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Akhni Biryani: Sylhet and Chattogram's rich, aromatic culinary treasure

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Akhni biryani is one of the culinary treasures of Bangladesh, and it has its roots in the cultural fabric of Sylhet. It is popular in Chattogram as well. It is famous for its elaborate preparation and well-balanced taste combination. This rice dish has a particular position in Bengali cuisine because of its distinctive combination of soft meat and aromatic spices. The secret to this recipe is the slow-cooked method, which allows the meat and rice to absorb the complex flavours of the herbs and creates a filling and satisfying delight.

What is Akhni Biriyani?

The word ‘Akhni’ or ‘Yakhni’ means broth. The meal has a rich and nuanced flavour from this broth, produced by cooking beef with different spices and occasionally adding potatoes and other vegetables.

Sometimes, chicken is also used, though it is different from the traditional way. A deeply seasoned and fragrant biryani is the outcome with flavours of the meat and spices throughout the slow cooking process. The Akhni Biriyani-making process is different in Sylhet and Chattogram. However, the cooking process is similar to Biriyani.

How is it different from other Biriyani?

The main difference is the rice. In regular Biriyani, chinigura rice or basmati rice is used. But in the case of the Akhni Biriyani miniket, rice is used.

Also, the other rice we usually eat daily is used in akhni biriyani. But in Sylheti style, Akhni chinigura rice is used without turmeric. The meat is cut into small sizes.

Another significant difference is that turmeric is used in Akhni Biriyani, and the Biriyani is yellow. This biriyani is spicier than other biriyai as well. The Sylheti version uses small cubes of vegetables like carrots, peas, and chickpeas in the Biriyani.

The prevalence of Akhni Biriyani in Sylhet

One of the best delicacies in Sylhet is akhni. It is ideal for any event, including family gatherings, religious ceremonies, iftar, and Eid lunches and dinners.

In Sylhet, it is a staple. Akhni is cooked in countless restaurants in neighbourhoods across Sylhet. From small roadside restaurants to university canteens to fancy restaurants, Akhni always expresses its dominance across Sylhet.

The ingredients differ from Chattogram-style Akhni, but its cooking method, flavourful rice and meat are comparable to Tehari in Dhaka. 

The recipe calls for the same amount of small-cut meat (beef, mutton, or chicken) and fragrant rice.

The stew has also added sliced carrots, pickles, raisins, and pepper. Once the meat is cooked, soaked rice is added. A generous amount of ghee is added once the rice has been cooked to perfection. 

Some of the best Akhni Biriyani are Sylhet Metro Restaurant, Panshi Restaurant, Pach Bhai Restaurant, and many more. The average price ranges from usually 150-350 taka.

Akhni Biriyani in Chattogram

Chattogram people made their Akhni Biriyani in their own way. Along with mejbani gosht and kala bhuna chonar dal, Akhni Biriyani is popular there. Chattogram-style Akhni looks like khichuri and is spicier than Sylheti. Some best places for having Chattogram-style Akhni or orosh-style Akhni are Biriyani Express, Kitchen Asia, Chattogram Express and other restaurants which serve mejbaani food. They will cost 200-400 taka for one serving of Akhni Biriyani.

Akhni Biriyani in Dhaka

Several restaurant serves Akhni Biriyani in Dhaka. However, in most of these restaurants that serve regional dishes of Chattogram, Akhni Biriyani is usually available there. These restaurant serve the Chattogram version of akhni biriyani.

The Mezbaan Lounge

This restaurant is on Kamal Ataturk Avenue in Banani. They serve a vast number of Bengali food and regional dishes of Chattogram. Akhni Biriyani is one of their speciality. They have two types of premium Akhni Biriyani. Beef Akhni Biriyani will cost 360 taka, and the cost of chicken Akhni Biriyani is 320 taka.

Mezbaan Bari

It is a concern of The Mezbaan Lounge, which serves similar dishes, but the price is reasonable. The beef Akhni will cost 310 taka, and the chicken Akhni will cost only 260 taka.

Mezbaan Dine

It is a premium concern of Mezbaan Bari. Here, the mezbaan special Akhni Biriyani is 360 taka and the chicken one is 320 taka. But it is recommended that you try beef Akhni Biriyani to experience the authentic taste and flavour.

Chattogram Bull

It is an authentic mezbaani restaurant. This place is in Gulshan 2. They make top-notch authentic Akhni Biriyani with balanced spices and oil. They only serve authentic Akhni made with beef.

The price of their special Akhni Biriyani is 460 taka, which can be shared by 2 persons for moderate-level eaters. 

Nawab Chatgaa

If you want to have akhni Biriyani with a group of friends, Nawab Chatga can be a good option. They have three portion sizes for their authentic beef, Akhni Biriyani.

The small portion will cost you 340 taka, the medium portion is 620 taka, and the large portion is 1150 taka. The small size of the Akhni Biriyani place is for one person; the medium can be shared among three people, and the more significant portion can be shared among 5/6 persons.

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