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Pepped up with pepper

Savour delicacies served in a true Andhra style at the Kuchipudi restaurant



Enjoy authentic Andhra cuisine in a festive ambience — Photo: K. Ramesh Babu

THERE'S SOMETHING about Kuchipudi Kodi, served — in a true Andhra style — at the specialty restaurant in Fortune Katriya Hotel (Tel: 23325678). The aroma is a major giveaway, and a major secret keeper too. The smell of each ingredient wafts familiarly in the air to tantalise your nostrils but try to figure out what are the various ingredients used, we bet, you cannot. And the chilli paste is not what one grinds at home for the regular chicken curry but a fusion paste developed after a thorough research of a variety of chicken preparations in various Telugu households. And the material to marinate the chicken pieces is something else. Thus arrives the Kuchipudi Kodi with its distinct flavour, and with which you can begin and end your meal.

This is just one of the many delicacies being served at the Kuchipudi restaurant where the Sankranthi food festival is currently on. The buffet comprises, besides the main course , eight salads (including two non-vegetarian), six pachchadis (chutneys) and four to five pickles — "keeping in mind the spice-loving Andhra customer" as Chef Rajarshi Guria puts it. And yes, one has a wide choice of six very local desserts like Bobbatlu, Sunnundalu, Ariselu, and Palapayasam.

There are many firsts to this festival, says Chef Guria. Like "concentrating exclusively on the Andhra region", for instance. For the first time, they are holding a 10-day long festival. Again, the restaurant is serving prawns for the first time "which will be alternated with fish and crabs," he says. And, live music is an added attraction this year. After studying the palate of the local people, the chefs tried many permutations and combinations of the spices to be used in various dishes and arrived at what gives the restaurant its authenticity now. A fact reiterated by Chef Paparao who took care to give a peppery taste to certain dishes, and increase the spiciness of the gunpowders too. Even the soups are given a native flavour — by altering our very own rasam with tangy tomato pulp for the vegetarians and meat stock for the non-vegetarians. Somewhere between a shorba and a thick soup, it has a consistency, which is purely Kuchipudi-ish. While non-vegetarians have a choice of three curries and a rice item, vegans can feast on six vegetarian dishes, a Pulao plus plain rice. Also served: puris, and dosa varieties (including Pesarattu) from the live counter. So, relish your Mirapakayi kodi, Miriyala Kodi, Gongura Mamsam, Aratikayi vepudu, Gutti vankaya, Bathani talimpu, etc., after savouring starters like Kanda/ Kheema vadas, and Mirapakayi bajji. One U.S.P. is ordinary household Andhra vegetables like chikkudukayi, kandagadda and chamadumpa attain an exotic status, thanks to the alluring aroma and the distinct flavour.

A word of advice for staunch non-vegetarians: the fare is going to be purely vegetarian from January 12-14. Nevertheless, you can request for a special non-vegetarian dish to be served from the kitchen.

Make hay while the festival is still on — till January 16, only for dinner.

SHANTI NANISETTI

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