Shaaka Paakam - Vegetarian Culinary Culture of Telugu(Andhra) Draavida Community of South India

Meenakshi Ganti
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The purpose of this book is to present the traditional vegetarian recipes of a specific region in the vast Indian subcontinent and thereby illustrate a part of this vast diversity by focusing on the traditional vegetarian cooking practiced in the state of Andhra Pradesh in South India. There are variations even within this region and the presentation here pertains to a specific region in Northern Andhra Pradesh where our ancestors lived for several centuries.

Indian food is often identified with curry and the menu is standardized into a set of items and marketed worldwide with minor variations. People are increasingly being forced by circumstances to fit themselves into a lifestyle that is dominated by globally marketed menu. Vegetarian food isregarded worldwide as healthy.

In reality, the variety of Indian vegetarian food items alone is as vast as the Subcontinent itself and capturing all its rich diversity in a single book is by no means a simple task. Despite the availability of a gallery of cook books, the absence of a single comprehensive publication on this subject is therefore understandable. One often finds only a broad classification into North- and South-Indian cooking but no further focus on the finer and nicer elements of the vast mosaic of the actual reality.

There is no serious attempt in this book to present the nutritional and medicinal values of the various food materials and their use in recipes in this book. The Encyclopedia of life Support Systems (EOLSS) now available online at may be consulted for such information

Meenakshi Ganti was born in Lingalavalasa, a little village about 30 km from Vizianagaram, in Andhra Pradesh, India on 23 June 1950. She was brought up in Madhya Pradesh. She married Ganti Prasada Rao who served IIT Kharagpur for nearly 30 years as a Professor of Electrical Engineering until 1997. She also lived in Coimbatore in the early 1970s. As a housewife, she has been devoted to serve and raise a large combined family. The Gantis visited England with their children during 1975-76 where Meenakshi worked briefly for Salford Electrical Instruments Co, an affiliate of the General Electric Co in their quality assurance division. They visited Germany during 1982-83 where Meenakshi took German language courses at the Ruhr University Bochum. Over the last ten years she has been traveling widely with her husband visiting several countries, some more than once: Australia, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belgium, China (Peoples Republic of), Denmark, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritius, Morocco, Netherlands, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Tanzania, Thailand, United States of America, etc. She has seen the culinary cultures of many countries in the course of her travels and hosted dinners abroad for foreign guests with her native vegetarian preparations. Meenakshi came to Abu Dhabi in 1992 with her husband, who until 1997 was Technical Advisor to the Water and Electricity Department, Government Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and Professor of Electrical Engineering at Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur until 1997 and presently a member of the UNESCO-EOLSS Joint Committee, which is responsible for the development of the world’s largest encyclopedia- the Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), which was released online ( officially by the UNESCO at the World summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, in September 2002 and has now grown immensely since then. The Gantis have two daughters and a son and three grand children through the former

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