This is the time of the year 9 sacred days are celebrated in large scale. Though they are called different names, celebrated differently, worshipping avatars of Durga is common. Navratri, Mysuru Dasara, Batukamma, Kullu Dussehra, Durga Puja, Nadahabba etc. This high-spirit festival is celebrated in many different ways. Some fast, some feast, some jagaran (not sleeping thru the night), some dance every night, some worship with high devotion.
Bathukamma is a unique flower festival celebrated in the state of Telangana, India. It is a highly enthusiastic festival, especially for women. It represents Telangana’s culture. Bathukamma is a beautiful round flower arrangement with colorful seasonal flowers stacked in the shape of temple gopuram. The arrangement signifies the Gouri goddess Bathukamma. Flowers used to make Batukamma are Bera, Thangedu, Thamara, Gunugu, Banthi, Gummadi, Kanakambaram, Mandhara, and Ramabanam. Women arrange floral batukammas beyond their creativity. Women dress up in their best, expensive pure silk sarees, wear jewelry. In the evening, all women carry plates of flowers to a nearby lake, arrange all in a circular shape. They dance around batukammas clapping rhythmically with traditional songs praising the goddess and to take birth again.
Biryani is every Indian’s favorite party dish. Hyderabad Dum biryani is more special. To Hyderabadis, biryani doesn’t need an introduction. Biryani corners, takeouts, high scale restaurants popped everywhere in Hyderabad. Biryani is often described as aromatic, heavenly delicious. Dum is a method of slow cooking with marinated raw chicken and spiced basmati rice arranged in layers, and finally sealing the pot with dough. When every biryani is served in gatherings, weddings, celebrations, it is the center of attraction. Biryani’s characters as you can tell – rich spices, aromatic flavor is what draws everyone’s attention and makes people drool for it.
Avakaya is South India’s state of Andhra Pradesh favorite pickle. It is go-to pickle at festivals, weddings, gatherings, pujas, and wherever people gather. If you taste, you will soon realize the exaggeration about Avakaya is genuine. In other words, you will experience heaven on earth. Avakaya biryani is basmati rice cooked with avakaya. Avakaya biryani is an extravaganza.
Avakai is spicy, reflecting Andhra’s significant taste. Made from scratch, using household ingredients, Avakaya is a seriously tasty pickle. It is an exceptional combination to eat with rice and ghee. It also goes great with any dish which needs more flavor and spice. It even works as a dip. Lastly, it can be transformed into India’s favorite dish Birayni.
Gongura, which is known to western world as Roselle, is tangy and sour leaf. Roselle plant leaves and flowers both are edible.
Gongura (Hibiscus Sabdariffa) leaves – the most popular dish in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, India. Gongura leaves are widely used in Andhra Pradesh. It holds a very special place in Andhra people’s hearts. It is called as Andhra favorite dish – Andhra maatha or Andhra Shakambari Varaprasadam. Gongura known as Jamaican sorrel leaves in carribean countries, as Roselle, florida cranberries in western countries. It is known as ambadi or pulicha keerai, LalChatni, Kutrum, Tengamora, Aamelli, Pundi Palle, Pitwaa, Taka bhendi, Khata Palanga, Kotrum, Mestapat, Amaari in other parts of India.
This gluten-free grain is a staple in Asia and India. As gluten-free food demand is on the rise, millet is now hero in western countries. Step back on processed foods marketed as gluten-free. They either lack key nutrients or loaded with chemicals. A variety of millets are available. They can be cooked like rice, pasta or to a creamy texture like grits. Whichever fits your preference and diet. From any of your favorite rice or pasta dish, safely substitute rice/pasta with millets. I made this dish with Proso millets. Proso millets in other languages is called Varigelu in telugu, Baragu in kannada, pain varagu in tamil, Cheena in bangali, Vari in marathi, cheno in gujarati, bachari bagmu in oriya… Though in Asia countries as India, China, Nepal etc millet is a common staple, for western countries, it is a bird food.
Jackfruit is my favorite vegetable and fruit. The jackfruit is a gigantic, spined, oval fruit that have been first cultivated in Indian rainforests. It is mostly grown in tropical or close to tropical climates. It mostly found in many parts of India, as well as in most of Southeast Asia. In certain parts of India, huge jackfruit is sliced up and sold raw. It has such a unique texture and flavor, you will either love it or hate it.
The seeds can be boiled or roasted and taste like chestnuts. Jackfruit is, commonly available in most Asian markets. It is very straightforward with a good, not quite crispy surface, and the gentle taste of pineapple and a slightly characteristic musky in taste.
Huge and thorny on the outside, Jackfruit is the “porcupine” of the vegetable world. Once a jackfruit is cracked open, what you will find inside are pods or “bulb”. Regularly referred to as seeds, these bulbs are actually, kinds of fleshy covering over the true seeds or pits, which are round and dark like chesnuts. The fleshy part can be eaten, or cut up and cooked. When immature, it is amazingly similar in grain to chicken, making jackfruit is an excellent vegetarian substitute for meat. In fact, jackfruit is sometimes referred to as “vegetable meat”.
The interior of jackfruit is golden and creamy looking, with each pod or bulbs dotted with large black seeds. The pods or bulbs, which are actually coverings for the dark seeds, can be eaten fresh, roasted, or used as a cooking ingredient. Unripe or “green” jackfruit (unripe it is still beige, white, or golden) is often called “vegetable meat” for its chewy texture and mild flavor. Jackfruit seeds can be roasted or boiled, like chestnuts. Some people leave the seeds inside the bulbs and cook the two together.