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How To Make Restaurant Style Lamb Dopiaza

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Like a good lamb dopiaza? This recipe will get you Indian restaurant results!

I love lamb dopiaza curries. Some are spicy while others are quite mild. With this recipe you can adjust the spice level to whatever you prefer. This version is mildly spiced but you could add more chilli powder to taste.

This is a dopiaza recipe from my cookbook ‘The Curry Guy Bible’, but with a couple of changes. Dopiaza curries are made with an onion paste which is also good stirred into many other curries. 

In my book, the recipe is for chicken dopiaza and it serves four or more as part of a multi-course meal. I decided to show here that you can easily make this into a lamb dopiaza curry recipe and also cook it as a curry house portion that serves 1 – 2 people. 

It wasn’t rocket science! I just substituted pre-cooked lamb for the chicken and halved the recipe. 

lamb dopiaza curry

This is an amazing curry! Onions cooked two ways into a thick and delicious sauce.

Making curry house style lamb dopiaza…

As with all curry house style curries, this lamb dopiaza takes some for preparation. That’s how Indian restaurant chefs get amazing tasing curries to your table so quickly.

British Indian restaurant curries require a base curry sauce. Here is one of my ‘go to’ recipes. The base can be made in large or small batches and it freezes well.

Having it on hand is great when you get that last minute curry craving.

Pre-cooking your meat is also important. Lamb takes about an hour to cook to tender so having this ready before starting this recipe speeds up the final cooking process.

It also add another delicious layer of flavour. You could try my pre-cooked meat recipe or my tandoori lamb tikka recipe.

Another option would be to stew the lamb tikka in your base sauce until tender. This not only cooks the lamb but adds a delicious, slow cooked flavour to your base sauce.

I actually use some left over roast lamb from Sunday dinner in this recipe. That works well too. 

Do all this ahead of time, however and you can make this lamb dopiaza curry in just ten minutes!

Alternative main ingredients…

Lamb dopiaza is my favourite. The depth of flavour is incredible. You could, however substitute other main ingredients.

You know when you go out for a curry and see dopiaza on the menu? There is always a selection of main ingredients to choose from such as chicken tikka, king prawns, lamb and paneer.

This curry house style lamb dopiaza is really all about that sauce! Feel free to substitute any main ingredient in the sauce you like. 

The essential dopiaza onion paste recipe…

Dopiaza or do piaza means 2 onions in Hindi. So this is a curry that is made with onions cooked in two ways.

I guess when you consider that curry house lamb dopiaza uses an onion base sauce, you could say that this curry is made with onions cooked in three ways.

For this recipe you make a really easy but delicious onion paste. To do this, fry a couple of thinly sliced onions until deep brown in colour.

Then blend them with just enough water or yoghurt to make a thick paste. It’s really that easy. If you happen to add too much water or yoghurt and your paste isn’t thick, just add it anyway and cook it down in the curry. 

You could retain some of the fried sliced onions to garnish the lamb dopiaza before serving. 

Following are a few step by step photos of the lamb dopiaza cooking process.

Frying onion petals

Fry the onion petals in a little oil or a dry frying pan until charred on the edges. Transfer to a plate for later.

Frying whole spices

Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil over medium high heat and fry the whole spices for 30 seconds.

Stirring garlic and ginger paste into the pan

Stir in the garlic and ginger paste and fry for another 30 seconds.

Adding ground spices to the pan

Add the ground spices and fry for anther 30 seconds.

Adding tomato puree to the pan

Stir in the tomato puree and bring to a simmer.

adding base sauce and meat to the pan

Now add a ladle or two of the base sauce. Bring to a simmer and then add the meat.

Adding onion petals and onion paste to the pan

Stir the meat into the sauce. Add more sauce when the curry is looking dry. The stir in the onion paste and fried onion petals.

Simmering sauce with added coriander (cilantro)

Bring the sauce to a simmer. Only stir if the sauce is sticking to the pan and top it up with more base as required. Season with salt and garnish with coriander.


