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Kacchi Mutton Biryani

Kacchi Mutton Biryani is a delicious rice dish where tender goat or lamb meat pieces are marinated with lots of fried onions, whole spices, fresh herbs and yoghurt. This marinated meat sits on the bottom of the pot topped with half-cooked rice which is drizzled with saffron-infused water and more fried onions and fresh mint leaves. Sealed and slow-cooked in an oven or on stove-top to a delicious aromatic finger-licking biryani that you may serve with some kachumber, salad, and if you are like us, more pappadoms! 
Kacchi Mutton Biryani

2020 is the year I made Kacchi Biryani more number of times than upma! 😁 It all started from the guilt of not making any special dish for Friday lunch which I believe is the gulf norm. Even five years of gulf life failed to make any difference in my Friday routine. But this year is different from my Saudi life... my lovely neighbours started sharing their Friday food very often making me feel bad that I didn't have anything to return the kindness. Though I told them later over a chai that I don't cook elaborate on Friday because it is my weekend too, I resolved to change that and see how it would make me feel. Tada! 

I used to make the Hyderabadi kacchi chicken biryani once in a while during Yanbu days and that is the perfect dish for the likes of me. No long hours of standing in the kitchen and sweating out to whip a meal and then feel fatigued when you sit down to eat that you actually don't enjoy the meal. So Kacchi Biryani is the answer! Makes it even easier if you have a batch of fried onion stocked in the freezer because that is the only elaborate task you will be doing. 

Kacchi Mutton Biryani

Let me share how I make kacchi mutton biryani!

What is kacchi biryani?

Kacchi means 'raw' - When the meat is added raw to the biryani pot, then it is referred to as Kacchi Biryani whereas Pakki is when the completely or partially cooked meat is added to the biryani pot and is sometimes layered.

Which part of mutton is best for kacchi biryani?

I have used the Leg cut and Rump cut both parts of "Raan cut". It is safer to make kacchi biryani with one type of cut so the meat cooks evenly. But you may use a mixture of leg, rump, or chops. If using other cuts that are tough meat like shoulder then marinate longer and cook slower. 


Ingredients for Kacchi Mutton Biryani

  • crispy fried onions: indispensable!
  • mutton or lamb: tender meat cut with or without bones 
  • caraway seeds (shah jeera): must-have but if you can't source shah jeera then use cumin but I the taste will be totally different
  • mace (javitri): optional but recommended. 
  • green cardamom: must add
  • black cardamom: optional but recommended
  • cinnamon stick: must add
  • cloves: must add
  • star anise: optional but highly recommended
  • small bay leaf: must add
  • turmeric powder: adjust 
  • coriander powder: adjust
  • red chilli powder: adjust
  • ginger garlic paste: must add
  • green chillies: adjust
  • thick yoghurt: may use hung curd or greek yoghurt
  • fresh mint leaves: indispensable!
  • fresh coriander leaves: optional
  • oil (from the fried onion, preferably): may use ghee
  • ghee: optional but recommended
  • basmati rice: indispensable! but you may use other types of rice and adjust the par-boiling time accordingly (I cannot help there though)
  • a pinch of saffron strands: optional but recommended
Kacchi Mutton Biryani

How to make kacchi mutton biryani?

  1. marinate the meat
  2. par-boil the rice
  3. dum cook the biryani
Sounds easy? It is that easy even to prepare this biryani. 
  • To marinate the meat, you will need to make some fried onions. If you already have a stash in the freezer then you save even more time! 
  • Then par-boiling the rice takes hardly a few minutes and needs your full attention! 
  • Dum cooking needs no effort from you! 
Did you notice that I have not categorized this recipe to any specific city? It was a deliberate decision because I tread carefully when sharing a regional recipe. This recipe is more a personal flavour choice but the technique of cooking this applies to any kind of kacchi biryani. 

Step by step method of making Kacchi Biryani

Prepare the fried onions by deep-frying in hot oil. Separate the strands of the sliced onions with your hands. Keep the flame low to medium all time, stir in between to fry evenly and fry till you see the onions changing shades for about 4 mins. Remove the onions with a slotted spoon on time before they get burnt. The onions will continue to cook even when you take it out, so remove when you see the golden light brown shade. Spread the fried onions on a paper towel to drain the excess oil (It will become crispy as it cools). Let it cool completely before storing in an airtight box and in the freezer.
Kacchi Mutton Biryani step by step Pics

Make sure you have washed and drained and pat dried the meat completely so avoid excess moisture. Add the mutton and the rest of the marinade items and mix thoroughly with your hand preferably. Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours. Take it out 30 minutes before you start the rice prep.
Kacchi Mutton Biryani step by step Pics

Soak a pinch of saffron in 2 tablespoons of hot water.
Kacchi Mutton Biryani step by step Pics

Boil lot of water in a deep large pot with more salt than usual, green chillies, cardamoms and cloves. 
Kacchi Mutton Biryani step by step Pics

Stir in the drained rice and bring to boil on high flame. 
Kacchi Mutton Biryani step by step Pics

Reduce to medium flame and boil for just about 90 seconds to 2 minutes (30% to 50% cooked) and switch off. 
Kacchi Mutton Biryani step by step Pics

Drain the rice in a colander immediately. Reserve 1/4 cup of water for later. 
Kacchi Mutton Biryani step by step Pics

If making in oven, then preheat the oven at 165c to 170c with rack in level 2. Spread the marinated mutton in a single layer on the bottom of the biryani pot (oven friendly).
Kacchi Mutton Biryani step by step Pics

