Burst of authentic Andhra flavours at The Hindu’s ‘Our State Our Taste’ cookery contest

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Traditional and authentic flavours remain appealing even in this fast-food era. A burst of authentic Andhra flavours enveloped the auditorium of Manor Plaza, the venue of The Hindu’s ‘Our State Our Taste’ cookery contest’s third leg of the regional rounds for Andhra Pradesh, on Saturday.

The auditorium was chock-a-block with participants drawn from different walks of life, who brought delicacies involving traditional cooking methods. The two judges, celebrity chefs Sanjay Thumma and Raju, walked from one table to the other to taste and judge every item presented by the participants on the basis of the taste, flavour, candidate’s approach to food safety, techniques imparted in the dish-making and presentation skills. The makers of the delicacies patiently waited for their turn as the chefs quizzed the participants about the ingredients used in their dishes and answer a series of their other culinary questions.

Celebrating their culinary talent, the participants rustled up an array of dishes with different textures ranging from crispy, crunchy, smooth and juicy, giving out sweet, salty, sour and even bitter flavours.

K. Vijayalakshmi, a senior nurse in a private nursing home in Machilipatnam, won the hearts of the chefs and also the first prize with her pomfret fish curry made with a gravy of green amaranth leaves.

J. Sivaleela added novelty to her tasty dish by using the traditional Uttareni ( Achyranthes aspera) leaves and stood as the first runner-up. At the same time, V. Rakesh, a hotel management student, was adjudged the second runner-up.

Seetamahalakshmi’s ‘Ganji chaaru’ (Rice starch soup) was the talk of the event. Using very minimal ingredients to rice starch that gives instant energy, she prepared a soup. “This chaaru (soup) is also ideal for stomach problems such as diarrhoea and constipation,” she explained, adding that the dish is best when consumed in summer as rice starch helps overcome dehydration issues. “This needs to be served with hot steaming rice so you get the best taste out of it,” she said with a smile. She was given a consolation prize.

Seetamahalakshmi’s ‘Ganji chaaru’ has come to be a surefire recipe for success as this is not the first time the nourishing soup has won her prize and praise.

Regional Head of The Hindu, Andhra Pradesh G. Srinivasa Rao, Resident Editor Appaji Reddem and representatives of the companies sponsoring the event were present. The event’s grand finale will be held in Vijayawada on January 28.

Gold Winner Cooking Oil was the title sponsor of the event, which was powered by LifeSpice and GRB Ghee, in association with Preethi Zodiac 2.0 and Bambino Pasta.

The textile partner was CMR Shopping Mall, the banking partner was DBS bank, the hygiene partner was Medimix, the housing finance partner was Hinduja Housing Finance, and the telecast partner was ETV. G Square Group was the Realty partner, IOCL was the energy partner, and Vahchef Sanjay Thumma was the knowledge partner.

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