Lifestyle Food and Recipes 25 Jul 2021 Exploring the region ...

Exploring the regional flavours of India

Published Jul 26, 2021, 12:18 am IST
Updated Jul 26, 2021, 12:18 am IST
Nellore Chepala Pulusu   By Kailash Gundupalli, Director Culinary, Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre and Hyderabad International Convention Centre
 Nellore Chepala Pulusu By Kailash Gundupalli, Director Culinary, Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre and Hyderabad International Convention Centre

Enjoy simple traditional dishes of various regions of the country. They are not only deeply satiating but each one is a celebration of the culture, traditions and heritage it comes from. Savour an array of flavours from Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Puducherry, Rajasthan and Rampur.   

Nellore Chepala Pulusu
By Kailash Gundupalli, Director Culinary, Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre and Hyderabad International Convention Centre

“Chepala pulusu or fish pulusu is a spicy and tangy popular Andhra Style fish curry, especially in the district of Nellore. The fish pulusu recipe is prepared with freshwater fishes, sesame oil, and ground masala which gives a unique traditional taste and flavour to the dish. It is an inviting treat for seafood lovers and can be a perfect side dish for white rice, appam, dosa, idli, roti, and similar dishes,” says Chef Kailash.


Vegetable oil: 6 tbsp
Mustard seeds: 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds: 1/4 tsp
Fenugreek seeds: 1/4 tsp
Dried red chillies: 3
Curry leaves: 5 sprigs
Garlic: 8 cloves minced
Green chillies: 4
Shallots (small onions): 15-20
Tamarind: Big lemon size
Tomatoes: 6 very ripe
Turmeric powder: 1 tsp
Red chilli powder: 2 tsp
Coriander powder: 3 tsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp
Fresh water fish with bones: 500 gm

For spice powder

Fenugreek seeds: 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds: 2 tsp
Black pepper: 1 tsp


1. Heat 6-8 tbsp of vegetable oil in a pan. Be generous with the oil. Add in the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, dried red chillies and curry leaves. Fry until the curry leaves are crisp.
2. Add in the finely minced garlic, chopped green chillies and finely chopped shallots (small onions). Add green chillies according to your taste. Fry till they are lightly brown. The oil will bubble up if you are using oil. It’s fine.
3. Soak a big lemon size tamarind in 2 cups of water. Let it soak for 20 minutes. Make a pulp by squeezing the tamarind well. Strain the pulp to get rid of the seeds. Set aside.
4. Puree 6 tomatoes in a blender. Set aside.
5. Add in the tomato puree and the tamarind pulp. Add in 1 tsp of turmeric powder, 2 tsp of red chilli powder and 3 tsp of coriander powder. The ratio being 1:2:3. Add in the salt. Add 2 more cups of water.
6. Simmer the gravy for 30 minutes covered on a low flame stirring every 5 minutes once. After 30 minutes the oil would start to float on top. That is a sure sign that the gravy has been cooked.
7. Add in the fish pieces and let it cook for 7-8 minutes on low flame. Fresh water fish works well for this recipe.
8. When the fish is cooking, let’s make a spice powder for the curry. Heat a heavy pan and dry roast fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, mustard seeds and black pepper on a low flame for 5 minutes. Low flame is key. Do not rush. Dry roast until everything starts to pop and starts to brown. Remove from heat and cool on a plate. Once the mixture is cooled, grind to a very fine powder.
9. Add the powder to the pan. Simmer for a minute. Remove off heat and serve hot with rice.


Guntur Kodi Vepudu

By Chef Ganesh Gangoni, Sous Chef, Mercure Hyderabad KCP

“Guntur kodi vepudu is a spicy chicken fry, having its fiery roots from the famous chilli producing region of Andhra Pradesh — Guntur. Guntur chillies impart distinctive flavour along with the rich red colour to the dish. Its popular to arid and dry climate of the state and has a peculiar sharp spice notes which is not only fiery but has a unique flavour on the palate. The dish is well balanced with poppy seeds paste and is traditionally accompanied with steamed rice that is grown locally,” says Chef Ganesh.


For marination

Ginger garlic paste: 1 tsp
Turmeric: 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Lemon juice: 2 tsp
Guntur red chilli powder: 1/2 tbsp

For cooking
Whole spices: bay leaf: 2 nos, cloves 3-4, green cardamom 3-4 and cinnamon stick ½ inch
Chicken: 1/2 kg
Guntur red chilli powder: 1/2 tbsp
Garam Masala: 1 tsp
Onions medium, finely chopped.
Green chilli, slit: 3
Ginger garlic paste: 1 tsp
Poppy seeds: 1 tbsp


1. Wash chicken and marinate with the ingredients and set aside for at least 1 hour in a refrigerator.
2. Heat oil in a deep pan, sauté the whole spices in the oil for a minute.
3. Add green chilli, onions and salt. Fry till onions turn golden brown evenly.
4. Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for a minute.
5. Add the marinated chicken and fry on a high flame for 2 to 3 mins.
6. Add the rest of the chilli powder and garam masala mix well.
7. Pour enough water to the chicken and mix well.
8. Cover and cook till done.
9. Add the poppy seeds paste, stir well and cook till you get the required consistency.
10. Garnish with curry leaves and coriander. Serve Hot with steamed rice.



