Chicken Dopiaza
Chicken Dopiaza
5 from 40 votes
Immerse yourself in a flavourful journey with chicken dopiaza, an exquisite blend of aromatic spices and tender chicken. Discover the art of cooking this time-honoured Indian cuisine, renowned for its mesmerizing layers of flavours.
Chicken Dopiaza

Ladies and gents, allow me to introduce Chicken Dopiaza, a culinary gem from the vibrant and spice-rich Indian subcontinent. The name “Dopiaza” translates to “double onions,” which speaks to the very soul of this dish.

A distinctive feature of this recipe is the utilization of onions, not once, but twice during the cooking process. Its hearty, deep, and spiced flavours make it a staple in many Indian households and across the globe.

Tracing back its origins, Chicken Dopiaza carries a historic culinary legacy. Legend has it, the recipe was accidentally invented by a courtier of the Mughal emperor Akbar, who added a generous quantity of onions to a dish.

The result was so pleasing to the palate that it became a regular feature in royal feasts and eventually spread to different corners of the empire.

Chicken Dopiaza may sound like a daunting recipe at first glance due to its Mughal royal lineage. However, I assure you, it’s easier than you’d think. The primary difficulty lies in balancing the spices just right, a skill that one can master with practice.

As I guide you through the process, you’ll be surprised to find how simple steps can lead to such an incredible depth of flavour.

Now, let’s talk a bit about the star ingredients of our Chicken Dopiaza. We marinate our chicken in a tantalizing blend of spices such as turmeric, coriander, cumin, and Kashmiri chilli, along with yoghurt to tenderize the meat and enhance the flavour absorption.

Then comes our double dose of onions, first caramelized to create a rich, sweet base, and then added later in chunks for a delightful texture contrast.

Additionally, we have a melody of tomatoes, ginger, garlic, green chillies, and dried fenugreek leaves, all coming together to make this dish a veritable celebration of flavours. A bit of heat, a touch of tanginess, a dash of sweetness – Chicken Dopiaza has it all.

Ultimately, what makes Chicken Dopiaza so special is its reflection of the rich cultural heritage of Indian cuisine. With each bite, you savour not only the blend of spices and ingredients but also centuries of culinary tradition.

As we embark on this exciting culinary journey, you’ll find that cooking Chicken Dopiaza is as much about the process as it is about the final product. It’s about savouring the symphony of flavours, the harmony of ingredients, and the sheer joy of creating a delicious meal from scratch.

So, let’s roll up our sleeves and delve into the wonderful world of Indian cuisine, starting with our delectable Chicken Dopiaza!

What Ingredients to Use & Why

Preparing a dish like Chicken Dopiaza is akin to composing a symphony. Each ingredient has its unique role, contributing to the rich and complex harmony of flavours. Let me walk you through the key players in our recipe, their purpose, and possible substitutes if you can’t find the originals.

Chicken: The protagonist of our dish, chicken, is selected for its tender texture and ability to soak up the spices in the marinade. Its mild taste perfectly complements the bold flavours.

If you’re more into seafood or vegetarian options, feel free to replace chicken with prawns or paneer (Indian cottage cheese) respectively.

Yoghurt: It’s not just for adding creaminess to the dish; it acts as a tenderizer and marinating agent that enhances the absorption of spices by the chicken. A dairy-free substitute could be coconut milk or almond yoghurt for those with dietary restrictions.

Spices: Turmeric, Chilli Powder, Coriander Powder, Cumin Powder, and Kashmiri Chilli. This quintet is what builds the robust flavour profile of Chicken Dopiaza.

Each spice adds its unique aroma and taste—turmeric brings in an earthy warmth, chilli powder adds heat, coriander and cumin lend depth and complexity, while Kashmiri chilli imparts a beautiful colour.

If Kashmiri chilli is hard to find, paprika combined with a touch of cayenne pepper makes a good substitute.

Onions: These are fundamental to Dopiaza. Used twice in the recipe, they offer a caramelized depth and a crunchy texture to the dish. If you wish for a milder onion flavour, shallots can be used.

Tomatoes: They give our dish a tangy kick and a gravy-like consistency. Both fresh tomatoes and canned ones work well. In the absence of fresh tomatoes, tomato puree or passata can be used.

Ginger Paste & Garlic Paste: These aromatic powerhouses enhance the overall taste, providing a sharp, spicy, and slightly sweet undertone. Ginger and garlic powder can be used as a quick substitute.

