Shahi Biryani Kacchi Biryani


Shahi Biryani (Lamb)

The mother of all biryanis! How to make 5-Star quality Biryani!!  You don’t need to go to a five star hotel/restaurant, you can enjoy it at home!  The recipe may seem daunting but the result is a foolproof excellent biryani sure to please.

Source : Wikipedia

  • In a kacchi biryani, layers of raw marinated meat are alternated with layers with wet, pre-soaked, raw rice (which may be treated with different spices as above), and cooked together by baking or medium-to-low direct heat (typically, for at least an hour). Cooking occurs by a process of steaming from the ingredients’ own moisture: the cooking vessel’s lid is sealed (traditionally, with a strip of wheat dough) so that steam cannot escape.
  • A yoghurt-based marinade at the bottom of the cooking pot provides additional flavor and moisture. Potatoes often comprise the bottom-most layer (a technique also used in Iranian cuisine), because, with their natural moisture content, they brown well with less risk of getting burned accidentally. The lid is not opened until the dish is ready to serve.
  • Kacchi biryani is technically much more demanding and time-consuming than pakki biryani, for the following reasons:
  • The different ingredients—meat, rice, potatoes—have different cooking times: tender cuts of meat/chicken can be fully cooked well before the rice is done. To prevent this, many kacchi recipes use parboiled (semi-cooked) rice rather than raw rice.
  • If direct heat is used, there is a risk that the food layer in contact with the vessel bottom may get burned while the interior’s contents are still raw. This risk is minimized by sustained baking with moderate heat, or very slow cooking on low direct heat. This approach, however, increases cooking time considerably.
  • One method is cooking the dish “blind”, with the cooking vessel sealed, so one cannot monitor cooking progress—it takes experience to cook a kacchi biryani just right.

Watch the video for tips and information on making the perfect Kacchi Biryani!

Shahi Biryani / Kacchi Biryani

I Meat

  • 1 Kg. leg and shoulder of mutton
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. yellow color
  • 3” pc. Ginger
  • 15 flakes garlic
  • 5 green chillies, or to taste
  • 1 large bunch coriander leaves
  • 1 ½” x 1 ½” pc. Peeled raw papaya (I sometimes omit this if not available)
  • 2 tsp. white cumin seeds (regular cumin seeds)
  • 8 cloves
  • 6 cardamoms
  • 1” pc. Cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp. black cumin
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg powder
  • 2 blades mace
  • 2 cups beaten curd
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt or to taste
  • 2 tsp. chilli powder or to taste
  1. Clean and cut mutton into large pieces, wash and drain. 
  2. Rub in the salt and keep aside for 15 minutes. 
  3. Drain out the water completely and apply yellow color. 
  4. Powder all the ingredients from cloves to mace.
  5. Mix the masala powder into the mutton and set aside. 
  6. Grind all the ingredients from ginger to white cumin seeds to smooth paste. 
  7. Marinate the mutton for minimum 30 mns. to 1 hour with the ground paste, curd, chilli powder and salt if required.
  8. At this stage the mutton can be pre-prepared and refrigerated overnight.

II Browing Onions and Potatoes

  • 2 cups ghee
  • 6 to 10 large onions  (I have used 10 as I like to use more onion as it does enhance the taste)
  • 6 large potatoes
  • 1/2 tsp. salt or to taste
  • ½ tsp. yellow color
  • 10 boiled eggs (optional)

N.B. Don’t be alarmed by the proportion of ghee, its just for frying the onions just about 1/2 cup will be used for the Biryani.

  1. Slice onions.
  2. Heat ghee and fry till rich brown and crisp.  This process will take about an hour. 
  3. Initially keep the heat high and as it begins browning, lower the heat otherwise the onions could get burnt and impart a bitter taste.
  4. So it is a good idea to start with browning the onions first and as they are frying you can go about preparing the meat, etc. 
  5. Drain the onions and keep aside.
  6. Peel and cut potatoes horizontally into half, wash and drain.
  7. Prick lightly with fork and apply yellow color and pinch of salt.
  8. Fry the potatoes in the same ghee as the onions to light brown. Drain and keep aside. 
  9. Add about ½ cup of the remaining ghee to the marinating mutton, mix.
  10. Boiled eggs are optional.  But as we love the addition of eggs, I have added 10 eggs. 
  11. Boil for 3 minutes, switch off and leave in the water for 10 to 15 minutes minutes. 
  12. Drain the water and shell under running water so it is easy to peel.
  13. Make a slit on one side of the egg and keep aside.

III Rice

  • ½ to 1 kg. Basmati (good quality) Rice (I used 1 kg. rice as we prefer the biryani to have more rice)
  • Sufficient water to cook the rice
  • 6 cloves
  • 4 black cardamoms (use 6 green if you don’t have black on hand)
  • 1/2 “ pc. Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. salt or to taste
  • ½ tsp. black cumin
  • ¼ cup rose water
  • 1 tsp. saffron
  • ½ cup warm milk
  • ¼ tsp. yellow color
  1. Wash and drain the rice. 
  2. Soak for atleast 30 minutes. 
  3. Bring water to a boil and add the cloves, cardamoms, cinnamon, cumin and salt. 
  4. Add rice, cook 5 minutes only, till half done and then drain, but keep aside 1 cup of the drained water. 
  5. Heat, crush and soak saffron in the warm milk. 
  6. Mix the yellow color in the saffron milk. 

IV Assembling the Biryani –

  1. Take a deep thick bottomed vessel wide enough to hold the mutton in a single layer without space in between the mutton pieces. 
  2. Spread the mutton with the marinade at the bottom of the pan. 
  3. Dot with a little of the remaining ghee and arrange the potatoes and boiled eggs alternating with each other over the mutton. 
  4. Sprinkle half the rose water, some of the saffron milk and generously with the fried onions, crushed (save some for garnish). 
  5. Over this place the parboiled rice and press slightly. 
  6. Sprinkle the rice water all over, then the remaining rose water and dot with the saffron milk and pour the remaining milk in the centre. 
  7. Drizzle some of the remaining ghee, if desired. 
  8. Cover and seal the vessel.  Either use dough made of wheat flour and water to seal the edge of the vessel or use silver foil to seal and cover tightly. 
  9. Place the sealed vessel on a high flame for 15 minutes. 
  10. Then transfer to a very hot (450 deg F) oven and cook for 1 hour. 
  11. Alternately, cook on the stove top on very low flame (after the 15 minutes on high) for 1 hour. 
  12. Serve hot with boondi or tomato onion raita.

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