jaggery and boil it till the jaggery is totally dissolved.

Run it either through a strainer or a clean muslin cloth to get rid of the impurities.

Now take a thick bottomed pan add the strained jaggery, grated coconut and mashed chana dal and combine.

Keep stirring till the mixture thickens and starts curling into a ball. Do not overcook the mixture, since it hardens further on cooling.

Once the mixture is ready, divide them and roll them in to about 12 – 13 balls. You may increase or decrease the numbers depending on the size you want.

Now dip the ball into the outer covering paste you had prepared earlier, with the help of a spoon.

Ensure that the filling is covered evenly from all sides. Drop this carefully in a skillet of hot oil.

Repeat the process, it is easier to handle if you fry them in batches of four.

Turn them with caution so that they are cooked and even toned from all sides.

 

Once they turn golden brown remove them from the oil and rest on a paper towel so that any excess oil gets removed.

Piping hot “Boorelu” is ready to be devoured.

The fun and best way to get the authentic flavour is to split it into two and douse it with a liberal amount of Ghee and gobble them!

All those calorie-conscious people, let your guard down once in a while and indulge 😉

  • Bobbatlu

Bobbatlu | Pooran Poli Recipe

Bobbatlu, a sweet flat bread, conveniently gets different names as it transcends the regional and geographical barriers. One common thread that holds this sweet dish is the fact that inspite of the myriad names, the technique and few ingredients are kept intact, no matter what. The lentils may vary depending on the region one belongs to, for instance Bengal gram Dal may be substitued with Toor dal or moong dal.

Ingredients

For the outer Covering

  • All Purpose Flour – 1 cup
  • Sesame Oil – 1tbsp
  • Water – 3 tbsp
  • Turmeric Powder – just a pinch
  • Salt – just a pinch

Mix in the all-purpose flour, salt, turmeric and run through with your fingers.

Combine water, oil and make a soft dough. Knead well for about 5 -7 minutes. It should turn shiny and elastic as you work on it. Keep it covered and rest for a minimum of 2 to 3 hrs.

For the filling

  • Channa Dal – 1 cup
  • Grated Coconut – 1/2 a cup
  • Jaggery – 1 1/2 cup
  • Cardamom – 1/2 tsp
  • Ghee – 2 tbsp
  • Water – 1/4 cup

Soak Chana Dal for atleast 3 hrs, pressure cook for about 10 minutes till tender, strain and mash. Cool and keep aside.

Melt the jaggery along with water, strain to get rid of impurities.

Take a heavy-bottomed pan, add melted jaggery, grated coconut, cardamom powder, mashed chana dal and cook till the mixture thickens and furls. Let the mixture cool. Divide them in to equal portions (size of a lemon).

 

 

How to Prepare the Poli

Take either a plantain leaf or a plastic sheet, I have used a plastic sheet (an OHP sheet to be precise). Smear whichever surface you are using with some oil.

Pinch a portion of the prepared dough on this greased surface and flatten it using fingers. Once you have flattened it to a considerable size, place the rolled ball in the center of the flattened dough.

Now cover the filling by bringing the ends of the dough over it. Once you have done this, flatten it with fingers or with a roller pin. Its imperative that you work on it very carefully at this point.

Once flattened, place it on a hot tawa and cook on both sides. Add ghee on either sides and serve hot.

  • Ugadi Pachadi Recipe

Pachadi Recipe

This tangy Pachadi is metaphorical to all what life is made up of. It is sweet, sour, bitter, spicy laced with a right amount of salt.

This dish made at the beginning of the new year is a symbolic representation of the essence of our existence in this mortal world filled with different experiences and emotions.

Ingredients

  • Raw Mango – 1/2 cup (peeled and finely chopped)
  • Jaggery – 1 cup
  • Water – 1/4 cup
  • Neem Flowers – 1 tbsp
  • Tamarind – Size of a small lemon
  • Chilli Powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Salt – To taste

How to make Pachadi

Melt the jaggery with water and strain to remove impurities. Soak tamarind in water for about an hour and remove pulp.

Mix the tamarind pulp to the jaggery and boil for a minute. Add chilli powder, salt and let it cool.

Combine the chopped mangoes and neem flowers to this mixture.

Pachadi is ready to be served.

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  • Punugulu

Punugulu | Masala Vada Recipe

Punugulu or masala vada is a crispy snack made from bengal gram or Chana Dal. It has a crispy exterior and soft from within. Its very presence in a platter lightens up almost all faces. No feast is complete without these spicy snacks.

Ingredients

  • Channa Dal – 1 cup
  • Red Chillies – 3
  • Fennel Seeds – a tsp
  • Garlic cloves – 3 pods
  • Coriander leaves – 2 tbsp (chopped coarsely)
  • Onions – 2 tbsp (finely chopped)
  • salt – to taste
  • Oil – for frying

Soak Chana Dal for about 3 hrs along with some red chillies, garlic, fennel seeds and ginger.

Once soaked transfer contents to a mixer. Retain about 2 tbsp of chana dal and keep aside. Grind the rest into a coarse mixture, without adding much water.

Add the chana dal that was kept aside, coriander leaves, salt and mix along with the ground ingredients.

Heat oil in a skillet, take a small portion of the batter in your palm and flatten it.

Now slide this in to the oil and fry evenly till golden brown

Transfer on a paper towel to get rid of the excess oil.

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  • Chitranna

Chitranna Recipe

Chitranna is lemon rice which has a tangy flavour and rich textures. It is a very simple recipe and can be made in no time.

