Bamboo Chicken -A delicacy from Tribal Araku Valley near Vizag
We travel to see new places and sometimes there will be things as you do not expect. It might be getting a good friend, an unheard local story, a touchy folk tune or a traditional cuisine of the locality. This post is about the famous tribal cuisine Bamboo Chicken from Araku valley of Andhra Pradesh.
We were coming back after scaling Jindhagada Peak (1,690 m), the highest peak of Eastern Ghats, and were heading back to Araku town. On the way, there is this beautiful place Chaaparai, 15 km from Araku. There is a perennial water stream flowing through rocks and forest. We saw some guys with stalls displaying bamboo shoots and chicken, we stopped to click pictures. In the bargain, we found the famed Bamboo Chicken in the kiosk decorated with bamboo stalks. After a little bargain, our trek organizer Venkee settled the deal at Rs. 450/- for a plate of Bamboo Chicken Araku, a delicacy hard to find anywhere else; and I was happy to taste it with my tongue and camera.
Bamboo Chicken is a traditional tribal cuisine of Araku Valley Tribals near Vizag, locally known as “Bongulo Chicken”. Bamboo Chicken is cooked inside a piece of green bamboo stalk without oil, making it healthy but delicious. The Bamboo chicken recipe has been passed from one generation to next and most of t he herbs used are found locally giving it a unique taste.
How Bamboo Chicken is made: Bamboo stalks are chopped in such a way that it acts like a deep cylindrical container. Chicken pieces marinated with local herbs and spices are stuffed inside the stalk and the open end is blocked by putting a bunch of plantain like leafs. The arrangement is then placed on open flames made of wood and cooked till the whole bamboo becomes black with cracks on its surface, releasing the aroma making you impatient and urging the cook to hurry up.
Once done the chicken is taken out, and you are lost in the heavenly aroma that is a blend of bamboo, burnt wood, divine herbs and chicken cooked in its own delicate juices. We could hardly wait for the cook to serve it to us and polished the chicken served with a garnishing of lime and onions served on a platter of leaves.
The Bamboo Chicken was yummy and very different from what they usually serve in modern Hyderabad restaurants. So if you want the real taste of Bamboo Chicken, try it in Araku Valley. I don’t think it is available in its true flavor anywhere else.
Araku Valley Tribal Bongulo Chicken Recipe
If you want to make the famous Araku Valley Bamboo Chicken at home then follow these steps:
First, you need to prepare the chicken by cutting it into small pieces and marinating it with the ingredients given below before you stuff it into Bamboo shoot.
Ingredients you will need to make Bamboo / Bongulu Chicken
Chicken skinless – 500 gram.
Salt to taste.
Red chilly powder -1 tsp.
Turmeric powder -1/4 tsp.
Ginger Paste -1tsp.
Garlic paste -1tsp.
Garam masala Powder-1tsp.
Oil- 2 tsp
Chopped onions -2
Chopped Green chilies- As per taste
Chicken masala powder-1 tsp
Once the chicken is marinated, stuff it into the washed hollow bamboo shoots and close the open end with leaves. Put the Bamboo on open flame and keep them rotating every few minutes so that no one side is over cooked. Rotating will also make sure that the bamboo does not burns. Once the chicken is ready you will start to feel the lingering aroma. Take it out and serve it with some lemons and corriander sprinkeling. You can also add more onions and green chillies to make the taste even more fiery.
NOTE: The taste may not be authentic as the tribals use local herbs etc. that may not be available in the city, plus they make the chicken on open wood / coal flames and not on the gas burner.
How to reach Araku Valley: Vizag or Vishakhapatnam is the nearest big town with an airport as well as trains. To reach Araku Valley either you can drive for about 3 hours from Vizag or you can take the small train that leaves early morning from Vizag. But I suggest taking the car if you want to stop en route to try the Bamboo Chicken in Araku Valley.
Where To Stay in Araku Valley: There are few hotels in Araku and your best bet is APTDC Haritha Hotel in Araku Valley, or you can stay in Vizag and make it a day trip. Araku is a popular tourist destination in Andhra Pradesh and it will be a good idea to book a hotel in advance if you plan to stay there overnight.
About Author and Photographer: Somabrata Pramanik has done M.Tech in Computer Science from Indian Statistical Institute, he works with Netelixir as a researcher and software development engineer. He likes visiting historical places, trekking, bouldering and is an avid photographer. Please do check and like his work here on his Facebook page Explore with Somabrata and on Flickr
Other guest posts on desi Traveler by my photographer friends can be seen checked here:
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- Hyderabad Polo and Horse Riding Club
- Kumbh Mela Allahabad
- Ghats of Varanasi On Banks of Holy Ganga
- Trek to Valley Of Flowers
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