Indian Curry/Stew

Chicken Dopiaza-Spicy Chicken Curry With Pearl Onions

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Chicken Dopiaza is a popular indian curry with origins in east india.”Do” in Hindi means two and “piyaz/piaz ” is hindi for onions.So it translates to a chicken dish cooked with twice the normal amounts of onions in a curry or a dish where onions are used two times in the preparation.Wiki tells me that in eastern india particularly in the state of West Bengal which had a lot of muslim travelers then,this dish originated and then got popular in the rest of the country.

The good thing about this curry is that it used simple indian spices and herbs and has a yogurt tomato based sauce in addition to onions.I have used red pearl onions in the curry, you can replace with shallots or even chunks of medium-sized onions.The idea is to use onions in the sauce with as well as include them in the curry on their own.Dont be overwhelmed by the long list of ingredients, these are all easy to find things available in your pantry.The recipe is adapted from here.

Ingredients: [Serves 2]

  • 1 lb chicken ,bone in ,skinned [I used chicken thighs]
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 dry red chillies
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup red pearl onions [or equivalent quantity of shallots or thick sliced onions]
  • 3 medium onions
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic
  • 4 fresh mint leaves
  • 1″fresh ginger shoot
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 5 tbsp oil [mustard/olive /canola]
  • Chopped cilantro [for garnish]

Whole Spices:
  • 6 cloves
  • 8-10 black peppercorns
  • 4 green cardamom pods, cracked open
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
Dry Ground spices:
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder[adjust to taste]
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp dry coriander powder
  • Garam Masala to sprinkle [optional]


  • Soak the dry chillies in half cup water for about 15 minutes.
  • Once soaked, coarsely grind them using a mortar & pestle.
  • Rub chicken pieces with lemon juice,above red chilli paste and 1 tsp salt and set aside for 30 minutes.
  • Peel the pearl onions and set aside.
  • Thinly chop the  onions.
  • Coarsely grind the mint leaves, ginger shoot and garlic cloves.Mix them which beaten yogurt and juice of the onion.Set aside.

  • In a heavy bottomed pot with lid, add the oil and let it come to a smoking point on high heat.Once smoking, reduce the heat, wait for 1 minute and add the pearl onions.Fry the pearl onions for 2-3 minutes until they turn light brown.Drain on a paper towel.
  • In the remaining oil,add the sliced onions along with all the whole spices and cook till onions turn golden brown on medium heat.About 5-8 minutes.
  • Next, add the chopped tomatoes along with turmeric, red chilli and coriander powder.Cook on medium heat till tomatoes become tender and you see oil separating on sides of the pot.About 5 minutes.
  • Add the marinated chicken along with marinade,yogurt mix and stir everything to combine properly.Check the salt at this stage.Adjust if required.
  • Now reduce the heat to low and let the curry cook till the chicken is tender.About 20 minutes for the size of chicken pieces you see in the pictures.
  • When the chicken is tender, add the fried pearl onions & sugar ,mix well, cover again and let simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and sprinkle with garam masala if u like.
  • Serve warm with rice or flatbreads.

  • You can use lamb, mutton or beef for making this curry.Adjust cooking times accordingly.
  • I recommend using bone in and dark meat chicken pieces for this curry because the curry cooks for a long time on slow heat.
Enjoy and Thanks for stopping by!

33 thoughts on “Chicken Dopiaza-Spicy Chicken Curry With Pearl Onions

  1. I’m fully equipped to make this thanks to my Indian neighbor who have been giving me all kinds of spices. πŸ™‚ Your picture is so beautiful (as usual) and it’s almost too painful to watch right now – before going to bed! >_<

  2. LOL ! yeah we Indians no matter how stress full we are, love to sneak in other’s life πŸ˜‰
    Gorgeous looking gravy. I bet it tasted well also

    Hamaree Rasoi

  3. I’ve been craving for some homemade chicken curry. I am so book marking this recipe and trying it out next time I buy some chicken.

  4. Tanviiii… ur tempting me! I’ve got couple of days more before I can start eating non-veg. And this is definitely in the list of non-veg meals I plan to make after Easter. Bring it on! πŸ™‚

  5. This may sound silly but I never knew exactly what dopiaza means so thanks for enlightening me. And I woudl count myself as one of those Indians that prefers a get together at a friend’s then going out for dinner!

  6. did you know I always thought that chicken do piaza means chicken cooked with two onions!! Thanks for sharing this. Love the color of the dish.. making me so hungry. I just pinged my hubby asking me to take me shopping in the evening cause I want to buy chicken πŸ˜› have to try this for sure.

  7. There you go again Tanvi, tempting me with another awesome curry, love the history behind it & adore the sound of your family & cultural personalities. I couldn’t agree more my friend, our family & their interest in us is the threads that tie us all together. I think my next curry dish is definatly going to be a chicken curry, you’ve inspired me… again πŸ™‚

  8. I loved this description of Indian families! Based on how my roommate describes hers…you are spot on accurate! This curry looks absolutely delicious. I love the huge chunks of onion and I bet they get almost sweet from the braising!

  9. “The best thing about Indian families is that everyone from relatives to neighbours to friends have interest in your life.”– and sometimes that can be the worst thing too LOL.
    Gorgeous dish as usual. I’ve never made this one, but I think my hubby would like it. Unfortunately, I’ve never seen pearl onions in the UK. I wonder if shallots would be ok.
    *kisses* HH

  10. great recipe and how true about Indians the hardest questions i get in India is how much do you earn, what did your house cost etc he he hugs

  11. feasting here…Tanvi, chicken dopiyaza is utterly gorgeous and can smell the aroma…
    strangely enough I never tried this one. this is going on in my wish list

    hosting summer coolers

  12. You know what Tanvi? I am convinced me and you are family lol. Why? Because my family always unwantedly takes in interest in everyone’s life LOL. But this chicken curry dish looks amazing girl.

  13. I love the look of this curry. Nick made chicken curry last night, but I have a sudden urge to make this curry with the bag of picklers I have in my pantry. Thanks for sharing, definitely making this one πŸ™‚

  14. ha ha well this is true. I remember reading an article where Indians were ridiculed for trying to know too much personal things about someone when they even meet them for first time. As Indians we do more as a form of politeness, to create a conversation etc but others call it intrusion πŸ˜‰ This is one of my fav chicken thing to make too! Looks great!

  15. yes yes babe soon u will see my entry thank god it is on pacific time! and twice the amount of onions in curry, mum make chicken with more of onions, they taste the best, will have try ur version sounds nam nam! πŸ™‚ i’m sold out for ur last pic!

  16. I just wanted to say thank you for posting this. I like to cook but don’t like spice at all. My husband loves it so I went out of my comfort zone and made this. The aroma alone when making it was wonderful. And he loved the dish. So thank you again!!

  17. I made this over the weekend and it was a HIT ! Planning to make again πŸ™‚ Thanks SO much for sharing this !
    PS : I am in love with those tiny cute little pearl onions.

  18. This recipe looks fab, as does your whole blog.
    I am a huge spice and curry fan, slowly working through a great cook-book I got at Christmas.
    This dopiaza looks great, nice spice mix. I’ve realised since making proper curries from scratch that they are entirely do-able, and also, the difference in taste in a properly crafted mix is worth the effort.
    Love the blog, x

  19. I have a chicken dish on the stove. Wish I read this before.
    Your culture sounds so similar to Turkish culture in terms of people wanting know what is going on and like to get together in big groups. I miss that sometimes, and sometimes I am glad to have a little breathing room here πŸ™‚

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