Discovering the Secrets of Bangladeshi Kacchi Biryani

I have a new discovery! Bangladeshi Kacchi Biryani!

While I have declared in this post that I am a biryani addict, and that it was one of the reasons I visited India, I realized this time that there are roads less travelled, food not sampled and culture undiscovered. Here are my initial steps in discovering something new.

What is Kacchi Biryani?

The term Kaachi refers to how the meat and rice are cooked to become biryani (the dish), i.e., the meat and rice are placed in layers and are let cooked in its own steam and served. What is the other type then?  I heard you ask. It is called pakki biryani, and the process is that the meat and the rice are cooked separately and then mixed together near end of cooking. From personal experience in cooking Middle Eastern kabsa, and Indian and Pakistani biryanis, I prefer the pakki way because it is safer for the rice for the following reasons:

Mushy or dry rice

Rice has a tendency to be mushy or dry, as they are dependent on a few factors that include my water-measuring ability for the day and on how aged the rice is.  Rice, when old or new, need different amounts of water.

Varying taste of spices in the rice and meat

Although the cascading colors of the rice in both kacchi and pakki biryani are very interesting, the pakki biryani offers the similar cascading taste. I can feel the tease in my taste buds of the plain white rice versus the spiced taste of the yellowish to orange to brownish rice that is all in one plate in the pakki biryani.

You now wonder: as I was discovering something new, why did I go use the hard way? It was a challenge. I was afraid to goof, but I tried to build the confidence by following instructions from the recipes given to me by my friend and team member in MMK.  You can tell that I did well – in both.  And when one does, she can claim “easy.” However, that is not what I would declare in the dishes I am posting here today. The word would be “heavenly.”

Ingredients of Kacchi biryani

Alright, I did the beef kacchi biryani first. That’s when I fell in love with the taste. Two days later I did the chicken kacchi biryani.  While their spices vary a little, these are the ones common:

  • Green cardamom
    Cinnamon stick
    Cloves
    Mace
    Cumin seeds
    Fennel seeds
    Yogurt
    Ginger paste
    Garlic paste
    Fried onions

Best Way to Cook Bangladeshi Kacchi Biryani

And the magic, at least in this experience of mine for now, is roasting the common spices and grinding them on mortar and pestle. While I roast the spices on the pan, I was given a treat of the wonderful aroma it created. When I was grinding them, the aroma heightens that it filled the kitchen with that glorious smell and I could not wait for the cooked biryani.

Can I use pre-prepared mixed spices for this recipe to skip the roasting and the grinding? Yes. There are readily available mixed spices in the market. From where I am in Saudi Arabia, I can get myself confused with the following names of spices on the shelves of the supermarket:

·         Biryani Masala
·         Garam Masala
·         Hyderabad Biryani Masala
·         Bombay Biryani Masala

And the list goes on.

I honestly did not see Bangladeshi Biryani Masala, much less Bangladeshi Biryani Kaachi Biryani masala. There goes the reason for the use of (and enjoying) the roasting and grinding process. But having said that, there is something heavenly in the old traditional kacchi biryani from Bangladesh.

Kaachi biryani is best when…

The meat has been marinated

This is first and foremost. When a recipe says that we can marinate the meat for at least 30 minutes up to overnight, take that “overnight.” Or the longest you can, rather than the shortest you can. Just like the old saying “anything good is worth waiting for.”

The dish is consumed right on the same day it is cooked.

The same hour for me. Too much waiting otherwise! I was told by a Bangladeshi friend that the dish I just cooked should not wait as it is best eaten while it is hot.

Can I store left-over biryani?

The second time I cooked kacchi biryani (that’s when I used chicken), I decided to leave it overnight. Yes, aside from overnight marinating and I cooked it the following day, I decided to leave it for another night and consumed it the following day. As impatient as I was when I did the beef biryani, this time I was willing to experiment. First, the advice I got: keep it in a tight lid container and in the fridge; put it in an oven-safe dish and heat it in the oven and serve.

