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[Faux] Chicken Dopiaza

Chicken Dopiaza is a classic dish of the southern Indian region. The name dopiaza broadly translates as "2 onions" or "double onions".

Some traditional versions of the dish use twice the weight in onions compared to the weight in meat. The classic Indian dopiaza uses both fried and boiled onions at different stages of the preparation, such as small fried onion pieces in the sauce and then larger, lightly cooked onion chunks of onion near the end of cooking.


Vegan Chicken Dopiaza2 mock chicken breasts
1½ cup sliced button mushrooms
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 large sliced onion
1 tsp hot chilli powder
1 tsp ground dry-roasted cumin seed
½ cup water
1 tsp methi (dried fenugreek) seeds, washed in a sieve then left moist for at least 10 minutes.
1 tsp garam masala
Salt to taste
Coriander for garnishing

Dopiaza curry sauce
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed and roguhly chopped
3 Tbsp ginger, thinly sliced
2 mild fleshy green chillies, de-seeded and veined then chopped
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp ground cumin seed
½ tsp ground coriander seed
2 Tbsp tomato paste mixed with 4 Tbsp water

Cooking Instructions

Preparing the Dopiaza curry sauce
  • Heat the oil in a heavy pan then add the chopped onion and stir for a few minutes with the heat on high.
  • Add the ginger, garlic and green chilli. Sauté for 30 seconds then put the heat down to very low.
  • Cook for 15 minutes stirring from time to time making sure nothing browns or burns.
  • Add the turmeric, cumin and coriander and cook, still very gently, for a further 5 minutes. Don't burn the spices or the sauce will taste horrid. Sprinkle on a few drops of water if you're worried.
  • Take off the heat and cool a little. Put 1/3 cup cold water in a blender, add the contents of the pan and whizz until very smooth. Add the tomato paste and stir.
  • Put the puréed mixture back into the pan and cook for 20 - 30 minutes (the longer the better) over very low heat stirring occasionally. You can add a little hot water if it starts to catch on the pan but the idea is to gently "fry" the sauce which will darken in colour to an orangy brown. The final texture should be something like good tomato ketchup.
Preparing the rest of the meal
  • Heat a little of the oil in a large heavy frying pan then fry the mushrooms and mock chicken beast over moderate heat until they are sealed and have turned golden brown. Remove them from the pan and set aside.
  • Heat the rest of the oil in a heavy saucepan over a moderate heat. Add the onions and fry gently until translucent but not brown.
  • Remove the onions from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • Drain off the oil, put the pan back on the heat and add the curry sauce, mock chicken, chilli powder and the ground, roasted cumin into a heavy pot and cook for 15 minutes, stirring from time to time. Season with salt.
  • 10 minutes from the end add the fenugreek leaves, garam masala and the reserved mushrooms and onions.
  • By this time you should have a rich, thick sauce (it will darken during the cooking). Simmer gently for the last 5 minutes.
  • Garnished with fresh chopped coriander or chunks onion.
  • Serve hot with steamed rice and naan bread.
Serves 2 people

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