This Ugadi feast will satiate your every Telugu festive food craving, and includes non-vegetarian delights!

Dakshin at Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park announced two special Ugadi-themed thalis recently and needless to say, we were there to check out what was on offer…
Vegetarian Ugadi Thali
Vegetarian Ugadi Thali

Ugadi or Yugadi, whatever you may call it, is one of the most cherished festivals in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, and is often characterised by delicious food that families gather to eat together. Like with many South Indian festivals, one often assumes that the festival is defined by a pure vegetarian menu, but across the Kannada and Telugu speaking areas of the country, Ugadi can announce an expansive meal that also features meaty delights.

Dakshin, Chennai’s most-loved South Indian restaurant at Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park announced two special Ugadi-themed thalis recently and needless to say, we were there to check out what was on offer. Ushered into the beautifully Dravidian-architecture inspired interiors our mood was immediately set thanks to the live carnatic music being played at this setting. In no time, we were seated in front of two separate thalis that did absolute justice to everything we’d hoped the promotion would be.

Vegetarian Ugadi <em>Thali</em>
Vegetarian Ugadi Thali

Starting with the vegetarian thali, we were served a traditional panakam (similar to the non-vegetarian curation) and that was immediately followed by a Miriyalu Charu (pepper soup). Akin to the original rasam before we went crazy with it, this peppery broth cleared out our sinuses better than any allopathic over-the-counter medication. This was followed by a Thotakura Garelu (amaranth vadais) that we nibbled on as maincourse was served. The main course consisting of Mulakada Karavepaaku (drumstick and curry leaves) Pulusu, Bendakaya (ladies finger) Thalimpu, Beerakaya (ridge gourd) Iguru, Methi Venkaya (fenugreek and brinjal) Koora, Mavadikaya (raw mango) Pappu and Arattikaya (green banana) Fry was served to us on a thali, paired with Godumalu (wheat) Roti, Pesarattu (dal dosai) and Oorugai Annam (pickled rice). We polished off this spread which was finger-licking good and ended the meal with a triumvirate of Pootharekulu (paper sweets), Gummidikaya (pumpkin) Halwa and Ice Cream — that were a match made in heaven.

Our non-vegetarian thali on the other hand served us a Kodi Charu (chicken soup) to start things of and that was followed by a Konaseema Kodi Vepudu. This thali consisted of Allam Kodi (ginger chicken), Mulakada Mamsam, Chapa (fish) Pulusu, Chammagada (arbi) Vepudu , Bendakaya Majjiga (ladies finger and buttermilk) Pulusu and Tomato Pappu, paired with Godumalu (wheat) Roti, Pesarattu (dal dosai) and Nellore Kodi Biryani. The flavours of the thali were on point and the Chapa Pulusu walked away with our hearts. This thali was followed by small servings of a payasam, a halwa and ice cream — neither of which were particularly imaginative.

We ended our meal with a piping hot filter coffee and promised ourselves to return for a second binge before this delectable promotion ended. If you haven’t planned your Ugadi Gourmet Expedition yet, then head here — you won’t regret it. Our only sore point: we were hoping the dishes presented went beyond delicacies from the Telugu states. Some Kannada representation would have been nice too!

À la carte​. On till March 23. Lunch & Dinner. At Dakshin, Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park.

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