Madugula halwa, a humble dish from a nondescript village called Madugula, located 70 km from Visakhapatnam, elbowed out 49 other dishes in the race to emerge as the signature dish of Andhra Pradesh, here on Wednesday.
Subhashini, who whipped up a storm with this wheat milk dish, emerged winner and was crowned the Master Chef of Andhra Pradesh, at a grand finale of ‘Our State Our Taste’, a cookery contest organised by The Hindu in association with AP Tourism department.
As part of a quest to identify the signature dish of Andhra Pradesh, the newspaper organisation and the Tourism wing embarked on a delicious three-month long culinary journey categorised in three stages.
Ulava charu (horse gram lentil soup), yet another humble delicacy of the soil cooked by S. Renuka Devi, was adjudged the second best while the traditional tangy chepala pulusu (fish gravy) by B.V. Devi, came third.
The winner Ms. Subhashini bagged a cash prize of ₹2.5 lakh and gifts worth Rs. 1 lakh, the first runner-up Ms. Renuka Devi received a cash prize of ₹1.5 lakh and gifts worth ₹50,000 and the second runner-up Ms. Devi got a cash prize of ₹1 lakh and gifts worth ₹25,000.
Major Irrigation Minister Devineni Umamaheswa Rao, who announced the names of the winners amidst loud applause, said the enchanting culinary drive was in line with Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu’s aspiration to create platforms where people of all sections, from cities and villages, can partake in the development process.
He said ‘Our State Our Taste’ was a first of its kind competition which engaged an entire team of organisers for three months in a culinary journey that saw 1.5 lakh people of the State becoming part of it.
The Minister suggested that the names and addresses of the winners could be uploaded in the AP Tourism website so people could utilise their services.
Stating that it was not easy to surmount a cooking challenge, he said the winners had brought recognition to the dishes they had prepared.
Andhra Pradesh is known for its rich food, he said, adding: “Be it our gongura, ulava charu or mudda pappu. The fact that in some of the weddings, as many as 150 dishes are served to the guests reflects people’s growing interest in food,” he said.
Culture and tradition
Secretary, Tourism and Culture, Mukesh Kumar Meena, said food represents the society, the culture and the tradition of a land. He said there was a need to propagate about the 50 local dishes identified through the public-voting mode.
Director of Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation Himanshu Shukla and others were present.