I am not sure of the origins of this dish but it is possibly from Bihar or Bengal in India. I have only eaten this in my house during my childhood in Calcutta. This dish was a novelty breakfast dish, even for our highly foodie household! We ate this after having feasted on Biryani the night before. Khatta Bhaat means “Tangy Rice”. Bhaat is a Bengali word, so it may point to the origins of this dish. Only leftover rice of the Biryani is used. Dried red chillies, sliced garlic and onions are sauteed in a pan. The red chillies have to get dark and release a smoky aroma.
Add the rice, yogurt and tamarind at the same time and saute the rice till the grains absorbs the tamarind and yogurt. Taste the rice at this point and add some slices of fresh green chillies if you want to make it spicier. As this is a breakfast dish, maybe go easy on the green chillies!
The rice has a really unusual flavour and takes less than five minutes to prepare. It may not work that well with plain leftover rice but it is still worth a try! I think this recipe was devised to deal with a common biryani “leftover problem”! As usually all the meat in the biryani was consumed the night before and all that was left was rice in the fridge the next morning! We usually ate khatta bhaat with an boiled egg. It is the perfect combination!