Green Chillies: They offer a fresh, fiery kick. Depending on your heat tolerance, you could switch these out for milder jalapenos or bell peppers.

Dried Fenugreek Leaves (Methi): It adds an unmistakable flavour – sweet yet bitter, which is peculiar to many Indian dishes. Kasoori Methi is a good substitute if dried fenugreek leaves aren’t available.

Each ingredient in the Chicken Dopiaza has been selected with care to contribute to the flavour symphony that defines this dish.

They each carry their weight, bringing individual strengths to the table, and when combined, they create a culinary masterpiece. As you cook, you’ll realize that understanding each ingredient’s role will give you the confidence to experiment and make the dish truly your own.

Understanding the Meaning of “Dopiaza” in Chicken Dopiaza

It’s a culinary journey of discovery when I create a dish, and understanding the etymology of a recipe’s name often unravels a significant part of its culinary secrets. One such fascinating dish in my repertoire is Chicken Dopiaza, and if you’ve ever wondered about the meaning of ‘Dopiaza’, let me enlighten you.

The term ‘Dopiaza’ is derived from two Persian words: ‘Do,’ meaning ‘two’ or ‘double,’ and ‘Piaz,’ meaning ‘onions.’ So, in its essence, ‘Dopiaza’ denotes ‘double onions,’ a hint towards the star feature of this dish – the generous and dual usage of onions.

When I make Chicken Dopiaza, onions make their appearance twice in the cooking process. First, I sauté finely diced onions until they turn golden and caramelize.

This stage lays down the rich, sweet, and mildly spicy base for the curry. Later in the cooking process, chunks of onions join the pot, providing a delightful texture contrast and an added layer of flavour.

This is what brings Chicken Dopiaza its unique character – the intense sweetness and slight pungency of caramelized onions marrying the crunch and vibrancy of the sautéed onion chunks.

I love this dual role of onions because it not only transforms the dish’s texture profile but also amplifies the flavour by providing a deep, savoury base note. This allows other ingredients to shine in harmony without overshadowing them.

In the end, it’s essential to understand that Dopiaza is not merely about doubling the number of onions; it’s about exploiting onions’ multifaceted personalities twice over to elevate a dish.

The next time you enjoy Chicken Dopiaza, remember you’re savouring an artful play of onions, orchestrated not just to please your palate but also to celebrate an age-old culinary tradition.

The Fascinating Origin and History of Chicken Dopiaza

Whenever I whip up a dish as complex and flavourful as Chicken Dopiaza, I am reminded that it carries a history as rich as its taste. The history of Chicken Dopiaza begins with its name. ‘Dopiaza,’ as I mentioned earlier, means ‘double onions,’ and it’s an ode to the double role of onions in the dish.

The origins of this unique recipe can be traced back to the court of the Mughal emperor Akbar in the 16th century. As the story goes, a courtier of Akbar named Mullah Do Piaza accidentally added a large quantity of onions to a dish.

However, this culinary blunder turned into a delightful surprise when the dish turned out to be exceptionally delicious.

Since then, this ‘happy accident’ became a culinary tradition, with the Dopiaza style of cooking gaining immense popularity in the royal kitchen.

It was later refined by the royal cooks, who perfected the method of using onions twice in the recipe – once for caramelizing to form the dish’s base, and again in chunks for adding texture.

The use of aromatic spices like turmeric, chilli, coriander, and cumin gave it a robust flavour profile, creating a unique dish that was warm, rich, and spicy.

Over time, the Dopiaza style of cooking spread to different parts of India and even beyond its borders, thanks to the Mughal influence. Today, Chicken Dopiaza stands as a beloved dish in Indian cuisine, cherished by food lovers worldwide.

So, when you cook or eat Chicken Dopiaza, remember that you are part of a centuries-old culinary legacy. With every bite, you are not just tasting a delicious combination of chicken, onions, and spices, but you are also experiencing a slice of India’s rich culinary history.

Embracing Versatility: Creating a Vegetarian or Vegan Chicken Dopiaza

Even though I’m a passionate cook, I understand that everyone has different dietary needs and preferences. So, when I share a recipe like Chicken Dopiaza, I can’t help but think about my vegetarian and vegan friends who’d love to experience this dish’s unique flavours.

You might wonder, can Chicken Dopiaza be made vegetarian or vegan? The answer is a resounding yes!

The core flavour profile of Chicken Dopiaza is a rich combination of aromatic spices and the glorious double usage of onions.

