Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Chicken Dopiaza / Chicken Dopyaza

Before marriage I used to envy a eventless life. Disgusted and tired of my own routines and schedules and studies, I used to think that my lonely time in Abidjan will be rocking. But only after a fortnight all my excitements were lost. The golden mirage of loneliness became a hollow space where I looked for routines and  events, that will make my life busy again. But then I found something that changed me entirely. My cooking, something that I have never thought will become an important part of my life. I tempered and simmered the masalas and I found my happiness in the flavors of my cooked food.

From then I cooked a lot. In short I cooked whatever suited my fancy. Be it British or French or Italian or Indian or Korean....I took no hid towards them. The only thing that mattered most was that I have to keep cooking to have a knowledge of the perfect taste. Because if you don't have a perfect taste...your cooking might go bland..or in one word no-where!! During these period the Mughlai Cuisine caught my attention. I got the recipes of the dishes, which I once savored in restaurants. Cooking them myself, in my home, was a challenge that I took eagerly. Initially they were not so good. But some has already said that "practice makes a man perfect", so here I am...perfecting the tastes and recipes of all those dishes, for which I once cued outside the restaurants.

I can vividly remember when I first had Chicken dopiaza/pyaza. It was a party that my aunt threw over the completion of a complicated property deal. From then on...I have loved the dish. And when I could cook the recipe to the taste that I remembered, I thought it was the time that I should share the recipe.

Chicken dopyaza / dopiaza is said to be a Mughlai dish, which eventually got adapted into Hyderabadi cuisine, and appropriated an important place for itself. It is said that, once a cook in the Mughal court put a lot of onions in a chicken dish. This came to be known as Dopyaza/dopiaza. Dopyaza, literally is a Persian term, which means two onions. There are 3 concepts regarding this dish Dopiaza/dopyaza -

  • This dish uses double the quantity of onions than the quantity used in normal chicken dish.
  • Two types of onions are used in creating this dish.
  • Onion is used in two stages in preparing the dish.

Chicken Dopyaza / Dopiaza
Serves 2

  • 500 gm chicken
  • 1 and 1/2 cup thick yogurt
  • 6 medium onions - sliced
  • 4-5 large cloves of garlic - paste
  • 2 inch ginger stick - paste
  • 2 green chilies - chopped
  • 2 red chilies - chopped
  • 1/4 cup almond paste
  • 2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 and 1/2tsp cumin powder
  • 1 and 1/2tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 7-8 black peppercorns crushed
  • 2 dry red chilies
  • 1 bunch of fresh coriander leaves - chopped
  • some strands of saffron (optional)
  • 1/4 cup ghee/clarified butter (you can use oil also)
  • Heat ghee in a pan and put 3/4th of the sliced onions in it. Sauté until the onions are translucent.
  • When the onions have become translucent add the ginger-garlic paste and sauté until the onions have become golden brown. By the time the raw flavor of garlic will be gone.
  • Now add the chicken pieces and salt. Saute till it starts to release water.
  • Now add the yogurt, chopped green chilies and all the spices, except the garam masala powder. Cover and let the chicken cook. Do not add water, because the chicken pieces and yogurt will release much water to make the meat soft and tender. But, if you are using small amount of chicken, add water when the gravy starts drying. Because, in that case it will not have enough water to cook itself. 
  • When the gravy starts bubbling add the almond paste. Then cover and let it cook. Stir in between, so that the bottom does not burn.
  • Cook in this way, until oil starts to ooze out.
  • Now, in another pan sauté the rest of the onions and dry red chilies in a little oil, and add it to the chicken. At the same time add the chopped coriander leaves and saffron. Mix evenly.
  • Add the garam masala powder.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • Put off the flame and serve hot.

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