Hari Mirch Qeema

By Chef Osama Jalali, The Mughal Plate By Jalalis

“Hari Mirch Qeema is a traditional dish from the kitchens of Rampur Nawab Gharana. I have grown up seeing my grandmother prepare this dish and hence it is very special in my menu of The Mughal Plate By Jalalis,” says Chef Osama.

Serves: 5 portions

Mince of hand pounded lamb: 1 kg
Onion for frying: 1 no
Onions chopped: 2 nos
Turmeric: 1 tsp
Red chilli powder: 1 tsp
Coriander powder: 4 tsp
Green chilli: 250 gm
Pure ghee: 200 gm
Ginger paste: 2 tsp
Garlic paste: 2 tsp
Salt to taste


1. In 250 gm ghee add 1 sliced onion and ginger garlic paste.
2. Sauté it for a minute and add lamb mince.
3. Cook it till it turns brown.
4. Add powdered spices and sauté it again for 5 minutes.
5. Add half a litre of water and leave it on medium flame for 15 minutes till the water is evaporated.  
6. Then cook it on high flame (bhuno) it for few minutes  till ghee raises to the top of the mince.
7. Add 150 ml of water and add green chillies and leave it on very slow heat covered on top for 15 minutes.
8. Served Hot.


Rawa Fry King Fish

By Ravish Mishra, Executive Chef, The Westin Goa

“Seafood is synonymous to the people of Goa and a delicious Goan appetizer of shallow fried king fish marinated with spice powder and coated with semolina has been created with the sole purpose of highlighting local produce and showcasing its diversity. The Rawa Fish Fry recipe can be replicated with any fish but the taste and outcome of this simple yet flavourful dish is mouth-watering. My cooking is mostly inspired from the love-filled dishes that a mother or a wife prepares for her family. In my recipes I have only elevated the flavours with additional ingredients and given it a personal twist,” says Chef Ravish.

Serves: 2 portions


King fish, round cut (40 gms each): 240 gm
Bydagi chilli: 10 Ea
Coconut vinegar: 20 ml
Coriander seeds: 5 gm
Fennel seeds: 5 gm
Clove: 6 Ea
Black pepper: 5 gm
Jaggery: 10 gm
Khus Khus: 20 gm
Ginger paste: 10 gm
Garlic paste: 15 gm
Maggi magic cube: 1 Ea
Salt to taste
Semolina: 150 gm
Refined oil: 60 ml


1. Wash the king fish and marinate it with ginger paste, garlic paste, maggi magic cube and salt. Keep it aside for 10 minutes.
2. Prepare a spice mix by grinding bydagi chili, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cloves, black pepper, khus khus and jaggery. Dilute the mixture with coconut vinegar.
3. Apply the spice mixture on the marinated fish and coat it with the semolina.
4. Heat an iron tawa or pan. Drizzle some oil and place the semolina coated king fish. Pour oil along the edges of all the pieces.  
5. On low medium flame fry one side for about 8- 10 minutes. Flip the piece to fry the other side.
6. Pour oil again along the edges and fry about 10 minutes.
7. Serve hot with lemon wedges.


Mala Meen Khuzhambu

By Chef Narayanmurthi, Chef de Cuisine, Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park

“I used to watch my mother cook so tried out this fish curry and named it after my mother Mala when it turned out to be a success. It’s usually made a day before the actual day of consumption to allow the flavours to really soak and settle in. The dish belongs the Southern part of Tamil Nadu, District of Mannargudi, in a villiage called Alangkottai,” says Chef Narayanmurthi.


Seer fish cubes: 250 gm
Oil: 30 ml
Mustard seeds: 2 gm
Fenugreek seeds: 2 gm
Garlic (chopped): 5 gm
Curry leaves: 2 gm
Onion (chopped): 100 gm
Tomato (chopped): 200 gm
Raw mango (diced): 50 gm
Turmeric powder: 3 gm
Chilli powder: 5 gm
Tamarind pulp: 20 gm

For masala
Coriander seed: 5 gm
Peppercorn: 1 gm
Jeera: 1 gm
Sounf/fennel seeds: 1 gm

For paste
Coconut: 50 gm
Fennel seeds: 1 gm
Onion: 10 gm


1. Heat oil in a pan and add some mustard and fenugreek seeds.             
2. Once mustard pops, add garlic and curry leaves.         
3. Add onions and saute. Now add tomato and salt to taste.
4. Once the tomato gets mashed, add turmeric and the masala powder.     
5. Once mixed, pour in the tamarind pulp.
6. Cook until the raw flavours go away and then add the fish.                
7. Add in the paste and cook until fish is cooked.         
8. Serve hot with steamed rice.                


