Thursday, July 16, 2009

Murgh Do Piaza (Chicken In A Fried Onion Sauce)

Dopiaza is a type of Indian curry where meat is cooked with lots of onions. It is especially popular in the southeast Indian city of Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh State. Dopiaza means "two onions," and indicates that onions are added at two times during cooking. A general rule of thumb is that the amount of onions used should be double the amount of meat. Water is not used at all when cooking a Do Piaza.

Dopiaza is made with lamb, chicken or fish. There are also vegetarian versions using okra. It is a great recipe for the onion lovers, absolutely delicious, not spicy hot, but mild and flavorsome.


  • 1 pound Chicken pieces serving size
  • 1 ½ pound onions peeled
  • 1” cube of ginger finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • ½ tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 bay leaves
  • ½ cup yogurt
  • 2 medium tomatoes finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ cup cooking oil / ghee
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice


  • Add red chili, coriander, turmeric, cumin, garam masala powders; yogurt and salt to the chicken and mix well to coat the chicken pieces and keep aside for about an hour.
  • Finely slice 2 onions and roughly chop the rest of the onions.
  • Lightly grease a heavy based sauce pan with 1 tablespoon of oil. Spread half of the chopped onions on the bottom. Add the chicken pieces and layer the rest of the chopped onions on top.
  • Cover pan with a tight fitting lid. Cook for 20-25 minutes on slow fire until the onions are reduced to a pulp and the chicken is tender. At this stage liquid almost dries up. If some liquid is still there cook it on medium heat without lid till liquid evaporates.
  • Heat oil/ghee in another pan. Add bay leaves, sliced onions, ginger and garlic, stirring frequently fry for 8-10 minutes to a crisp golden color.
  • Mix in tomatoes and stir fry until the tomatoes are reduced to a pulp and ghee separates.
  • Stir in chicken and onions. Mix all the ingredients well fry the mixture until it is well browned and a thick onion sauce has formed.
  • Add lemon juice and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
  • Serve hot with Naan or Paratha

Note: Remember, do not add water at any stage or you will ruin the dish. A “Do Piaza” cooks in its own juices.

Do You Know?

There are as many explanations for the name of this delicacy as there are varieties of onions. A legend traces the roots of this delightful dish to the court of the Grand Mughal Emperor Akbar who was inseparable from his favourite courtiers popularly known as the Navratnas or the nine gems. One of them Abul Fazal, a gifted poet, chronicler extraordinary, diplomat and an epicure was nicknamed Mullah Do Piaza and this, we are told, was his favourite dish.

Mullah Abul Fazal came to India from Iran along with Humayoon on his return journey.

It is also said that his home is said to have been an open house of sorts and by dinner time the guests would have crossed the expected numbers. To keep the proceedings smooth, the mullah would clap his hands at interval. This was a sign to the kitchen that onions should be added to the meat curry. In doing this he accidentaly discovered that the proportion of double the onions to the meat was an optimum one.

Thus was born the Do piaza ... It was said that he liked the dish called Do Piaza so much that he called this dish Syed ul Twam or the king of the dishes. He became famous as Mulla Do Piaza, because he never used to accept any body's invitation where Do Piaza was not served.

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