Friday, 29 September 2017

Dhaka Style Kacchi Chicken Biryani Recipe / A Distinct Type Of Chicken Biryani From Dhaka, Bangladesh


Life those days was overflowing with selfless, unadulterated, Shat pratishat shudh desi ghee (100% pure Desi Clarified Butter) type of Love. Two sets of grandparents, two dozen uncles and aunts from both sides and off course the most wonderful parents were showering their love on me and my sister and cousins my age or couple of years elder or younger. Life was all about going to school, studying, playing outdoors and on holidays reading my story books, reciting poems from my favourite Bengali and English poets, going for a ride on Baba's Lambretta Scooter. These Italian scooters were in Vogue those days. Scooters in general was romanticized and made a dream ride when the debonair Hollywood Legend Gregory Peck rode one in the movie "Roman Holiday". Baba being an ardent Gregory Peck fan, having watched all his movies would ditch his Ambassador car for his Lambretta scooter many a times. 


Those were also the days when every afternoon of my summer holidays would be spent under a rattling ceiling fan listening to stories from my paternal grandmother mostly and sometimes grandfather too would join in. Usha Rani Chowdhury ( my paternal grandmother) was all of 16 when she was married off to an engineer working in the gold mines of Burma. For the first time in her young life, the drop dead gorgeous maiden had left her home in Comilla, Bangladesh. Life was no bed of roses as she struggled to adjust to a new life in a foreign country. She was resilient and finally triumphed over her shortcomings and made Burma her home and the people there she loved as her own. This was only until the Second World War forced many Indian families to flee from Burma. 


It was not easy to start all over again this time in Durgapur, West Bengal. India those days was undivided, Bengal was one and therefore people from Bangladesh would come to Kolkata and nearby places in West Bengal from East Bengal (Bangladesh known in those days) in search of livelihood. Through all these trials and turbulences, one thing would give her immense happiness, cooking. Though she learnt and adapted many a dishes from this part of Bengal, she would weave into the family cuisine a vast treasure trove of recipes which she had learnt while growing up in Bangladesh. Though she lived in India after Bangladesh became a separate country, never to return, she could never give up her Bangladeshi Roots. She spoke Bengali with a Bangladeshi dialect, cooked food which was typical to the kind of cooking in Bangladesh and would miss her home and cry secretly many a times. 

Today as we celebrate Navami far away from my roots, all I want to do is relive those days of my childhood and have both my grandparents here with me, by my side. Nostalgia has gripped me in its shackles since last night and nothing that I try to do is helping me break the shakes and set my mind free from those emotions. So in an attempt to bring in some cheer, I decide to cook something which I had learnt from my grandmother. As I confirm the ingredients over the mobile phone from my mother, I start to feel a wee bit better. I am cooking Dhaka Style Kacchi Biryani a dish which I truly enjoyed savouring when grandma cooked. I know I can never bring about that taste , nor infuse the Biryani with those magical flavours, like her, but still I will be cooking this dish as an ode to a wonderful and most loving grandparent. 

The Kacchi in Kacchi Biryani means raw and is pronounced as kach(as in hatch)~chi. Unlike most Biryanis where the meat is fully cooked before being layered with rice, spices, herbs, edible perfumes etc. then put on dum to cook slowly in its own steam, in Kacchi Biryani, the meat is not cooked from before but spread out raw, as the bottom layer of the large saucepan and topped with spices and herbs, covered with 70% cooked Basmati Rice which is perfumed with edible perfumed waters and sprinkled with saffron milk before placing the sauce pan on fire to cook on Dum. This is just another technique of cooking Biryani. The spices used in this Biryani are mostly freshly ground and this is one of the mildest Biryani that I have eaten till now. It is also one of the yummiest without the slightest doubt. So let's take a look at the ingredients. 

Dhaka Style Kacchi Biryani Recipe ~

AUTHOR ~ PIYALI MUTHA
SERVES ~ 4
CUISINE ~ DHAKA, BANGLADESH
TYPE ~ MAIN COURSE, RICE DISH
TIME ~ 1 HOUR PREPARATION + 40 MINUTES COOKING

INGREDIENTS ~

FOR COOKING ~

1 Kg. Chicken on the bone
500 Gm. Basmati Rice
8 Baby Potatoes or medium potatoes cut into 2
1/2 Tsp Shah Jeera, (substitute with Cumin Seeds if not available)
1 Tsp Kabab Chini, Cubeb Pepper (substitute with whole black pepper corns)
2 Bay Leaves 
1 Cup Beresta, Deep fried, sliced onion
1 Tbsp Raisins
1 Tsp Kewra Water, Screw Pine Water (If unavailable, substitute with rose water)
A few Saffron strands
1 Tbsp Khoya or substitute with 1/2 Cup Warm Milk
2 Tbsp Ghee, clarified butter or use oil
Oil for deep frying potatoes and onions

