HYDERABAD: The village of Ankapur in Nizamabad district of Telangana is frequently in the news as one of the model villages in the country. However, to the food lovers, it is known for the delicious country chicken dish which has originated from this place. Ankapur Chicken, a fiery chicken preparation, is now considered one of the signature recipes of Telangana, and its popularity has spread much beyond the Telugu states.
Pedda Rama Goud, a village cook, is credited to have created this dish more than 30 years ago. The chicken gravy prepared by him used to be a must-have on the menus of weddings and other functions in the village. Seeing its popularity, the family started an eating house, and over a period of time, the reputation of his natu kodi koora or country chicken curry spread all over the district. His children, other relatives and even others from the village started setting up outlets selling this delicacy, even beyond the village in various towns of the state including Hyderabad. Now, visitors to places like Nizamabad, Ramagundam or Basar have even started making a detour to Ankapur to taste this dish.
The success of Ankapur Chicken curry seems to be due to its simple ingredients and special marination. Healthy country or desi chicken is used for this preparation, and the bird with skin is first dry roasted on a gas stove, to get a smoky flavour in the dish. After this, the chicken is cut into pieces and marinated in a carefully prepared masala.
This is then cooked in an aluminium utensil for up to an hour with the addition of onion, and some more spices to prepare the dish. The taste comes from balanced spices, especially the freshly ground chillies, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves as well as the pastes of garlic and ginger which are made from local produce. The chicken curry is quite fiery and not for the faint-hearted.
In Hyderabad, a few places have been preparing and promoting this delicacy. Ankapur Chicken, a takeaway and delivery setup which promotes village style cooking of Telangana, delivers these delicacies from their kitchens in Himayatnagar and Bowenpally to almost all areas of the city.
According to Suma Gunthakal who heads Ankapur Chicken, the ingredients and even the chicken are all sourced from Ankapur and its neighbourhood. As per her, the proportion of different spices which go into the masala mix is very important to get the authentic taste. The outlets which operate only for takeaways and home deliveries have a wet and a dry version on their menu. They do not have facilities for in-house dining yet. If you wish to enjoy your Ankapur chicken in a restaurant setting, Ankapur Village near Max Cure Hospital in Hitech City should be your destination.
Sabyasachi is a food explorer and blogs at www.foodaholix.in