Monday 1 October 2012

History of Traditional Telugu Food Culture: A new interpretation Dr. G V Purnachand, B.A.M.S.,

History of Traditional Telugu Food Culture:
A new interpretation
Dr. G V Purnachand, B.A.M.S.,

Food is the supplicant of vital energy of life. Every human activity is centered round the food activity which plays the most dominant role in defining the course of life. It is the usual Indian custom to take the food with reverence as divine prasaadam whenever it is served in any form. The Vedic tradition, the earliest phase of Indian culture describes food as a source of cosmic creation. Food is the chief agent of the immortal continuity of all the created. The production and preparation of  food has been in accordance with the cultural concepts of each given race. 

The Telugu classical food culture, rich in its antiquity, possessed qualitative, pure and hygienic food habits. But the ill effects of modern multi-cultural experience, particularly after Globalisation, affected all the spheres of human life, including the food habits leading to a confrontation of perceptions between the hygienic old and hyper sensitive new generations. The Telugu society is not an exception to this experience.

The antiquity of Telugu Language and culture

It is generally believed that the Indus civilization might have sustained up to c.1750 B.C. Evidences are ample to show that, the Dravidians, in other words the proto-Telugu People, inhabited the Lower Godavari and Krishna Basin during the same period. They cultivated and consumed wheat apart from other grains like sorghum etc. They had developed trade relations with Indus valley people and other civilizations. The Fertile Crescent is extended from Mediterranean to China, Via Deccan in South India.
In his great work, “Agro-ecosystems of South India: Nutrient Dynamics, Ecology and Productivity (7th chapter)”, Dr. K R Krishna made a mention to the wheat production by Telugu People in Telugu Land, during the Indus period. Indus type of Ongole ox is a typical example of the antiquity of agriculture by Telugu People. A big sculpture of ox of Indus kind was found in the excavations of Amravati stupa and is preserved in its Museum. Telugu culture of metal age was a rural and agricultural based one, unlike the urban civilization of Indus valley. The Stone Age in South India quietly passed into the Iron Age. This occurred long before the Aryans of North India came into any kind of contact with South India. Tools made with iron of various shapes have been recovered from the graves of this period, which resemble the tools used in the modern period. There is significant literary evidence from the epic Ramayana, that sage viSwamitra along with Rama and Lakshmana reached the Telugu Land, perhaps to acquire the strongest weaponry, as the land could be flourishing with the Iron -weapon making industries of that time. The discovery of iron in this area led to invent the plough, which enhanced the cultivation. Evidences also illustrate the more durable variety of pottery in large quantities which signifies that the people who made it must have attained a considerable degree of civilisation.

The first part of famous work “An Advanced History of India” of R.C. Majumdar, H.C. Raychaudhuri and Kalikinkar Datta  published in 1946, explains: “the Indus Valley people were either Sumerians or Dravidians. These two races might have been identical or different. The Dravidians at one time inhabited the whole of India, including Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan and gradually migrated to Mesopotamia. The fact that Dravidian Language is still spoken by the Brahui People of Baluchistan is taken to lend strength to this view”. The cultural heritage of Sindhus and Dravidians earlier to 1750 B.C. forms a base for Telugu culture. The antiquity of food habits of Telugu people must be studied from this perspective.

F.C. Southworth, Emeritus Professor of South Asian Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania, in his paper, “Proto-Dravidian Agriculture” presented at the 7th ESCA Round Table Conference held at Kyoto in June 2005, identified late Proto-Dravidian with the Southern Neolithic culture in the lower Godavari River basin of Andhra Pradesh, which first appeared in c.2, 500 B.C. His observations are based upon its agricultural vocabulary. He further stated that, the Proto-Dravidian might have been spoken in a wider area, extending up to western Deccan, which is now occupied mainly by the Indo–Aryan languages like Marathi and Hindi. He assumed in agreement with Pro. Bhadriraju Krishna Murty, that the Dravidian loanwords into the late Vedic Sanskrit might be explained as a result of northward expansion of Dravidian speakers from the peninsula. Substantial body of loanwords of Non Indo-Aryan languages, have been identified in the earliest Vedic texts. FBJ Kuiper released a list of more than 350 loan words from Rig-Vedic language. Most famous Skt. words like gaja (elephant), kaarpaasa (cotton), mayuura (peacock), putra (Son), matsya (fish), taaLa (Toddy Tree) were found as loan words in Sanskrit. Michael Witzel and Alexander Lubotsky are also of the same opinion that these loan words are mostly from Dravidian, Munda or proto-Burushaski sources. Togetherness (sahajiivana) or proximity (samiipa vartitva) of Vedic and Dravidian or proto Telugu people could be the prime reason for the loan words in to Sanskrit. Similarly Telugu also received many Sanskrit terms and enriched itself. It is not a simple influence of Sanskrit, but an inevitable social pressure and cultural expansion that contributed to more number of Sanskrit Loans into Telugu. This assumption also proves the antiquity of Telugu language and culture.

