The term “kachchi” means raw referring to the biryani ingredients being combined raw in layers instead of first cooking the meat or rice separately. Traditionally, kachchi biryani is cooked in clay oven and the cooking pot is usually sealed with flour dough to allow the biryani to cook in its own steam. The sealed pot is not opened until the biryani is ready to be served. Several years ago when I was just starting as a novice cook, I was told many a times that kachchi biryani cannot be made in conventional oven or it wouldn’t taste as good. However, over the years, through trial and error, I have pretty much perfected the preparation. First time, I kept the biryani in the oven for 3.5 hours worrying about undercooked meat. Now I turn off the oven after 1.5 hours. Also, in my never ending quest to find an easier way, my spin to the recipe is to skip the sealing process with dough and instead just use a lid that perfectly fits the cooking pot; saves time and no sticky fingers and a lot less messy kitchen. The result is still a flavorful, divine kachchi biryani.
2 lb mutton
1 teaspoon ginger paste
2 teaspoon garlic paste
3-4 dry red chili
2-3 stick of cinnamon, half inches each
4-5 green cardamom
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon mace
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
6-8 allspice (optional)
½ teaspoon caraway seed (optional)
3 tablespoon yogurt
¾ cup ghee or butter
5 medium potato
pinch of orange food color (optional)
½ cup onion, thinly sliced
4 cups basmati or kalijeera rice (I use a 160ml cup to measure my rice. Adjust accordingly)
6 cups water
½ cup condensed milk
2 tablespoon milk
pinch of saffron
10-12 alubokhara (pitted prunes)
4 eggs, hard boiled
Salt, according to taste
Steps to prepare the meat:
Sprinkle some salt on the meat and let stand for 15-20 minutes. Wash the meat and drain all water.
Take all the spice from red chili to caraway seed, grind.
Take the pot where biryani will be cooked. Add the meat and yogurt, ground spice mix, garlic and ginger paste and salt. Marinate for anywhere between 30 minutes to overnight(see notes).
Steps to prepare the onion:
Add about 3 tablespoon of butter/ghee on a frying pan on medium heat.
Add very thinly sliced onion and sautee until fragrant and golden brown.
Steps to prepare the potato:
Wash, peel and cut the potato in big chinks. Usually into 3 pieces for a medium Idaho potato.
If using, rub some orange food color to the potato.
Sprinkle some salt.
Fry the potatoes until slightly golden on the same pan used for the onion.
Steps to prepare the rice:
Wash rice and drain all water.
Boil 6 cups of water. Add salt.
Add the rice.
Turn off the stove at the first sight of water boiling again (bubble forming on the water) after adding the rice. Rice will be uncooked at this point.
Drain the rice completely saving the drained hot water in another clean pot.
Steps to assemble the biryani layers and cook:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Add the saffron to the milk.
Add butter/ghee to 1 cup of hot water that was set aside in the rice preparing step.
Add the prepared potatoes on top of the marinated meat.
Sprinkle some fried onion.
Add the alubokhara(prunes), if using.
Add half the water-butter mixture.
Layer in the prepared rice.
Sprinkle the saffron milk.
Make 4-5 indentations from the rice layer through the potato till the meat.
Add the condensed milk through the indentations.
Sprinkle the remaining water-butter mixture.
Sprinkle the remaining fried onion.
Add the remaining hot water in a way that water doesn’t go above the rice layer. You may not need to use all of the hot water.
Cook in the oven for 1.5 hours.
Add the hard boiled eggs.
Serve with salad, kabab and chutney.
Mutton can be substituted with lamb or beef, which will give a slightly different taste.
It’s best to use a cooking pot that has a tightly fitted lid.
The easiest way to grind spices is to use a coffee grinder.
When I first started cooking Kachchi biryani, I marinated the meat overnight. I have cooked it with 30 minutes of marinating with almost the same tenderness. Use your judgment depending on the meat quality and the time you have in hand.
Condensed milk can be substituted by sprinkling ½ cup of milk to the biryani layers and adding 2 tablespoon of sugar to the fried golden onion.
I use a 160ml cup that comes with standard rice cookers in the USA to measure rice. Adjust your rice measurement accordingly.