DV Home Cooking: Bergen County Resident Spices Up An Indian Favorite

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. -- DV Home Cooking is a new series devoted to readers and their recipes. All we ask is that you're a home cook, not a professional chef. Got a favorite dish you want to share? Send it, along with the story behind it, to

<p>Ridgewood resident Archana Mundhe.</p>

Ridgewood resident Archana Mundhe.

Photo Credit: Submitted
<p>Chicken Biryani</p>

Chicken Biryani

Photo Credit: Submitted

Home Cook: Archana Mundhe, Ridgewood N.J.

I grew up in India eating amazing foods made by my mom. Chicken Biryani was one of my favorite dishes that my mom makes and is now a favorite among my husband and two boys. I cook most of our meals at home and the boys always look forward to it. When I first wanted to introduce Chicken Biryani to my children I was worried it might be too spicy for them. I got the detailed recipe from my mom and then one day I took the plunge and decided to make it myself. 

I was in the flow, imagining my mom next to me and guiding me through the recipe. Soon, the aroma of the dish was gravitating my kids towards the kitchen and I could sense their appetite had been stimulated by this mystical recipe. When I served it, my younger son, who was then only five, absolutely loved it and the entire family took to it with such enthusiasm that now it is a staple dish in our family.

I always layer the spicy chicken with long grained aromatic basmati rice and then top it off with caramelized onions and boiled eggs. When I serve, I only mix in a little at a time; that allows me to adjust the spice level in the chicken for each family member. My older son and my husband love spicy food so they can get more of the chicken that is marinated in spices and lesser rice. For my younger son, it's more rice and fewer spices from the chicken.

It is a great one dish meal that also tastes great the next day. I always make a big batch and we enjoy it for a couple of meals. 

Recipe: Chicken Dum Biryani


  • 2 lbs chicken drumsticks, washed and drained
  • 2 large onions, finely sliced and caramelized
  • 8 cloves
  •  8 black pepper corn
  • 1” cinnamon stick
  • 2 cardamoms
  •  ½ Tbsp ginger paste
  •  ½ Tbsp garlic paste
  •  ½ Tbsp red chili powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • Handful of mint leaves
  •  2 tsp lemon juice
  •  1 cup plain yogurt
  •  2 Tbsp ghee
  •  2 cups Basmati rice
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  •  2 bay leaves
  •  Salt to taste
  •  3 boiled and shelled eggs
  •  2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  •  ½t sp saffron
  •  ½ Tbsp milk


  • Make a fine paste of cloves, pepper corns, cardamom, cinnamon & half of the caramelized onions.
  • Mix the spice paste with red chili powder, turmeric, lemon juice, ginger paste, garlic paste, mint leaves, yogurt and salt.
  • Make three vertical slits on the drumsticks and coat evenly with the above mixture and set aside to marinade in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  • While the chicken is marinating, wash and drain the basmati rice. Add four cups of water to it and let it soak for 20 minutes.
  • Add bay leaves, cumin seeds and salt to the rice bring the rice to boil on high heat
  • Cover the rice and cook for five minutes on low heat. Rice will not be fully cooked.
  • In another large pan, add ghee and cook the marinated chicken until the chicken is almost cooked.
  • Gently pour partially cooked rice over the chicken.
  • Top with remaining caramelized onions, saffron mixed in milk and boiled eggs.
  • Cook covered tightly on lowest heat for 20 minutes.
  • Garnish with cilantro.
  • Serve with Raita (onions and tomatoes mixed in yogurt) and lemon wedge.

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