Deccan was found to be the safest place for so many Vedic Aryan People, particularly in the early Buddhist period. “Builders, artistes, artisans and craftsmen went South because of the foreign invasions in the North. Trade flourished and Aryans found a welcome home and the immigrants could take shelter in the Andhra Kingdom which stretched from the Bay of Bengal” says Padmini Sathianadhan Sengupta in her work, “Everyday life in ancient India” Published in1950 by Oxford University Press. The process was more accelerated in the Mauryan Period.  Later, Buddhists also concentrated on Andhra region for the same reason, besides the propagation of their own dharma. Jains and others also joined this convoy. The building of chaityas, the worship of sacred trees, and of serpents, that characterized Jainism and Buddhism, shows these cults were only superimposed on the pre-existing religious practices of Telugu land. This might be the probable reason for the earliest aryanisation of Telugu people earlier to other Dravidian tribes. Several Dravidian loan words in Sanskrit language might be due to their interaction with Telugu region only. Most of such loan words might have reached Sanskrit through Prakrit and Pali. Normal diet consisted of fruit, vegetables, grain, dairy products, honey, and meat. Over a period of time, some sections of population duly embraced vegetarianism. This takes the antiquity of Telugu language in general and Telugu food culture in particular, back to the pre-historical period. Agricultural methodology, metallurgical progression, and Technical innovation altogether contributed to Telugu food culture.

The new cooking methods of Telugu food

Though the cooking methods of present day’s north Indian society appear to be a little different, it can safely be assumed that the people of both south and north India of Indus period might have had more or less a similar way of food preparation. As the Indus cities got acquainted to several forms of vegetables and eatable animals, they could have also learnt the system of preparing items like curry (kuura), chutney (pachchaDi) etc that resembled more or less the present day items. There are archeological evidences of the early Sumerians and literary evidences of Rig-Veda which show frying and cooking methods. The Vedic literature mentioned rice, cereals and pulses (maaSha), mug bean ( mudga ) masoor daal(masuura) and green leafy vegetables, fruits, spices such as coriander, turmeric, pepper, cumin, asafetida, cloves, sesame and mustard and cooked varieties like purooDaaSa, apuupa etc. The Indus valley civilization was known to harvest barley, sesame, mustard, chickpeas, masoor, mung, horse gram, dates, pomegranates, apart from rice and wheat. The bones of numerous animals excavated testify the habit of eating cooked flesh of animals such as pigs, sheep, goats, peacocks, horses including cattle animals. They also had the habit of taking various kinds of fishes. The large granaries of Mohenjo-Daro, Harappa and Lothal confirm a sophisticated, aerated, rodent-free storage practice. Our epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata also mention of cooking of rice by Sita and Draupadi respectively. People belonging to the later Vedic period had cooked rice, while the early Dravidian or proto- Telugu people had wheat as their staple food.

The new cooking methods of cuisines prepared with rice, wheat and other grains have been developed by Buddhists, Shaivaits, Vishnavaits, and Jains. Vegetarianism became a common dietary trend in Telugu society. Meat eating might had become a moderate habit by that time. It doesn’t mean that all Telugu speaking people were vegetarians. There had also been Islamic influence over the non vegetarianism of the north Indian and Deccani cuisine from the Delhi sultanate. It was enriched during Mughal period and by the Persian interactions