Though chicken traditionally takes centre stage, the dish can maintain its character even when we introduce plant-based ingredients. In fact, the switch can reveal a whole new dimension of flavour, depending on the replacement.

For a vegetarian version, paneer, also known as Indian cottage cheese, is my go-to substitute. It’s a protein-rich ingredient that is quite neutral in flavour. When paneer soaks up the luscious spices, it creates a vegetarian Dopiaza that’s every bit as tasty as the chicken version.

Vegans, on the other hand, can opt for tofu or even a medley of hearty vegetables like cauliflower, bell peppers, and mushrooms. These vegetables offer a variety of textures that stand out against the smooth, spicy sauce, thus providing a different, yet equally delightful, eating experience.

So, while the original Chicken Dopiaza has its unique charm, don’t hesitate to reinvent it to suit your dietary needs. As long as you hold onto the spirit of the dish—the intense flavours, the double dose of onions, and the warmth of the spices—you’ll have a version of Dopiaza that’s every bit as satisfying.

The Spice Symphony in Chicken Dopiaza

Spices are the soul of Indian cuisine. They lend depth, warmth, and complexity to the dishes, and Chicken Dopiaza is no exception.

As a seasoned cook, I view each spice as an artist contributing to the culinary canvas. And in Chicken Dopiaza, the spices are the virtuosos that create an exciting symphony of flavours.

The foundational spices in this dish are turmeric, chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, and Kashmiri chilli. These five ingredients are non-negotiable in my recipe, as they build the robust flavour profile characteristic of Chicken Dopiaza.

Turmeric is the golden child of Indian spices. Its earthy flavour and vibrant colour set the stage for the flavour party. Next, the chilli powder comes in, turning up the heat and giving the dish its kick.

The coriander and cumin powders, with their depth and complexity, bring a comforting warmth to the ensemble. And finally, the Kashmiri chilli enters the scene. It’s milder than regular chilli but packs a punch in terms of colour, giving Chicken Dopiaza its enticing hue.

While each spice is distinctive, when they come together in Chicken Dopiaza, they create a harmonious flavour profile that’s aromatic, warm, and spicy.

This blend of spices, combined with onions and chicken, results in a dish that is hearty, comforting, and packed with layers of flavour. When I create Chicken Dopiaza, I’m not just cooking; I’m conducting a spice symphony that dances on the taste buds and warms the heart.

Substituting Ingredients in Chicken Dopiaza: The Art of Swapping

I’ve often found that being flexible with ingredients can open up a world of flavours. And the same is true when it comes to Chicken Dopiaza. So, if you’re curious about possible substitutions in this recipe, join me as I guide you through the art of swapping.

Although Chicken Dopiaza has a specific list of ingredients, some of them can be replaced without compromising the dish’s integrity. The key is to understand the role each ingredient plays and then find a substitute that can perform the same function.

If you’re unable to find Kashmiri chilli, regular paprika serves as a good substitute, providing the dish with the same vibrant hue without adding too much heat. For the heat, you can add in a dash of cayenne pepper.

If you want to make the dish without chicken, I’ve found that paneer, tofu, or assorted vegetables such as cauliflower and bell peppers work perfectly. Each of these substitutions ensures you’re still getting a hearty main ingredient that can absorb the flavours of the spices and onions.

For the yoghurt, if you’re looking for a dairy-free alternative, coconut milk or almond yoghurt can work wonders. They bring the same creaminess that yoghurt provides and also add a hint of their own unique flavours.

In my kitchen, the ability to adapt and experiment with ingredients is just as important as following a recipe. It’s a creative process that allows you to make a dish truly your own.

Adjusting the Spiciness of Chicken Dopiaza to Taste

Spiciness, much like flavour, is incredibly subjective. What I find mildly hot might set your tongue on fire, and what you consider spicy, I might find lacklustre.

That’s the beauty of cooking – it’s a personal journey. And when I’m preparing a dish like Chicken Dopiaza, adjusting the spiciness to suit my palate or my guests’ preferences is part of the process.

Now, the spice in Chicken Dopiaza comes primarily from chilli powder and green chillies. These fiery ingredients can be tuned to your liking.

If you’re someone who prefers milder flavours, consider reducing the quantity of chilli powder. Kashmiri chilli powder, though less hot, still provides that appealing red hue without adding too much heat.

The green chillies, on the other hand, pack quite a punch. So, if you’re trying to keep the heat levels low, you might want to remove the seeds, where most of the capsaicin (the compound that gives chillies their heat) resides.

