If you are asked to name a few signature food items of Dhaka city, Kachchi Biryani will be at the top of the list. For us Bangladeshis, Kachchi Biryani is another name for love. We will never get tired of eating it.
The dish's origins are up for debate, but most food historians agree that the precursor to South Asian biryani first emerged in Persia, probably as an unfussed mix of rice and meat, and travelled to the subcontinent through trade, pilgrimage, and conquest.
In 1610, after the Mughal rulers declared Dhaka as the provincial capital, Mughal subedars and other high officials arrived in Dhaka to manage the administration, and they brought — along with intrigue, grandeur, and tantrums — the biryani.
Back then, it is said, the biryani could be prepared only for members of the ruling family, and that too on special occasions. The cooks came from the west, where the Hyderabadi biryani had only just begun to spread its aroma around India.
Somewhere along the way, though, the Dhaka biryani developed its own characteristics, which set it apart from its Hyderabadi progenitor – and even from the Sindhi, Kozhikode, Kolkata, Lucknow and Tehari offshoots.
The Kachchi Biryani is perhaps the most pleasant and authentic cuisines of Bangladesh. So, what makes Dhakai Kachchi different from other schools of biryani?
The term "Kachchi" came from "Kacha", which means raw, referring to the ingredients being cooked raw and in layers. Layers of meat, rice, and potatoes are infused with delicious blends of aromatic spices to prepare the Dhakai Kachchi Biryani. The key is to get the right balance of spices – not too spicy, not to bland, just right with succulent pieces of meat and potatoes.
We made a list of the best five Kachchi Biryani in Dhaka by considering some special criteria. If we simply rank Kachchi Biriyanis according to their flavours and taste, it will be impossible to stop ranking even after reaching 100 on the list, as Dhaka is buzzing with local and branded stores of Kachchi Biryani that offer not only tasty but also many varieties of the dish, such as Bucket Biryani, Motka Biryani, Dum Biryani, etc.
So, we are considering here only Dhakai-style Kachchi Biryanis and reviewing the famous and trending Kachchi places.
We are only keeping Kachchi Biryanis which are made with Basmati rice on this list. That is why we are skipping some of the amazing ones from the list like Hazi Biryani, Star Kabab, Royal Hotel and Restaurants, Hazi Nanna Biryani, and Fakruddin.
We tasted around 20 Kachchi Biryanis in the city, including in brand shops and local stores. We did not consider the environment of the restaurant and focused on the taste only.
Here are the top five Kachchi Biriyanis which will give you the royal taste under Tk300.
5. Bashmoti Kachchi (Tk260)
Located in Jigatola, this Kachchi house made its place on our list with its aroma and juiciness. The Kachchi has a sweet side to it, which is probably because of using more Kewra essence (screwpine) and mint pest in the mediation. The Kachchi platter comes with Borhani and Firni within Tk260. The Basmati rice is of good quality, and the meat is soft, juicy, and full of flavour. The only drawback was the alu (potato), the most essential part of a Dhakai Kachchi, as it was bland in taste and sweetness, which gives it a vibe of Hyderabadi Biryani. Bashmoti Kachchi deserves 6 out of 10.
4. Sultan's Dine (Tk280)
Sultan's Dine is one of the most popular Kachchi houses in the city and they popularised the trend of setting up Kachchi chains. Many Sultan's fans may get disappointed with our assessment, but we do have our reasons for putting it in number four. We must mention that Sultan's Dine gives the meatiest Kachchi in the town. One may find more meat than rice in the platter. The moisture in the Kachchi is more than that of any other on the list, and this is often a little too much for some people. The spice in the Kachchi also overpowers all other flavours. The rice quality is not that good. One will find most of the Basmati rice broken, which creates the extra moisture in the rice. The potato is very flavoury. It feels a bit oily and heavy after eating at Sultan's Dine, but still it tastes good overall. Sultan's Dine deserves 7.5 out of 10.
3. Kachchi Bhai (Tk240)
Though Kachchi Bhai has recently joined the race, it has already gained immense popularity because of its amazing taste and cheap price. One will find some similarities between the taste of Sultan's Dine and Kachchi Bhai, but the main difference is that Kachchi Bhai's rice is better in terms of quality and the Kachchi is less greasy. Kachchi Bhai deserves 8 out of 10.
2. Grand Nawab (Tk235)
Just like its name, the Kachchi is grand at Grand Nawab. The plate in which the Kachchi is served will definitely give you a royal vibe. From the aroma to the perfect blend of spices, meat, and rice, Grand Nawab will provide a grand experience. If you pair it with their "Badam Sharbat", it will take the experience to another level. The Kachchi is also the most amazing one to look at. Old Dhaka's Grand Nawab has the most flavoury potato among all the places we tried, and meat is so soft and juicy that it falls apart automatically from the bone. Even after being amazing in every aspect, Grand Nawab ranked number two only because the meat is not as flavourful inside as one will expect by looking at it. They use huge pieces of meat, and that might be the reason why the meat does not get infused properly with the spices. But it is definitely one of the best Kachchi Biryanis one will ever experience. Grand Nawab deserves 9 out of 10.
1. Kolkata Kachchi (Tk235)
Kolkata Kachchi has nothing like others on the list. It is a very small roadside Kachchi house with hardly five seats for customers. But what makes it top the list is the taste. The taste is so amazing that one will overlook all other aspects. All the other Kachchi Biryanis we mentioned above are overpowered by a single ingredient or two in their taste. Some have good spices; some top the aroma; and some have wonderful meat. But Kolkata Kachchi is a good blend of all. Whether it is a tender piece of mutton, potato, alubukhara or the rice itself, each spoonful is a divine delight. It is the perfect Kachchi. Aromatic and bursting with flavours, Kolkata Kachchi Biryani is a wholesome meal you should not miss. It is so flavourful but still very light in weight that one can easily finish two plates at once. Located in Satrowza of Old Dhaka, Kolkata Kachchi scores the perfect 10 for us.