Early Telugu people of pre historical period and aryanised Telugu people of pre-Mauryan or Mauryan period had eaten wheat as their Staple food. Most of the Telugu food items of good olden days were prepared with aTTa (wheat flour) only. Items like Chakraalu, jantikalu, chekkalu, gavvalu of present day, are a few to mention among the wheat preparations. The prasaadam of Lord Satyanarayana, prepared with wheat powder, reflects an age old traditional contacts of Telugu People with wheat.
Several historians have quoted Xuang Zang, the Chinese chronicler of 7th century AD stating that there were no steaming vessels in India. This statement needs a critical examination and one must confirm it with the original work of Xuang Zang. This traveler visited places like Nagarjuna Konda, Bezawada and Amarawati where he lived for considerable number of years to learn Mahaayaana principle he talked about the Puurva shaila and Avara Shaila theories which justify his close contact with Andhra region. By that time the Andhra country distinguished itself in the knowledge of medicinal preparations too. Then, he must be fully aware of certain utensils used to prepare medicines involving the process of baking (puTapaaka), fermentation (aasava or arishTa) and steaming (arka). The Buddhism regained its glory in Andhra region by the great services of Siddha Nagarjuna who propagated Rasa Sastra, much before the visit of Xuang Zang to India. The rasa aushadhas are otherwise called as vanTa aushadhas in Telugu, as several medicines were prepared using various techniques of vanTa (cooking) techniques. In such context, how could a chronicler like Xuang Zang who exhibited good interest in the cultural life of people write that there were no steaming vessels in India at the time of his visit? Dishes like iddenulu, unDraallu, mandegalu, sukiyalu, nippaTlu, popular among Telugu traditional cuisine are the best examples for the preparation in baking, fermentation or steaming methods.
Staple foods of Telugu people include pearl millet, rice, whole-wheat flour (godhuma pindi or aTTa), and a variety of lentils, especially masoor or toor (kandi), black gram (minumu- urad,) and moong bean. Many Telugu dishes are cooked with vegetable oils while mustard oil is more commonly used in eastern India. Gingili (sesame) oil is common in Telugu land as it gives a fragrant aroma. In the recent past, sunflower and soya bean oil became popular across India. Hydrogenated vegetable oil (vanaspati or dalda) is another popular cooking medium. Ghee or the butter is used frequently, though less than the past.

Eating Habits of Telugu People

Bhavamishra of 15th century wrote a popular medical text Bhavaprakasha, which is considered as one among the three small works, popularly known as laghutrayi. He belonged to former Kalinga country, which comprises the southern parts of present Orissa and the northern parts of coastal Andhra. He therefore dealt with the life style of eastern Deccan which certainly includes Telugu. He made a mention of the healthy habits of taking food items like, kuura, pappu etc., as follows: ghRutapuurvam samashNiyaat kaThinam praaktatoo m Rudu /AnteepunardravaaSi tu balaadroogeena munchati. In this sloka, he advised to take oily and hard items like curry (Kuura), Daal (pappu) etc in the beginning of the principal meal. Later soft items like chutney (pachadi) etc. are to be taken, followed by liquid items like broth or Soar Soup-pulusu, sambaar or liquid item like majjiga pulusu, and in the ending of the meal take butter milk or curd. Desserts also can be had after completing the principal meal. Crisps and pappads, moderately toasted, can also be taken together with any curry or chutney. Telugu people still follow the same manner. He also mentioned the food habits of north- Indian people, at places like Varanasi and other areas. This book further advised to take a grinded mixture of ginger and salt as the foremost item, “bhojanaagree sadaapathyam lavaNaardraka bhakshanam”-as it acts as an appetizer and stimulates the taste buds on the tongue.  He also recommended of having a sweet item at the end (bhojanaante madhurasam). A sweetened “kappuraviDemu” or taambuulam (Meethapaan) in the end of the meal helps to improve appetite. According to the Sruti, one must have finished one’s lunch by noon and night meal by dusk i.e. before 7-00pm –saayam praatar manushyaaNaam aSanau Sruti boodhitam.

Annam is the synonym of Telugu people

Food history of Telugu people begins with annam (the cooked meal). amba and andhas are synonyms of annam in Sanskrit.  Amba means annam. Right hand is called as ambaTi cheyyi as it is used to take food. ambaTi vELa is food time. antha also means annam. People who eat annam might be named as andhas. Apte’s Sanskrit Dictionary mentions annam as a name of a race (Antha). amrutaandhas means the immortal andha race. The Buddhist and Jain records mentioned Andhras as andhas.  In Latin, anthos means “man”. The word Anthropology, the human science derived from this word anthos. Anthos was originated from the Proto Indo European root “anth”, which means a man. So, early Aryans might have called the Andhras with the name andh, denoting a human race. Interestingly, Vietnam was called as Annam until 1940s. Annam means “southwards” in Chinese Language. Since Vietnam was located south of China, it was called as Annam. Similarly Telugus might have also been named so, as they moved to south.

Telugus forgot their original terms buvva and kuuDu, but adopted the Sanskrit term “annam” as a sign of their principal meal. The Telugu people are using this word “annam”, while the Tamilians call their meal “saapaDu”. All the Hindi speaking people used to take Indian bread, which is called as Rotis. They never call meal as annam. Annam is a synonym to Telugu people. Teluguness sounds in calling the food as annam.

