If you like onions, you're in for a treat!
Dopiaza, which translates as ‘two onions’, is a great dish you will find at most South Asian restaurants, and one that is reasonably easy to make at home.
A little more involved than a lot of India and Pakistan’s one-pot recipes, the dish uses multiple textures to allow for a sophisticated mouth feel and clean flavours.
A favourite of restaurant goers, with a little forward planning, Dopiaza isn’t a complicated dish to master, but will be extremely satisfying to make.
Make sure you have a working food processor before you try it out, and prepare yourself for a culinary adventure!
Chicken Dopiaza (serves 4, prep time 15 minutes, cooking time 45 minutes)
- 500g diced chicken
- 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 4 tablespoons tomato puree
- 2 tablespoons plain yoghurt
- 2 cloves garlic, diced or crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1/2 tablespoon fenugreek
- 1/2 tablespoon paprika
- 1/2 tablespoon tumeric
- 1/2 tablespoon ground ginger (or 1 inch fresh ginger sliced or grated)
- Heat the roughly chopped onion in a pan until translucent. Remove and keep to one side.
- Cook the finely diced onion on a medium heat until well cooked.
- Add the spices, stir through for around 45 seconds to cook.
- Add the tomato puree and yoghurt, stir well, add quarter of a cup of water (75ml) and cook for five minutes.
- Take the pan off the heat and let it cool down.
- Once cool, empty the contents into a food processor and blend well, until the mixture is smooth.
- Put the sauce back in the pan and add the chicken, stir well and cook for about 20 minutes or until cooked through.
- Add the roughly chopped onions about 2-3 minutes before the chicken is cooked, stir well.
- Once cooked, serve with rice.
If you like onions, you’re in for a treat with this Dopiaza recipe. Hot and savoury, the dish can be made with any kind of meat, and eschews the conventional flavour profile of South Asian cooking for something a little bit unique.
The modest addition of yoghurt to the sauce gives it a subtle creaminess that juxtaposes nicely with the more rugged elements of the dish.
The tomato puree sweetens the dish just enough to complement the savoury flavour of the onions, without overpowering the already potent combination of onions and spices.
Hot and savoury, the dish is extremely popular with Hyderabadi Muslims, who often add a sour element to the dish, like raw mango, lemon or cranberry.
Hyderabadi cuisine is all about carefully selected ingredient pairing, and extremely specific cooking rules to maximise the consumer’s appreciation of each component. Hence the number of extra steps needed in preparing this dish.
Legend has it that the dish was invented by accident, when a courtier to Mughal emperor Akbar Mullah Do Piaza put a large amount of onions into a dish, and the unique flavour caught on.
This particular recipe is very barebones in terms of its ingredients. Additions can be made, such as okra, green chillies and fresh coriander. But even in its native state, the Dopiaza is a dish that is bursting with flavour.