FOR COOKING THE RICE ~

1/2 Tsp Ghee or Oil for boiling rice
1 Tsp Salt for boiling rice

FOR THE MARINADE ~

Juice of 1 Lime
1 Tsp Salt
2 Inch Ginger piece
8 ~10 Garlic cloves
5 Green Cardamom, whole
1 Inch Cinnamon
5 Cloves
3 ~4 Blades of Javitri, Mace
10 Almonds
10 Cashew~nuts
1 Tsp White Pepper, crushed
1 Tsp Red Chilli Powder
2 Tbsp Ghee, clarified butter (use oil alternately)
Salt to taste


Let's Cook Dhaka Style Kacchi Biryani In Easy Steps ~

MARINATE THE CHICKEN

1) Wash the chicken pieces.

** In a large bowl spread out the chicken pieces. Sprinkle salt and add the lime juice. Rub the pieces nicely.
** Cover the bowl with a cling wrap and place inside a refrigerator.

2) In a grinder add ginger, garlic, green cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, mace, almonds and cashew~nuts and using about 1tbsp water grind into a smooth paste.
** Bring the chicken out from the refrigerator. Wash it again. Take a fresh bowl or tray and again spread the chicken pieces on it. Pour the paste over the chicken.
** Pour 1 tbsp oil over the chicken pieces
** Add yogurt.
** Add red chilli powder.
** Add crushed white pepper powder.
** Add salt.
** Rub the chicken pieces nicely with marinade. Again cover with a cling wrap and leave to marinate for 1 hour.

SOAK THE RICE

1) Wash the rice thoroughly under running water. Soak the rice covered with water for 1 hour.


FRY THE POTATOES

1) Peel the potatoes. Wash.  
** Heat oil in a wok or frying pan. Fry the potatoes.
** Once the potatoes change colour, remove them onto a kitchen napkin. Keep aside.

PREPARE BERESTA

1) Slice 2 large onions finely. In the same oil in which you have fried the potatoes fry the onions.
** Fry the onions till golden brown. Remove on to a kitchen napkin and keep aside.

COOK RICE 

1) Drain out the water completely from the soaked rice.
** Take a large sauce pan. Fill more than 1/2 the vessel with water. 
** Add Oil.
** Add Salt.
** Bring the water to a boil. Add Rice. Once the rice is 70% cooked, drain the water from the rice.
** Transfer the rice onto a large plate and spread it out to stop cooking.

SAFFRON WATER READY

1) To get the best colour out of saffron, take 1/2 cup water in a pan. Crush the saffron. Bring to a boil. Remove from the flame.
** To this add the screw pine water, khoya and mix. Add 1/2 Cup of warm Water. Mix into a homogenous liquid.
NOTE ~ If you are using milk here instead of khoya, please do not add the 1/2 cup warm water.

ALL ELEMENTS ARE READY. TIME TO ASSEMBLE AND COOK ON DUM ~

1) Take a large sauce pan. Add 1 Tbsp ghee. Place the marinated chicken pieces to form the bottom layer. Pour any remaining marinade over the chicken pieces.
** Arrange the fried potatoes.
** Spread out the Beresta on top .
** Add Shah Jeera, kabab chini, bay leaves and raisins.

2) Next add the 70% cooked Basmati Rice and spread it evenly on top of the 1st layer. 

3) Slowly spoon over this the saffron liquid mix. 
** The saffron liquid mix should be poured evenly all over the rice.

4) Cover the sauce pan with an Aluminium foil. Place the lid tightly on top. Seal any outlets from which steam might escape. 
** Place the saucepan on the burner. Turn into high and cook on dum for 5 minutes.
** Turn into the lowest flame and let this remain on dum for 20~25 minutes. 
** Remove from the burner, but do not open the lid till it's serving time. Once you open the lid in front of your diners, the aroma that whiffs through the room will awaken the hunger pangs of all .
** Transfer to a serving dish.

Serve with Raita, Chutney, Papad and Salan. I served mine with Sweet Pineapple Chutney, Beetroot Boondi Raita and Pyaaz Ka Salan. It's a mildly spiced, flower packed Biryani which is a powerhouse of taste. I am sure you will love it.






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