On the contrary, if you’re a fan of fiery dishes and want to crank up the heat, feel free to add more chilli powder or throw in a couple more green chillies. Just remember to adjust gradually. You can always add more spice, but it’s hard to take it away once it’s in the pot.

Whether you prefer your Chicken Dopiaza mildly spiced or blazing hot, the beauty of this dish is its adaptability. So, don’t shy away from tweaking the spiciness to match your taste. After all, cooking should always be a reflection of your unique palate.

Chicken Dopiaza: A Make-Ahead Marvel

One of the many charms of Chicken Dopiaza is its adaptability. Not just to different taste preferences, but also to different schedules. As someone who’s often juggling multiple things in life, I know how precious time can be.

So, when it comes to meal prep, it’s always a blessing when a dish like Chicken Dopiaza can be made ahead and stored.

Chicken Dopiaza, with its richly spiced gravy and hearty ingredients, is a dish that arguably tastes even better the next day. The flavours have more time to mingle and intensify, creating a deeper, more developed taste.

When I’m planning to make Chicken Dopiaza ahead, I usually follow the recipe up to the final stage, allowing the curry to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. Stored in the refrigerator, it can last up to 3-4 days, ready to be reheated whenever you want to serve it.

And here’s a little secret of mine: I often make a larger batch of the spice mix. Having this mix at hand allows me to whip up a fresh batch of Chicken Dopiaza whenever I want, cutting down on prep time significantly.

So yes, Chicken Dopiaza is a wonderfully flexible dish that accommodates your schedule just as easily as it caters to your taste buds.

Savouring the Flavours: How to Serve and Enjoy Chicken Dopiaza

Chicken Dopiaza, with its tender chicken pieces and flavourful onion duo, is a dish that demands to be savoured. And the beauty of this dish lies not just in its creation, but also in how it’s served and enjoyed.

Traditionally, Chicken Dopiaza is best served with warm Indian bread such as naan or chapati. The soft, slightly chewy texture of these breads perfectly complements the rich, hearty curry, making for a truly comforting meal.

But if you ask me, there’s something incredibly satisfying about serving Chicken Dopiaza over a bed of steamed basmati rice. The rice soaks up the vibrant flavours of the curry, enhancing every bite.

Regardless of what you serve it with, Chicken Dopiaza is a dish meant to be enjoyed leisurely. Whether it’s a quiet weeknight dinner or a festive gathering, take the time to savour each bite, to appreciate the interplay of spices, the sweetness of caramelized onions, and the tender chicken pieces.

When I serve Chicken Dopiaza, I’m not just offering a meal. I’m sharing an experience, a moment of warmth, comfort, and joy. It’s the love I pour into the dish, the excitement of sharing it, and the satisfaction of seeing people enjoy it—that’s the true joy of serving Chicken Dopiaza.

Creating a Healthier Version of Chicken Dopiaza

I am always seeking ways to balance the richness of my dishes with health considerations. And when it comes to Chicken Dopiaza, it’s no different. Creating a healthier version of this delectable dish isn’t difficult; it merely requires a few tweaks.

To begin with, I choose to use lean chicken breast instead of thighs. This substitution lowers the overall fat content without compromising the protein value.

Another adjustment I make is reducing the amount of oil. While oil does contribute to the lusciousness of the gravy, cutting back on it can make the dish lighter.

The bulk of Chicken Dopiaza’s flavour comes from its spices and onions. These ingredients are relatively low in calories and high in nutritional benefits, such as fibre, vitamins, and antioxidants. Therefore, I take full advantage of these and add an extra punch to them.

In terms of serving, I often opt for whole-grain options like brown rice or whole-wheat chapatis. These alternatives are higher in fibre and can help keep you feeling full for longer.

Lastly, remember that portion control is a significant aspect of healthy eating. No matter how healthy your version of Chicken Dopiaza might be, it’s essential to be mindful of your serving size.

Making Chicken Dopiaza without Onions or Garlic: An Adaptation

Now, here’s a challenge – making Chicken Dopiaza without onions or garlic. As an adventurous cook, I’ve faced this question from friends who follow dietary restrictions that exclude onions or garlic. And though it might seem daunting, I can assure you, it’s possible.

When omitting onions, one has to remember that they provide volume, sweetness, and flavour to Chicken Dopiaza. A handy alternative can be bell peppers.

They offer a similar sweetness and add a unique twist to the dish. They can be cooked down in the same way as onions, providing a similar textural component.