The grass kind of grain kooDi denotes sorghum (jonna) in Telugu. Certain Telugu food items like chekooDi, pakooDi contain kooDi which stand for sorghum grain. ChooDi and chooLLu are synonyms of sorghum in Telugu, and kooDi may be the original form of these words. There is another grain by name aaLLu, otherwise popular as kooDa (Millet: Paspalum scrobiculaium L). It is kooradusha, koodrava in Sanskrit and waragu in Tamil. This confirms again that, kooDi, kooDa, chooDi are the ancient Telugu names for certain food grains.

Teluguness in sugar

Sugar has been produced in the Indian subcontinent since ancient times. Sugarcane was a native of tropical South Asia and Southeast Asia. One of the earliest historical references to sugarcane is in Chinese manuscripts dating back to 8th century BC, which mention the fact that the use of sugarcane originated in India. Crystallized sugar was discovered by the time of the Imperial Guptas. Buddhist monks, as they travelled around, carried sugar crystallization methods to China. During the reign of Harsha (606–647 AD.) in Northern India, Indian envoys to Tang China taught them the methods of cultivating sugarcane. Sugar crystals were prepared by cooling the sugar syrup in large flat bowls. In the local Indian language, these crystals were called as khanDa which is the source word of “candy”. In Telugu, sugar is called as panchadaara. I believe that it is a compound word of panchan +daara; panchan meaning a Buddhist monk and daara denoting “a gift”. History proves the Telugu shores as radiating centres for the spread of Buddhism in all parts of the east, and on account of Telugu bhikkus associated with the spread of sugarcane cultivation along with the spread of Buddhism; the word panchadaara might have come to a stay in Telugu. It is a significant point to note, that most of the Coastal Andhra people alone use the word panchadaara, while others use chakkera. It may be assumed that Telugu chakkera, Skt. Sharkara, Arabic Shukkar, and English Sugar might be commonly originated from any Dravidian source as, according to G Bronnikov’s work, Dravidian Etymology, Proto-Telugu cheruk or cher-ak means sugar cane or sugar juice. We can extend our enquiry the about the origin of the word chekkara from proto- Dravidian Source. Also, in the proto- eastern Chadic language “car-k” means a kind of herb. Since it is closer to the proto-Telugu word, those Proto- Telugu people might have started the cultivation of sugar cane first, which might have spread to the other parts of the country later.
Kalidasa, of the 4th century AD., described the sugar cane cultivation of Telugu People (Raghuvamsa, 4thsarga, 20thshloka) “ikshu chhaayaa nishaadi nyastasya goptur guNodayam- The women of Telugu farmers who were guarding their rice crops, taking shelter in the shadow of sugar cane plants sang the songs of welcoming Raghu maharaja, who invaded the Telugu country. This explains the largest harvest of sugar cane by Telugu people and sugar candy manufacturing activity in the early parts of Christian era. It may also be assumed that, Telugu Buddhists might be responsible for sugar exports in those days.

ATTu-exclusively of Telugu People

ATTu means a toasted thin pancake of moderate size. It is now popularly called as dooSa or dosai. It might have originated from a proto- Telugu word “aTT”, meaning “making dry”. aTTamu means a fried or burned food. aTika means a broken pot made of mud used as a pottage pan for the purpose of making aTTu. Telugu people still call the nonstick pan as aTla penamu or penku. penku denotes a broken pot. puutareekulu, a sweetmeat, popular in the Godavari belt are prepared by drying up the thin flour layers on this broken pot, placed on fire. The Telugu aTTu is a little different from dose of Kannadigas and Tamilians. Now the entire world is eating doosai, but Telugus only could preserve their ancient Dravidian term aTTu. One of the important festivals of Telugus is aTlataddi (Attu Eating Festival). Telugu style of aTTu preparation is different. There is a considerable change of taste between the doosai available at hotels of other language speakers and the aTTu prepared in Telugu homes. Shrinatha described both aTTulu and dooSiyalu, which testify the fact that aTTu was different from dooSa even by 15th century. It can therefore be surmised safely that aTTu is specific to Telugu culture.