Ingredients

  • Cooked Rice – 2 cups
  • Lemon Juice –  2 tbsp
  • Green Chillies – 2 (finely chopped)
  • Mustard Seeds – 1tsp
  • Ground Nuts – 2 tbsp
  • Cashew Nuts – 1 tbzsp (optional)
  • Urad Dal – 1tsp
  • Asafoetida  – 1/4tsp
  • Curry Leaves – few leaves
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oil – 1 tbsp

Take a heavy-bottomed pan, heat oil add mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal and let the mustard seeds splutter.

Now add curry leaves, green chillies, turmeric powder, ground nuts, cashew nuts, asafoetida and roast till they are crisp.

In a bowl add a pinch of salt and squeeze lemon and keep aside.

It is important to squeeze lemon in a pinch of salt so that it doesn’t turn bitter.

Take a bowl with the cooked rice, add the lemon juice, the tempered mixture, with some salt and mix well (take care while adding salt, since we had added a certain amount along with  the lemon as well ).

Now the chitrannam is all set to go on the platter.

  • Andhra Pappu Charu Recipe

Andhra Pappu Charu Recipe

The simplicity of this dish lies in the fact that it brings out the basic flavour of the lentil along with the essence and aroma of the vegetables used. “Pappu” in telugu translates into “Dal’ and Charu is the “pulp”. This dish can be mixed with hot plain rice and ghee or can be relished with Dosa or idli.

Ingredients

  • Toor Dal / Arhar Dal – 1 cup
  • Tamarind – 1/4 cup of thick pulp. (soaked and extracted)
  • Drum Stick – 2 nos (cut in to 2 inch chunks)
  • Shallots – 1/2 a cup
  • Tomatoes – 2
  • Green Chillies – 3 nos (slit length wise)
  • Turmeric Powder – 1tsp
  • Salt to taste

For Tempering

  • Mustard Seeds – 1tsp
  • Urad Dal – 1tsp
  • Curry Leaves – few sprigs
  • Red Chillies – 2
  • Asafoetida – a pinch

How to make Pappu Charu

Pressure cook Dal along with tomatoes, green chillies, turmeric powder and salt. Once cooked well, lightly mash the boiled dal with the back of the spatula.

In a heavy bottomed utensil add about 1 cup of water and boil the drumsticks and shallots until soft.

After boiling, add the tamarind pulp and boil for another 7 to 8 minutes. Combine the mashed lentil, add salt according to taste and let it boil for another 10 minutes. Remove from flame and keep aside.

In a heavy bottomed pan heat oil, add mustard seeds, urad dal, asafoetida, curry leaves, red chillies and let the mustard seeds splutter.

Immediately pour this mixture into the dal and cover with the lid.

Your steaming hot bowl of Pappu Charu is ready!!

  • Gutti Vankaya

Gutti Vankaya Recipe

Brinjal finds its way into a vast array of dishes made in Andhra. The kind of variations and flavours with which it is combined is almost phenomenal.
Gutti Vankaya is stuffed brinjal which has irresistible flavours.

Ingredients

  • Brinjal (Small Sized) – 1/4kg
  • Tamarind ( about a lemon size)
  • Shallots – 1/2 cup
  • Tomatoes – 1
  • Salt -to taste

For the Stuffing

  • Onions – 3 ( roughly chopped)
  • Coriander Seeds – 1tbsp
  • Groundnuts – 2 tbsp
  • Garlic – 4 – 5 pods
  • Sesame seeds – 1 tbsp
  • Red Chillies – 3 – 4

How to Make Stuffed Brinjal

In a heavy bottomed pan, heat oil and saute the onions, sesame seeds, coriander seeds, red chillies along with garlic and some salt. Once the onions turn transparent turn off the stove and let it cool.

Once cooled, transfer the contents into a mixer and grind to form a paste.

Score the brinjal into four sections keeping the stalk intact. Now stuff the brinjal with the paste.

Take a pan, heat oil, add mustard seeds, shallots, tomatoes, less amount of salt, curry leaves, chilli powder and saute well.

Add the stuffed brinjal, along with the left over of the stuffing mixture.

Now add in the pulp of tamarind and cover with a lid.

Keep stirring the mixture at regular intervals.

Once the Brinjal is cooked, transfer the contents to a bowl and garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves.

Ensure you give enough time for the Brinjal to be cooked, since they are added as a whole, it takes slightly longer time than the usual.

Aratikaya Bajji Recipe

Aratikaya Bajji Recipe

These Crispy Raw Banana Fritters gives any platter a special dimension and adds a festive quotient. This goes well with any kind of mixed rice, in today’s instance teams up well with Chitranna.

Ingredients

  • Besan/ Bengal Gram Powder – 1 cup
  • Rice Flour -1/4 cup
  • Chilli Powder – 1tsp
  • Raw Bananas – 1 (peeled, halved and cut in to thin strips)
  • salt – to taste
  • carrom seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • onions – 1 (coarsley chopped)
  • Green Chillies – 1
  • Ginger – 1/2 inch piece (peeled and chopped)
  • Oil for frying

 

How to make Aratikaya Bajji

In a mixer add chopped onions, green chilly, ginger and grind to a paste.

Combine Besan, rice flour, carrom seeds, salt, chilli powder, ground paste and water. Make it into a thick paste and let it rest for about 10 mts.

Heat oil in a heavy bottomed skillet.

Now dip the sliced raw banana into the batter and drop them in the hot oil.

Turn them after a minute so they get fried on either sides.

Once they turn golden yellow toss them on a paper towel, for extra oil to be absorbed.

The fritters are ready to be plated.

Once all these are ready, serve them on a plantain leaf or plate with steaming hot rice. Fry some papad and don’t forget to finish up with curd rice. Enjoy the festive mood along with your near and dear ones!!

Happy cooking 🙂

Make these authentic and traditional recipes and try to keep the flame burning, share and pass it on to the future generations to come. Happy Ugadi!

— Recipes and Images Shared by Gayathri Iyer

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