Do Pyaza is a Persian word which means ‘two onions‘ but it’s also a popular method of cooking with onions in South Asia, introduced by Mughal chefs and further refined in Hyderabadi cuisine.
Clearly in this method meat or vegetables are cooked with twice the quantity of onions that normally goes into a curry, hence the name!
But this dish is also associated with a very colourful and witty character in the royal court of Emperor Akbar – Mulla Do-Pyaza. It is believed that it was him who accidentally added too many onions to a dish once in the royal kitchen and that’s how this dish originated. Though most scholars consider him to be only a fictional character.
A few believe that since onions are added in two steps to the dish while cooking that’s why it’s named Do Pyaza.
Whatever the reason or source of its name, all I can say for sure is that it’s a darn delicious recipe. Very light and appetizing for summer season.
You must be wondering that so many onions would make this dish very sweet. Don’t worry, there is always some sour agent added to this cooking method to cut through the sweetness. You can add tamarind paste, mango powder or lemon juice for a balance of sweet and sour.
1/2 kg okra
4 large onions, almost 6 cups sliced onions
4 cloves garlic
1 inch piece ginger
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
5 black peppercorns
2 curry leaves, bay leaves or lemon leaves
2 tablespoons lemon juice or to taste
salt to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil or ghee for stir frying
2 green chilli peppers
1/4 cup fresh mint or coriander leaves
This Is What You Do:
Wash and pat dry okra. Cut off stem and pointed ends.
Slice onions, finely chop garlic and ginger.
Add 2 tablespoons oil to a deep frying pan. Add okra and fry on medium low heat till tender inside and crispy outside.
Remove from pan and set aside.
Add the remaining oil to the same pan. Add sliced onions. Spread them out in the pan in a thin layer for even cooking. Sprinkle salt over the onions.
When onions are golden brown, remove half of the onions from the pan.
Add ginger, garlic and all the spices to the pan with a splash of water.
Continue to cook another couple of minutes.
Add already fried okra back to the pan. Add lemon juice and stir to mix.
Check for salt and seasoning.
Garnish with remaining fried onions, chopped green chillies and mint or coriander leaves.
Serve hot with Roti.
Serves 2 as main dish, 4 as side dish.