Spread the drained rice evenly and pour the reserved water all around (in case you feel the rice is almost cooked because you forgot to drain on time, then skip adding the reserved water)
Kacchi Mutton Biryani step by step Pics

Add the fried onions, mint leaves and saffron water (you may squeeze some lemon juice or rose water and a few dollops of ghee for extra flavour)
Kacchi Mutton Biryani step by step Pics

Kacchi Mutton Biryani step by step Pics

Cover and seal the pot with foil and then with the lid.
Kacchi Mutton Biryani step by step Pics
If making on a stove-top, place a heat diffuser (or any flat pan) on low to medium flame and keep the biryani pot over the diffuser. This will ensure even heat distribution and prevent burning of food and dum cook for 1 hour. For the oven, keep it up to 1 hour and 10 mins. 
Kacchi Mutton Biryani step by step Pics

Open and remove the foil - let it cool for 5 minutes before you stir the rice (You may dig and check if the meat is done. If you feel it needs more cooking, then put back in the oven. The residue heat of the oven will be enough to get it done)

Kacchi Mutton Biryani step by step Pics

Serve hot with cold salads, kachumber raita, papadams etc. 

Kacchi Mutton Biryani Recipe

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cooking Time: 90 mins

INGREDIENTS

For crispy fried onions
2 to 3 large onions, sliced finely and strands separated
enough cooking oil to deep fry

Marinate and keep refrigerated overnight 
500gms mutton cut into small pieces (raan cut /leg pieces) (washed, drained and pat dry completely)
Salt to taste
2 teaspoons caraway seeds (shah jeera)
a small piece of mace, crushed
3 green cardamom
1 black cardamom
2-inch cinnamon stick
5 cloves
1 star anise
1 small bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 tablespoon red chilli powder
2 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
2 to 3 green chillies, slit
1/2 cup thick yoghurt
a handful of fresh mint leaves
Fistful of coriander leaves
3/4 cup crispy fried onions
1/4 cup oil (from the fried onion, preferably)

For par-boiling the rice
1 and 1/2 cups basmati rice, washed and soaked in water for 20 to 30 minutes and drained or soak as per packet instructions
6 cups of water
2 cardamom
2 cloves
2 green chillies, slit
1 and 1/2 tablespoon fine salt

Others
a pinch of saffron strands, soaked in 2 tablespoons of hot water
A handful of fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup fried onions
1 tablespoon ghee
1/4 cup water - reserved after parboiling the rice

METHOD

Previous day night,
  • prepare the fried onions batch
  • marinate the mutton
  • soak saffron in water
Next day
  • prepare the rice,
  • assemble and dum cook the biryani 
Prepare the crispy fried onions
  1. Heat enough oil in a wide shallow pan or kadai
  2. Separate the strands of the sliced onions with your hands
  3. Test the oil by dropping one small onion strand, if it sizzles up then you can continue
  4. Drop a handful of onion strands into the hot oil ensuring to spread out and not overlap
  5. Keep the flame low to medium all time, stir in between to fry evenly and fry till you see the onions changing shades (4 mins)
  6. Remove the onions with a slotted spoon on time before they get burnt. The onions will continue to cook even when you take it out, so remove when you see the golden light brown shade.
  7. Spread the fried onions on a paper towel to drain the excess oil (It will become crispy as it cools)
  8. Let it cool completely before storing in an airtight box and in the freezer
Marinate the Mutton/lamb
  1. Make sure you have washed and drained and pat dried the meat completely so avoid excess moisture
  2. Add the mutton and the rest of the marinade items and mix thoroughly with your hand preferably
  3. Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours
  4. Take it out 30 minutes before you start the rice prep
Prepare the Rice
  1. Boil the water in a deep large pot with salt, green chillies, cardamoms and cloves
  2. Stir in the drained rice and bring to boil on high flame
  3. Reduce to medium flame and boil for just about 90 seconds to 2 minutes (30% to 50% cooked) and switch off
  4. Drain the rice in a colander immediately
  5. Reserve 1/4 cup of water for later
Prepare the Kacchi Mutton Biryani Pot
  1. If making in oven, then preheat the oven at 165c to 170c with rack in level 2
  2. Spread the marinated mutton in a single layer on the bottom of the biryani pot (oven friendly)
  3. Spread the drained rice evenly and pour the reserved water all around (in case you feel the rice is almost cooked because you forgot to drain on time, then skip adding the reserved water)
  4. Add the fried onions, mint leaves and saffron water (you may squeeze some lemon juice or rose water and a few dollops of ghee for extra flavour)
  5. Cover and seal the pot with foil and then with the lid
  6. If making on a stove-top, place a heat diffuser (or any flat pan) on low to medium flame and keep the biryani pot over the diffuser. This will ensure even heat distribution and prevent burning of food and dum cook for 1 hour. For the oven, keep it up to 1 hour and 10 mins. 
  7. Open and remove the foil - let it cool for 5 minutes before you stir the rice (You may dig and check if the meat is done. If you feel it needs more cooking, then put back in the oven. The residue heat of the oven will be enough to get it done)
  8. Serve hot with cold salads, kachumber raita, papadams etc. 
NOTES:
  • Crispy fried onions are a must and so should not be skimmed or skipped
  • Make sure the marination is not too runny, so use only thick yoghurt and drain the meat and pat dry before marination
  • Freeze any leftover fried onions in an airtight box for later use

TRIED THIS RECIPE? 

I would love to hear from you. If you have made this recipe then do leave a comment below. If you like this recipe then do share the recipe link on Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Follow me on Instagram and mention @butfirstchaai or tag #butfirstchai so that I can see your creations!

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