Mutton Keerai Kozhambu

By Chef Vanaja, Kariappa House, Puducherry

“We grow our own organic greens at our farm so the baby spinach and the fenugreek leaves that are harvested fresh are combined with marinated tender lamb and freshly ground local spices and it all blends together to form a wholesome, homely mutton curry that goes with almost anything…appams, dosas, varagu or rice,” says Chef Vanaja.


Fenugreek leaves chopped (remove the stalks): 1 bunch
Baby spinach (finely chopped): 1 bunch
Dry fenugreek leaves: 1 cup
Chopped fresh coriander
Mutton: 1/2 kg
Tomatoes: 2 chopped
Onions: 3 finely chopped
Cinnamon & cloves whole


1. Make a paste: 3 tsp ginger, garlic and green chilli paste.
2. Grind half a coconut into a smooth paste.
3. Add 3 tsp curry powder and salt to taste.
4. Sauté the greens in 1 tsp oil, the fresh spinach and fenugreek until they become soft. Keep it aside.
5. Heat 4 tsp oil in a pressure cooker, temper with the whole cinnamon and cloves and then add the chopped onion. When the onion is slightly brown, add the ginger/garlic/chilli paste and sauté a about a minute. 6. 6. Marinate the mutton pieces in salt and turmeric for at least 2 hrs. Add raw papaya juice to tenderise (optional).
7. Then add the mutton, curry powder, chopped tomatoes and keep stirring until tomatoes get blended.
8. Add the sautéed greens and stir again.
9. Add salt according to taste. Add water and pressure cook for 10 minutes. After opening the lid, while the mutton is simmering, add the coconut paste and stir it and take it off the flame. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Adding a dash of lime juice is optional. Goes best with rice but can be eaten with chapatis and bread as well.


Lal Maas

By Chef Simran Singh Thapar, Executive Chef, The Leela Palace Udaipur

“Traditionally, Lal Maas was made with game meat, hunted during the royal hunting expeditions. The use of chilli in this dish was to mask the odour of the game meats such as wild boar or deer. With game and hunts becoming forbidden rituals, mutton today is the meat of choice and in fact Rajasthan has one of the quality available. This change in the choice of meat could not change the fiery red Mathania chilli from this recipe and these remained as a reminder of this fiery red curry. Mathania is a small village near Jodhpur, known for these chillies that were originally cultivated to extract and dye the locally produced fine malmal (muslin) cloth. With drop in ground water levels, the chilli cultivation has declined, but not perished. This chili remains sought after as the first choice for Lal Maas,” says Chef Thapar.


For curry

Kashmiri dry red chili, soaked in warm water for an hour: 10 nos
Mutton(leg meat): 500 gm
Natural set yogurt: 1/2 cup
Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
Cumin powder: 1 tsp
Coriander powder: 2 tsp
Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
Ginger garlic paste: 2 tbsp
Ghee (clarified butter): 2 tbsp
Black cardamom: 2 no
Green cardamom: 3 no
Cinnamon stick: 1 inch
Cloves: 3 nos
Bay leaf: 1 no
Onions (finely sliced): 3 nos medium size
Garam masala powder: 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves (chopped for garnish): Few sprigs

For smoking

Wood charcoal: 3 pieces
Ghee: 1 tsp
Cloves: 3 nos


For chili paste

1. Take ½ cup water in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the soaked Kashmiri red chillies and all the dry spices including cumin seeds, black cardamoms, green cardamoms, cinnamon stick, cloves, bay leaf into the water.
2. Let it boil and switch off the flame once the dry red chili becomes soft.
3. Let it cool a bit and then grind the spices into a fine paste in a mixer grinder.

Marinating the mutton

4. In a large mixing bowl, add mutton, yogurt, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, one tablespoon ginger garlic paste and the dry red chilli paste which we prepared in the beginning.
5. Mix everything well and set aside to marinate in the refrigerator for an hour.

Cooking the curry

6. Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed handi. Add sliced onions and sauté till they turn golden in colour.
7. Add the remaining ginger garlic paste and sauté for a minute.
8. Add the marinated mutton to the onions and sauté on high heat for two to three minutes.
9. Add the required salt, cover the pan with a lid and let it cook for 20 to 25 minutes. You can add more water if you want gravy of thin consistency.
10. Once the mutton is cooked, light the piece of charcoal, place it in a small metal bowl and place the bowl in the centre of the pan.
11. Add two to three cloves to the coal, pour some ghee and quickly cover the pan with a lid and set aside for two to three minutes.
12. Remove the charcoal bowl, reheat the curry and add garam masala powder to refresh the flavours. Transfer the contents of the handi into a serving bowl.
13. Serve Rajasthani Lal Maas with steamed rice or baati. It is usually made during special occasions and festivals in Rajasthan.



More From Food and Recipes