As for replacing garlic, it’s a little trickier since its flavour is quite distinct. However, I’ve found that asafoetida (also known as hing) can serve as a worthy substitute. Used in many Indian dishes, asafoetida provides a flavour that’s reminiscent of leeks or shallots. It’s powerful, so use it sparingly.

Without onions and garlic, the Chicken Dopiaza you create will certainly be different from the traditional version, but it will be a flavourful dish in its own right.

So, while these ingredients are fundamental to the classic Chicken Dopiaza, this just goes to show that there’s always room for creativity and adaptation in the kitchen!

Check Out These Other Recipes

Stepping into the realm of Indian cuisine, you’ll discover the depth and variety offered by this remarkable culinary world. Like our Chicken Dopiaza, there are several other recipes you might love. Just as I was completely enchanted by the intricate layers of flavours in these dishes, I believe you will be too.

First off, there’s the Chicken Rogan Josh. Just like the Dopiaza, this recipe is a medley of aromatic spices and succulent chicken. The intensity of flavours in Rogan Josh is something that lingers on your taste buds, teasing you long after the last bite is gone.

Next, you might fancy the Chicken Chana. Imagine tender chicken chunks, simmered to perfection with hearty chickpeas in a luscious, spiced gravy. The appeal of this dish is how beautifully the textures and flavours complement each other, similar to our Dopiaza, but with a unique charm.

A must-try is the Chicken Vindaloo, a spicy lover’s delight. The generous use of chillies and vinegar gives this dish a hot and tangy twist, offering a flavour profile that dares to differ yet shares the same culinary roots with our Chicken Dopiaza.

Ever thought of mixing okra with chicken? Well, the Chicken & Okra Curry does exactly that, bringing together an interesting combination of textures. The softness of chicken and the slight crunch of okra, enveloped in a spiced curry, are sure to make you crave more.

Last but certainly not least, Chicken Yakhni should be on your list. It’s a mild, yoghurt-based chicken curry that is every bit as tempting as our Chicken Dopiaza. The soothing flavours, enhanced by fragrant spices, will make you appreciate the subtlety and richness of Indian cuisine.

So, why not give these dishes a go? Try them out, and don’t forget to share your feedback in the comments section. I’m eager to hear about your culinary adventures and what new flavours you’ve fallen in love with.

Chicken Dopiaza

Chicken Dopiaza

by Nabeela Kauser
Immerse yourself in a flavourful journey with chicken dopiaza, an exquisite blend of aromatic spices and tender chicken. Discover the art of cooking this time-honoured Indian cuisine.
5 from 40 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Marination Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4
Calories 347 kcal



  • 600 g Chicken
  • 100 g Yoghurt
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder Haldi
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin Powder
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri Chilli


  • 50 ml Oil
  • 2 +1 Onions 1 cut into petals
  • 2 +2 Tomatoes 2 cut into large chunks
  • 1 tsp Garlic Paste
  • 1 tsp Ginger Paste
  • 2 Green Chillies
  • 200 ml Water
  • Coriander
  • 1 tsp Dried Fenugreek Leaves Methi


  • In a large bowl add the marination ingredients to the chicken then mix until well combined before setting aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes
  • As the chicken is marinating heat up the oil in a pot before adding two finely diced onions and cook for 3-4 minutes on medium heat until golden brown and caramelised
  • Add the ginger paste and garlic then cook for 1-2 minutes
  • Add two finely diced tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes
  • Add the marinated chicken then cook for 4-5 minutes
  • Add the water then give it a quick stir before covering and cook for 15 minutes
  • As the chicken is cooking cut the remaining onion into squares and the tomatoes into chunks then add into the pan along with the green chilli before cooking for 3-4 minutes
  • Add the finely chopped coriander and dried fenugreek leaves then cook for 1-2 minutes
  • Serve immediately with chapatti and enjoy!



Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done so merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 347kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 17gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 57mgSodium: 749mgPotassium: 645mgFiber: 4gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 1522IUVitamin C: 28mgVitamin D: 0.2µgCalcium: 87mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Chicken, Curry, Food, Homemade, Indian, Onion, Recipe, Spicy
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!

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Amy Cavanagh
Amy Cavanagh
1 year ago

5 stars
Hi, on the Tomatoes and onion, what does 2+1 and 2+2 mean, is that 3 total onions and 4 total tomatoes?

9 months ago

5 stars
Just made this and wow what an excellent recipe this is – of this was served to me in a restaurant I would not have complained. Superb

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