On every weekend afternoon, the village centre of Ankapur in Nizamabad sees people thronging from Hyderabad, the neighbouring Karimnagar and Medak districts.
Ankapur, also known as ‘mini USA’, due to its facilities, is located in Armoor mandal in NH-63, 20 kilometres away from the district headquarters.
The rush of all the vehicles halts at a man who is seen busy preparing masalas or soaking nicely snipped chicken pieces into a well-melted marination of local masalas in a tiny room.
Many feel that a trip to Nizamabad or the nearer Sriram Sagar project is incomplete without tasting the famous Ankapur Chicken. This delicious chicken was also listed in the T-food fest which was organised on the occasion of Telangana formation day at Peoples Plaza Hyderabad.
48-year-old Papa Goud, well known for his culinary art, is the unassuming man behind this Telangana flavour that is touring globally. Though this dish exists since the late 1990’s in Goud’s hotel it only gained fame recently.
Papa Goud says, “I have learnt it from my father Pedda Rama Goud, who used to cook for family functions and marriages in the villages. Now I am taking orders on the phone and keep it ready by the time they arrive in the village.”
When he was asked what makes his cuisine so unique, he holds out packets of local chilli powder and other masalas and says, “I don’t buy anything from supermarkets or use packet stuff. My wife Bhulaxmi or I go to the local market to buy them directly from farmers.”
While adding homemade ginger-garlic paste he says, “Anything we buy in shops is not as fresh, that is why we prefer this.” While adding fresh coriander leaves to the sizzling chicken, he says, “It is a matter of half an hour to 45 minutes, from cutting to heating up the pieces on the stove and mixing the masalas.”
Papa Goud has been offered several jobs in star hotels in Hyderabad but he chooses to live in his village independently rather than work for someone else.
While this is a family recipe, Papa Goud does not believe in patenting the recipe. “Many came to me, worked in my place learnt this and they themselves opened branches. I’m happy this is giving life to many people. Everyone should get a chance, it is unfair to claim rights over it,” he says with a smile.
He interrupts our conversation to point out that the chicken is ready. “Those who have tasted the chicken say ‘mast hain’,” says a regular patron of the shop.
One can combine Papa Goud’s chicken with fresh palm toddy served at the nearby Palm Groves, another of Ankapur’s favourite spots. As another patron picks up his takeaway parcel, he says, “We get the regional flavour of chicken that too at a cheap price.”
Papa Goud proudly says, “Our chicken has even been parcelled to Dubai and Bahrain for the people who want a taste of Telangana spices with jawari roti.”
It is just not the taste that delights his patrons but also the price. The price for a family pack that is cooked with a whole chicken is Rs 500. Separate packs for Rs 120-140 are also available for takeaway.
If it is not possible to go to Ankapur, the Ankapur chicken is also available at other Telangana cities such as Karimnagar, Warangal, Nizamabad. Although the taste might be a tad different from the one Papa Goud lovingly prepares.