Being married to an Andhrite, assisting my mother-in-law, a solicitor of recipes.. I conclude thus: One needs a passion for the picante to love Andhra food. Although there are many ways of cooking a simple subzi or curry as there are homes in Andhra, no dish is without braised chillies. By braised, I mean chopped chillies are fried along with diced onions before stewing them in the vegetable, dal, or meat in question.
This brings us to TALIMPU, a.k.a. bagar, an imperative step to give Andhra food its pungent punch! The trifecta of ingredients: onions, green chillies and curry leaves means you can make almost any dish taste from there. Chillies are cut in rings or slit in 4 and thrown in a well of hot oil that’s been spluttering with a tablespoon of TALIMPU GINJALU (mixture of mustard seeds, split urad dal, split gram dal, and cumin). The chillies have to be fried well before you add the onions and curry leaves. When cooking meats, substitute the GINJALU (seeds) with a small cinnamon or caccia stick.
So, ever wondered why Andhra food is smacked with fieriness? Thanks to karam podi (Andhra chilly powder) on top of braised green chillies!
Check out the recipe for rasam.