Friday, February 13, 2009

Chicken dopiaaza: Chicken cooked in onion gravy

This dish is also called istew and istew dopyaaza. Dopiaaza is a reference to the fact that the dish incorporates bothe sauteed onions and caramelized (bhuna) onions into the gravy. My recipe was passed along to me by my mother in-law. As she is from U.P. originally, this recipe is yoghurt based and doesn't contain tomatoes. It requires whole garam masala (khara masala), as well as powdered garam masala. I keep fried onions ready in my freezer. You can also buy them ready fried at any desi grocer. The sauteed onions are easy to do, but these days you can also get packets of ready sauteed onions at the desi grocer. I also keep pre-ground ginger/garlic paste on hand in the fridge. These ready done items make this dish easy to make, but it is quite easy even if you start from scratch.

You will need:

1 chicken skinned and chopped into botees (bone in)
1 onion chopped finely for sauteeing
1 onion sliced from brown frying (or just use pre-fried bhuni hui pyaaz)
2 tsp ginger paste
2 tsp garlic paste
1 heaping tsp kashmiri chile powder
1 heaping tsp garam masala powder
1/2 cups yoghurt
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
2-3 tbs sunflower oil

Khara Masala:
1 cinnamon stick
1-2 bay leaves
5 peppercorns
5 cloves
5 green cardamon pods
1-2 large black cardamon pods
1 tsp cumin seeds

Mix all powdered masalas plus 1 tsp of ginger and 1 tsp of garlic paste into the yoghurt and set aside. Pre-fry sliced onions and set aside. Heat oil in pan. Add in khara masala and fry for a few moments. Add in chopped onions and sautee until the are clear. Add in the rest of the ginger and garlic paste and fry for a few minutes. Stir in the caramelized onions and chicken. Stir around until chicken is browned. Add in yoghurt-masala mixture and salt, plus 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Cook for about 25 minutes or so until chicken is done (chicken available where I live cooks very might take yours longer). The dish is ready to enjoy. Serve with basmati rice and/ or naan.

*Tips: I buy a bad of whole mixed garam masala and pick out the ones I need as pictured above, rather than buying individual quantities of each masala. Life is just easier that way.
An alternative style is to add finely chopped tomatoes and allow the water to evaporate from them when the finely chopped onions have melted down a bit and before you add the chicken to bhunofy. I have tried both ways, and both are equally delicious.

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