Chillies changed the Telugu Food Heritage

The food history of Telugu People can be divided into two periods: one is before and the other is after the introduction of chillies into Telugu land. The exact date of this entry of chillies was not known.  Portuguese Traders might have introduced them either in early 16th Century or in the last part of Vijayanagara rule. Chilli peppers originated in Chile, in America. Christopher Columbus discovered America exactly on October 12, 1492. And after the Columbian Exchange, the spread of chilli peppers to Asia was most likely a natural consequence.  Portuguese traders soon realised the trade value of chilli pepper and promoted its commerce in the Asian spice trade routes then dominated by Portuguese and Arab traders. Telugu cultivators were encouraged by these traders to grow more and more chili pepper. Telugu People also showed interest and hugged these spicy items. This was recognised as better alternative to pungent pepper (miriyam), long pepper (pippaLLu), ginger (allamu) etc. Portuguese and Dutch also encouraged Telugu people to prepare mango pickles for export to western countries. Chili pepper made it easier and cheaper to prepare mango pickle like, avakaaya, maagaaya and tokkuDu pacchaDi. The Telugus made several experiments and introduced several forms of pickles. They invented varieties like the one with jaggery, (bellam aavakaya), coriandam (dhaniyaala aavakaya), sesame (nuvvu avakaya) and fenugreek seeds (menti kaaya), all meant for export to west. Usually, most of the Europeans do not like such pungent food items. But it seems somehow they welcomed the Telugu pickles. The foreign traders of this period placed orders for large quantity of pickle packing-. This is how chillies helped the promotion of foreign trade on this land and significantly contributed to its economy, besides making aavakaya, the most favorite food item of Telugu house hold.

The great Karnatic composer Purandaradas (1480-1564) sang of the chilli: “I saw you green, then turning redder as you ripened, nice to look at and tasty in a dish, but too hot if an excess is used. The Savior of the poor, enhancer of good food is difficult even to think of (the deity) Panduranga Vittala,” (see Historical Dictionary of Indian food, by K T Achaya- page no. 43). This reference throws light not only on its entry but its high popularity all over Deccan. .Mariichi is the Sanskrit term for pepper. Pepper is called miryam in Telugu. The pepper fruit “miriyampu kaaya” from which the mirapakaaya is derived which has become a popular spice of modern age. The other synonym of chili pepper is mirchi, more popular in Hindi belt, could be a derivative from mariichi.

Foreign fruits and vegetables on Telugu land

Sri Krishna Devaraya in his classic aamukta maalyada, said “vaanijyamupenchiyeelagaanagun-The king must rule his country by encouraging the trade and commerce”. It was his policy to allow foreign traders both for purchase and selling. Chili pepper, papaya, guavas, tobacco, maize etc. were introduced to Telugu people by Portuguese. The Dutch people brought a sort of orange fruit from their capital Batavia to Palakole of East Godavari district. Now, this Batavian fruit is popular as Battani kaaya in Telugu. Earlier to this, we knew only naarinja kaaya or naaranga kaaya (Citrus Orange fruit). By dropping “n” from naarinja/naaranga, the foreign Traders developed a new name “orange” for sweet citrus fruit. In their broader interest of trade, these foreign traders including the British established their factories at Masulipatam, Nizampatam, Vizagpatam and other port areas. They attracted our formers to grow their fruits and other yield for their overseas trade and more often than not, benefitted largely out of it.

Tiffin-the newly introduced term into Telugu

Tiffin, the Indian English term is originated in British India. The word originated when Indian custom superseded the British practice of an afternoon tea, leading to a new word for the afternoon meal. It is derived from the obsolete English slang “tiffing” which meant taking a little drink or sip. In Telugu, the term was used for snacks being taken between two principal meals-lunch and supper. Much later tiffin was applied to the morning food taken much before lunch, taken as breakfast.  The British officials of Madras Province started relishing the taste of certain alpaahaara items like dosai, idli, vada, puuri, upma, etc which they called as tiffin. But snack items like buundi, chekooDi etc, were not attached to this label.
In other parts of India, such as Mumbai, the word mostly refers to a packed lunch of some sort. Dabba wallahs, sometimes known as tiffin wallahs, are used as a complex courier system to send thousands of lunch boxes by the house wives, to their spouses and/or children working at distant places. The lunchboxes in Mumbai mostly contain rooTis or chapaatis. This may be another reason that items like chapaati or puuri are labeled by Telugu People as tiffin. Tiffin time is a lunch time for Bombay people, whereas snacks time for Telugu people. Food items, other than cooked rice and curries etc., used in a meal, are popular in Telugu land as tiffin, which is a recent development in its cooking history.

