Just hearing the names of delicious Rayalaseema folk dishes like Ragi sankati (Finger millet dumplings), Natu kodi pulusu (country hen curry), Chennuru dum biryani or Rayachoti mutton is enough to make one’s mouth water.
Perhaps it is time that Kadapa’s Kheema chapathi is added to the list.
One tiny eatery in this heart of Andhra Pradesh’s Rayalaseema has popularised this dish for the past several decades. Mehboob Ullah’s Chapathi-Mutton Kheema Point has been serving up the yummy local delicacy for 50 years now, though the eatery does not even have a board.
It’s early evening and Mehboob, the 51-year-old owner and chef, is busy overseeing work at the eatery. His co-worker prepares dozens of chapathis while his uncle places fresh goat’s meat on the hot pan to make the kheema (ground or minced meat).
As the sun goes down, many vehicles are seen halting outside Mehboob’s eatery located right in front the famous NTR statue. There is a steady flow of customers from different walks of life – students, working youth, senior citizens – who come from all over town to savour the lip-smacking Kheema chapathi. Waiting customers watch as the chef adds neatly sliced well-marinated mutton pieces in a concoction of local masalas on the pan and then adds the chapathis.
TNM met with Mehboob and asked him how he came up with the winning combination of chapathi and kheema, and what makes the dish so tasty.
Neatly tossing the chapathis in the juices of the spicy mutton kheema on the pan, Mehboob says, “We have been here since the last 50 years when my father started this eatery. He passed away when I was 20 and I decided to take over.”
Mehboob shares that they use only a few regular ingredients such as chillies and masalas.
He adds, “People like the combination. There was no plan as such, my father just wanted to try something different.”
Served garnished with onions and lemon, the Kheema chapathi is offered at an affordable Rs 50 (half) and Rs 80 (full).
The eatery, which can seat only five people inside, also serves an aromatic mutton soup that is equally popular with customers.
Mehboob says, “We add all the ingredients and cook till the meat turns tender and comes off the bones.”
If you are passing through Kadapa, which has some wonderful tourist spots such as Gandikota Fort and Belum Caves, make sure you stop for a plate or two of this delicious dish.
“This shop is well-known among foodie circles… you can say it is as famous as NTR Circle in Kadapa town,” says Nitya Kumar, a regular customer at the eatery, as he sips his mutton soup.
When asked if business was profitable, Mehboob says with a smile, “Of course, by god’s grace! Sometimes due to heavy rush, we are not able to serve the dish to everyone who comes in.”