Mamidikaya mania

The mango festival at Vihar in Rushikond brings to the table traditional dishes from the Andhra cuisine with a tinge of mango

There is not much one could do about Vihar but fall in love with the place. Situated at the foothills of Rushikonda, nestled with greenery, the restaurant faces the vast Bay of Bengal with the watersports den at the forefront. Half an hour drive from the city and there awaits for me an array of dishes cooked to celebrate the king of fruits. The restaurant is hosting a mango festival from May 27 to June 9

Fished out from the rural hamlets of the State, the menu for the festival has dishes from the traditional Andhra cuisine. Coming to the table after several improvisations are dishes that belong to the chef D Jaganathan’s grandmother’s book of recipes. The restaurant has three sitting areas — enclosed sitting beside the bar, a private dining upstairs to avoid the clutters of glasses the bartenders make and the open deck. I chose to sit outside with a view of boats and the open waters of the sea (unlikely for the humid weather of Visakhapatnam, but the sea breeze was as refreshing as the welcome drink). On two tables spread over a layer of mango leaves, accessorised with raw mangoes were 12 dishes cooked to bring out the joy of mangoes.

The menu for the festival can be vaguely divided into curries, pulav and desserts. First on my plate is Mamidikaya Mamsum Pulav (mutton pulav) and Mamidikaya Royyala Iguru (prawn curry). The fork I lift with much enthusiasm to tear into the mutton is voluntarily put down when advised by Seshagiri Mantri , the owner of the restaurant, that Andhra food is best savoured with hand. After taking the first bite of the Mamidikaya Royyala Iguru, I know exactly what the festival was about. The softness of tiny prawns leave a lingering sourness of raw mangoes, whose aroma is hard to miss.

Next on the plate is bright yellow rice topped with fried groundnuts . A morsel of the rice and I am sure of where the magic is done. While the look of it could fool you into believing it is lemon rice, Mamidikaya Pulihora had the right sourness brought in by the raw mangoes.

“The mangoes that have been used are Kolamgova and Pariya, which have been specially sourced for the festival. Both these varieties grow in the hilly terrain of the State,” says Mantri.

The menu that draws inspiration from traditional Andhra cuisine had a variety of rice dishes that were beautifully improvised to incorporate the sourness of raw mangoes. The rice dishes on the menu are Mamidikaya Kodi pulav, Mamidikaya Roila Pulav and Mamidikaya Mamsum Pulav.

One could team these with the variety of curries whose spicy flavours are bordered with a tinge sourness from the mangoes. The curries on the menu are Mamidikaya Pappu, Mamidikaya Chepala Pulusu, Mamidikaya Mamsum Pura, Mamidikaya Kodikora and Mamidikaya Munakaaya Pura. The only fish-based dish in the menu is Mamidikaya Chepala Pulusu, cooked putting together tamarind, tomatoes and lots of Indian spices.

After having a full course meal that had an underlying theme of spicy flavour, my happy tummy demanded for dessert that I had been eyeing for a long time. Then arrives on the table a tall glass of mango dessert that was garnished with cream and a cherry. A cut in the dessert and the bright red strawberry juice used for garnishing the glass rushes in to fill the cuts. A spoonful of the dessert and you are savouring the perfectly blended flavouring of mango and strawberry. All in all, the blissful view and the smartly improvised traditional Andhra dishes can never be enough to fill your soul.

Vihar Rushikonda

Hits: Mamidikaya Roti Pachdi, Mamidikaya Pulihora

Misses: Mango lassi

Price: Rs 500 per person


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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 8:20:30 AM |

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