Andhra Thali To Pulihora: Nellore’s Top 7 Culinary Masterpieces
Image Credit: By PriyaBooks -, CC BY 2.0/Wikimedia Commons

The Andhra stronghold of Nellore is perhaps best-known for its astronomical advancements, being the site of the iconic Sriharikota rocket launching centre. The city is also a draw for religious devotees as it’s brimming with temples, which are a big source of tourism. Additionally, Nellore is a popular destination for food enthusiasts, offering a vast range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian specialties. Being close to the coast, Nellore cuisine abounds in seafood dishes, including the mouthwatering fish dish “chepala pulusu.” Drop by the local joint Nellore Meals to indulge in authentic Nellore chepala pulusu. 

Overall, the food of Nellore is defined by its use of local spices, such as turmeric and tamarind, which imbue the food with a robust flavour as well as a vibrant colour. The city’s coastal location has also contributed to making rice a fixture in traditional Nellore meals, with rice being a prominent element in Nellore’s version of the wholesome Andhra thali. Rice is also served as side dish with various gravy-based dishes here. The tangy and spicy flavours exhibited by the foods of Nellore make them inviting and appetising.

Check out the top 7 culinary gems of Nellore.


Image Credits: By Mkr.lines - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikimedia Commons

A specialty across South India, including in the state of Andhra Pradesh, pulihora is a flavourful tamarind-based rice dish. Like traditional Andhra dishes, pulihora is characterised by its tangy taste, with “puli,” literally translating to sour or tangy. The dish is prepared by cooking rice with tamarind, turmeric, mustard seeds, ginger, green chillies, coriander, and curry leaves. Pulihora also has religious significance; it’s popularly offered as “prasad” in South Indian temples, and cooked in South Indian homes to mark festivals and special events.

Recommendations: Pavani Kitchens

Type: Vegetarian

Cost For Two: ₹200, approx.


Image Credits: By ukanda - Pesarattu and Ginger chutneyUploaded by Diádoco, CC BY 2.0/Wikimedia Commons

Pesarattu is a lip-smacking form of dosa that is savoured across Nellore and Andhra Pradesh as a breakfast or an evening snack item. Made from green gram lentils, also known as moong dal, the dosa batter incorporates ingredients, such as ginger, cumin, and chillies, to infuse the dish with complex flavours. This crispy dosa is typically eaten with a tangy ginger pickle called “alam pachadi.” However, most local establishments serve pesarattu as a meal with ginger chutney and rava upma.

Recommendations: Mr & Mrs Tiffins

Type: Vegetarian

Cost For Two: ₹200, approx.

Andhra Thali

The Andhra thali is an extravagant platter that combines all the abundance of Andhra cuisine onto a single platter. The ornate platter usually comprises authentic South Indian delicacies, including rice, dal, roti, a host of curries, crunchy papad, and one or two sweet dishes. Andhra thalis are typically available in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian variations. The contents of this thali are frequently served on a banana leaf, adding a touch of elegance and novelty to the thali-eating experience.

Recommendations: Murali Krishna70 Restaurant

Type: Vegetarian, Non-Vegetarian

Cost for Two: ₹400, approx.

Chepala Pulusu

Image Credits: By MonishaPerli - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikimedia Commons

A cherished specialty of Nellore, chepala pulusu is made from marinating fresh fish in a tamarind-based gravy. Ingredients, such as chili powder, turmeric, lemon juice, and onions are also used in the preparation of this dish to imbue it with its characteristic sour and spicy flavour. The succulent gravy is traditionally relished with rice; it can also be savoured with flatbreads like dosas and rotis. It makes for a satisfying meal, and is widely featured on lists of must-try seafood delicacies of Nellore.

Recommendations: Nellore Chepala Pulusu

Type: Non-Vegetarian

Cost for Two: ₹150, approx.

Kodi Kura

Image Credits: By Karteeki4u - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikimedia Commons

Kodi kura is an Andhra style chicken curry that’s a staple in households across Nellore. In fact, every household in the city is believed to have its own recipe of this beloved dish. What sets this curry apart from other similar dishes is its use of a roasted spice mix, which comprises spices, including coriander, cumin, poppy, cinnamon, cloves, and black peppercorns. Bursting with hot and fiery flavours, this dish is best savoured with a portion of steamed rice or some rotis.

Recommendations: Kritunga

Type: Non-Vegetarian

Cost for Two: ₹500, approx.

Royaala Iguru

Also known as “prawns fry,” royaala iguru is a simple but delicious stir fry dish. To prepare this delicacy, prawns are cooked in a gravy made from onions, tomatoes, and ginger garlic paste. Spices, including green chillies, red chilli, turmeric, and garam masala are also infused into the curry to lend the dish its signature spice factor. The use of cashews in the gravy also imbues it with a slightly nutty taste. The prawns are typically topped off with fresh coriander leaves, and usually eaten with rice or rotis.

Recommendations: Hotel Pot Fish

Type: Non-Vegetarian

Cost for Two: ₹350, approx.

Malai Kaja

Malai kaja is a delectable delicacy that is believed to have originated in Nellore. Treasured throughout Andhra Pradesh, this exquisite melt-in-the-mouth sweet dish is primarily prepared using maida, ghee, and sugar. Bite-sized kaja pieces are dunked in a sugar syrup before serving, giving them a luscious and indulgent quality, similar to classic gulab jamuns and other sweet pastries. Ubiquitous across Nellore, this dessert can be bought at several sweetshops; it is especially popular during festivals and special occasions, such as weddings.

Recommendations: Muralikrishna Ghee Sweets

Type: Vegetarian

Cost for Two: ₹450, approx.