The other day we along with some friends visited a newly opened café on Eldams Road for lunch. The quality of the stuff served left much to be desired but what came as a surprise was the assumption that generally people from Andhra preferred a liberal amount of chillies added to what ever dish that was prepared. I should confess that the sight of the “thali” with small cups of side dishes neatly placed around a large portion of rice did make my mouth water but once I dug into the food my eyes began to water and I was gulping glasses of it with spoonfuls of sugar added.
My act seemed to have surprised one of my friends who observed, “Don’t you Andhras eat a lot of “hot” food ? You people make such lovely Mango pickle which looks very appetizing with its rich colour.”
The restaurant in charge came out with a different explanation for using plenty of chilies in their cooking, “Our customers who are generally youngsters prefer “hot’’ food and we try to cater to this segment.”
I found Madras has not only changed its name but among the several changes that I perceived in the four decades of my stay here, the number of hotels/restaurants that have multiplied, uniformly cater to the tastes of younger generation. Chennai is known for its three seasons, hot, hotter and hottest and the epithet seems to apply to its food as well!
Now I am wondering whether it is Andhras who use more chilies in their cooking or it is the Chennaites ?
n.meera raghavendra rao