Traditional Telugu food items

The great Telugu poet of 15th century, Srinathagives a long list of more than 70 food items with their Telugu names of middle ages in his Sringara Naishadha. These food items were meant for serving to the guests attending swayamvara function of Damayanti.  Some more such names of Telugu food items may be obtained from the literary works of Tenali Ramakrishna, Peddana, and Timmana of Vijayanagara Period. Sri Suravaram Pratapa Reddy in his monumental work “aandhrula saanghika charitra (The Social History of Telugu people), observed that some of these names were confusing, as they were no more in vogue and required the attention of scholars for further examination. More meaningful terms like teemanam was lost in usage, as we use instead majjiga pulusu. The reason is obvious. People are slowly urbanized and a sort of indifference prevailed in their mind towards their mother tongue and culture.
Traditional Telugu food items that are high in their antiquity, rich in their nourishment, and pure in their preparation provide good evidence of Telugu taste from ages. The eating habits of Telugu People are in according to the Ayurvedic Text books namely Charaka Samhita, Susruta Samhita and Vagbhata Samhita of ancient times (bruhatrayi) and Yogaratnakara, BhaavaPrakasha and Basavaraajiiyam of Middle ages (laghutrayi). Pulihoora (tamerind rice), gaarelu (vadai), maDugulu (a kind of Parotas), drabbeDa (traditional fried rice of Telugu style), uurpu (a special soup prepared by frying a vegetable on fire), angaara poolika ( an ancient type of Telugu butter naan-prepared in tandoori method) paala kaayalu (a sort of sweet item prepared with the cream of milk, that helps to develop good vision among the children who are mostly exposed to computer monitors and television screens)are the best examples of traditional Telugu food items. Let us examine a few examples:

DrabbeDa- was mentioned by Tenali Ramakrishna (16th century) –oka konni drabbeDa loka konni taalimpu loka konni vidhamula yorracheerulu. In this passage he mentioned about drabbeDalu as a special cuisine to be served in the principal meal. But the commentators failed to decipher what really drabbeDa meant. In Sanskrit Maha Bhagavata, we come across a word-sthaalii puriisha in the passage: kaNa piNyaaka phaliikaraNa kalmaaSha sthaalii puriiShaadii naamRuta vadabhyavaharati (Skt. Bhag. 5.9.11), where sthaalii puriiSha means sthaalii lagnam dagdhaannam, a much deeply roasted rice layer stuck inside the bottom of the cooking pot, which  should not be eaten as it would lead to cancer. This passage is in the context of JaDabharata’s life. Potana in his Telugu Bhagavatam translated `sthaalee pureesha` as “maaDu drabbeDa”. uuka tavuDu telikapinDi poTTu maaDudrabbeDa yaadigaa gala dravyambula yandu namrutambu pagidi ruche cheesi bhakShinchuchu (5.1.128)…it means jaDabharata lived by eating the husk, bran, oil cake (the stuff of sesame seeds that remains after the oil was pressed out ) and maaDu drabbeDa, a deeply roasted layer of rice. If spices and vegetables are added to the cooked rice and fried moderately, we will get the delicious drabbeDa, which equals to `fried rice’of present day. DrabbeDawas a popular traditional Telugu food item, a special variety of rice by 15th Century.

maDugulu-also known as maDagulu, maNugulu, or maDatalu was a traditional cuisine mentioned by various writers of middle ages. maDagu in classical Telugu means compromise or surrender. maData means a fold or a folding.  As far as preparation of a rooTiis concerned, folding ads to its taste .Folding the wheat-layer twice is daupaati, three times is tripaati and four times is chapaati. In each time of the folding, oil and dry powder are added. They increase the taste. The difference between a pulka and a chapaati lie in its folding only. maDugulu or maDatalu contain many foldings. paalagujju (cream of the milk) is applied after baking the maDatalu, which equals butter naan or parooTa of present day.

Angaara poolika-a mudda or a wheat-ball is to be prepared and placed on burning coal. After the upper layer of the ball is roasted, it has to be taken out, and the blackened crusts are to be peeled off. The core part of the ball appears like a white flower.  Hence, Srinaatha of 15thcentury described it as angara puuviya. This can be prepared either as a sweet or a salt item and can be taken along with soup or sweetened milk. This is a good example of the indigenous tandoori method developed by Telugu People


The present paper is to give only a brief sketch of the traditional Telugu cuisine and its history. It is one of the neglected areas of historical study. In fact, history extends to all important spheres of human activity and food history is also a branch of history like political history or social history or economic history. The food history of Telugus therefore demands a justified focus of research in order to present the Telugu culture in its comprehensive form.

No comments:

Post a Comment