Murgh Dopiaza is a traditional chicken curry of Persian origin. According to some historical references, the dish was created when a courtier of Mughal emperor Akbar Mullah Do Piaza accidentally added a large quantity of onions to a dish.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 recipe became popular and became a staple in South Asian, specially Hyderabadi cuisine.
As the name suggests that the quantity of onions in the dish are double of what is usually added to any other curry, and they are added at two different stages in the cooking.
The puréed onions help thicken up the masala and the sautéed and caramelised onions add texture to it. To balance the sweetness from so much onions some tart ingredient is always used, some recipes use tomatoes but I prefer yogurt because it also adds creaminess to the masala.
This moderate hot curry is the consistency of thick sauce that should coat the juicy chicken pieces but you can keep it a little thin if serving over rice. Boneless chicken or lamb can also be used to make the same recipe.
For Murgh Dopiaza, Onion Chicken Curry :
Chicken cutups 1 kg, with bones
3 onions slices
1 inch piece ginger
5 cloves garlic
1 cup yogurt
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted
4 tablespoons ghee or olive oil
4-5 green chillies
This Is What You Do :
Toast cumin and coriander seeds on a skillet for a few seconds till aromatic.
Heat two tablespoons oil in a a deep pan. Add chicken pieces and fry till golden on outside. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add 2 onions, ginger, garlic, yogurt and all the dry spices to a blender. Make a smooth paste.
Add the paste to the same pan, return to medium heat.
Keep cooking and stirring till the masala changes colour and separates from oil.
Add fried chicken pieces, add 1 cup water.
Cover the pan, reduce heat to low. Let it simmer for 25-30 minutes.
Meanwhile add the remaining two tablespoons of oil to a small frying pan, add the 3rd onion. Fry till onion is soft and lightly golden. Add green chillies and fry another few seconds.
When the chicken is done and masala thickens to coat the chicken. Add the fried onions and chillies to to the chicken.
Stir and remove from heat.
Serve hot with naan, roti or any other flatbread.