Result: equally delicious, but it became a bit dry. Normal? Normal.

My declaration for this new discovery!

So, that’s my new discovery, which is supposedly nothing new, I am just late. There are a lot of recipes and versions of this biryani in the internet and in books, but that would not prevent me from sharing these.  Kacchi biryani – whether beef or chicken – is heavenly delicious! It’s like falling in love the second time around! Huh, take note: I said second time around, rather than another time. That’s for me. My family’s reaction is similar: heaven! However, falling in love, they did not say. Ah, well, they are not as vocal as the cook!

Special utensils used in cooking this recipe

Nothing really special. You can use any traditional casserole dish, a regular ladle for stirring and that is all. Of course, the mortar and pestle, which can be replaced by the mini-grinder, if you have one, and this would make the grinding faster and the result finer. Your choice. I loved the tiny rough feel of the roasted spices in my tongue against the soft feel of the cooked rice.

Enjoy!

Magida

Beef Kacchi Biryani

Course Main Course
Cuisine Bangladesh
Prep Time 1 day 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 5 people
Author Magida

Ingredients

  • kilo beef chunks
  • tsp ginger paste
  • 3 tsp garlic paste
  • 4 dry red chili
  • 2-3 inches stick of cinnamon
  • 8 green cardamom
  • tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp mace
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • cup yogurt
  • 3/4 cup ghee or butter
  • 4 medium potato quartered
  • 3 tbsps orange or yellow food color
  • 1 cup onion thinly sliced
  • 4 cups basmati rice
  • 6 cups water
  • ½ cup milk
  • pinch of saffron
  • 12 pitted prunes
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Wash rice, soak in water for 20 minutes, drain and set aside.
  2. Wash the meat and dry using paper towel.
  3. Dry roast cumin, fennel, coriander seeds, cinnamon, cloves, chili, mace and cardamon, then grind using mortar and pestle or mini chopper.
  4. Add yogurt, ground spice, ginger and garlic paste, salt and meat. Marinate for at least half an hour, preferably overnight.
  5. Soak sliced onion in ¾ the amount of milk and gently fry in ghee until golden brown.
  6. Rub potato with food color. Then fry until half done,
  7. Add the saffron to the remaining milk, set aside.
  8. Layer the following onto a casserole (preferably the one you used to fry the onions): meat, potatoes, fried onion, prunes and rice. Add water and saffron.
  9. Cook on stove for 2 hours, tightly sealed with foil and topped with the casserole cover.

Chicken Kacchi Biryani

Course Main Course
Cuisine Bangladesh
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Author Magida

Ingredients

  • kilo chicken
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 2 tsp garlic paste
  • 4 dry red chili
  • 2-3 inches stick of cinnamon
  • 6 green cardamom
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ½ tsp mace
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • ½ cup ghee or butter
  • 4 medium potato quartered
  • 3 tbsps orange or yellow food color
  • 1 cup onion thinly sliced
  • 4 cups basmati rice
  • 6 cups water
  • ½ cup milk
  • pinch of saffron
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Wash rice, soak in water for 20 minutes, drain and set aside.
  2. Wash chicken and dry using paper towel.
  3. Dry roast cumin, fennel, cinnamon, cloves, chili, mace and cardamon, then grind using mortar and pestle or mini chopper.
  4. Add yogurt, ground spice, ginger and garlic paste, salt and meat. Marinate for half an hour to one hour.
  5. Soak sliced onion in ¾ the amount of milk and gently fry in ghee until golden brown.
  6. Rub potato with food color. Then fry until half done,
  7. Add the saffron to the remaining milk, set aside.
  8. Layer the following onto a casserole (preferably the one you used to fry the onions): meat, potatoes, fried onion, and rice. Add water and saffron.
  9. Cook on stove for 1.5 hours, tightly sealed with foil and topped with the casserole cover.

Join our list

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Powered by Best Social Sharing Plugin for WordPress Easy Social Share Buttons
Send this to a friend