According to the legend the dish was created when a courtier of Mughal emperor Akbar Mullah Do Piaza accidentally added a large quantity of onions to a dish. The dish evolved further in Hyderabad, India, and became a staple of Hyderabadi cuisine.
As many other Hyderabadi dishes, the addition of a sour agent is a key part of dopiaza. Most often, raw mangoes are used; however, lemon juice or cranberries can be used as well.
The simple recipe for Dopiaza is made up of chicken or meat, onions, ginger and garlic paste, whole hot spices (black cardamoms, cloves and peppercorns), salt and chilli powder.
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon ginger, chopped
- 3 hot chilli peppers, chopped
- 3 - 4 tablespoons oil or ghee
- 1 tablespoon coriander
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ - 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 large onions, thinly sliced
- 700 g chicken breast or thighs, boneless, skinless, cut into 2½ cm cubes
- 2 cups chicken stock or water
- pinch saffron, optional
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1½ cups plain yoghurt
- Place the two chopped onions, garlic, ginger and chilli peppers in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Add a little water if necessary.
- Heat the oil or ghee in a heavy-bottomed skillet over a medium heat. Add the coriander, cumin, turmeric and cayenne and stir into the oil to lightly toast, about 30 seconds. Add the onion puree and sauté until cooked through and somewhat reduced, 4 or 5 minutes. Add the sliced onions and sauté over low heat until wilted and lightly browned, another 4 or 5 minutes.
- Stir in the chicken, stock or water, saffron, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 20 - 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and tender.
- Remove from heat and stir in the yoghurt. Adjust seasoning, return to heat and reheat just until the sauce just begins to bubble. Don't allow the dish to boil after adding the yoghurt or it could curdle. Remove from heat and serve.