Lamb dopiaza

Make this tonight!

Here are more curry house curry favourites you might like to try!

Chicken Korma
Chicken Madras
Chicken Dhansak
Lamb Rogan Josh
Lamb Vindaloo
Chicken Chilli Garlic
Chicken Patia
Lamb Bhuna

Finished lamb dopiaza

Your restaurant style lamb dopiaza is ready!

Finished lamb dopiaza with other curries.

Dig in!

Yield: 4

How To Make Lamb Dopiaza

How To Make Lamb Dopiaza
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 800g - pre-cooked meat
  • 4 tablespoons ghee
  • 6 greed cardamom pods - smashed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 tablespoons garlic and ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 tablespoons cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 - 2 teaspoons mild red chilli powder
  • 500ml onion sauce
  • 500ml curry sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves
  • 2 handfuls of fried onion (make it yourself of purchase at Asian shops)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 small bunch fresh coriander - chopped


  1. Melt the ghee over medium high heat in a frying pan or wok.
  2. When bubbling, add the cardamom pods and cumin seeds.
  3. Allow to sizzle for about 40 seconds and then add the ground spices.
  4. Spoon in the garlic and ginger paste and the tomato paste and stir it all up to combine.
  5. Now add the blended onion sauce and the base curry sauce.
  6. Add the meat and about 100ml to 200ml of the cooking juices from the pre-cooked meat.
  7. Stir in the fenugreek leaves and top with two large handfuls of fried onions.
  8. Check for seasoning and the add the fresh coriander and salt and pepper to taste.

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Sunday 10th of March 2024

Wow, this was a slog! I made it yesterday starting from scratch so the base sauce and onion sauce were a bit time consuming in terms of preparation. I was on my feet 8 hours! However, I now have loads of sauce and I also made myself a veggie Rogan Josh Balti with the base sauce.

I made my hubby this and he loved it. It’s what he eats 95%of the time from Indian takeaways and restaurants. I cooked the lamb the night before so it was as tender as the restaurants. He said it could do with having a bit more tomato - we’re in Scotland so perhaps it’s slightly different - but otherwise he said it tastes exactly like it.

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 19th of March 2024

Yes, it’s is one of my more time consuming recipes but well worth the effort I always find. I’m glad you both enjoyed it and that you have lots of sauce left. Thanks very much. Dan


Sunday 2nd of May 2021

Hi, you mention the onion paste in the write up but onion sauce in the recipe do you use both?

Many thanks



Friday 3rd of December 2021

@Dan Toombs,

Hi Dan is it ok to half all the ingredients to make enough for 1 -2 people

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 5th of May 2021

Sorry for the confusion, the onion paste and the onion sauce are the same thing. Thanks Dan

Gordon Brown

Wednesday 24th of February 2021

Hi Dan,

I'm relatively new to your website, but have recently made Patia and Dopiaza, both using beef.

These were amazing and by far the closest I have ever got to restaurant style dishes.

Looking forward to trying many more in the future.

Thank you.

Dan Toombs

Thursday 25th of February 2021

Thanks very much, great to hear. Dan

Neil Biddulph

Saturday 1st of August 2020

Hi Dan did this last night I found it way to runny is that how its supposed to be with base gravy and onion sauce and the water from the mince really watery so i ended up ruducing right down in the picture it looks lovely nothing like mine did i do something wrong do you think?? Tia Neil

Dan Toombs

Monday 10th of August 2020

HI Neil I would suggest cooking it longer to reduce down the liquid, that should work. Thanks Dan

Dan Toombs

Monday 10th of August 2020

Hi If it is too watery I would suggest cooking it a bit longer to reduce the liquid? Thanks Dan


Saturday 9th of March 2019

When it comes to authentic ingredients, I really prefer not to substitute, but we only get to shop at an Indian market about twice a year. Forgot to get fenugreek leaves. Is there a substitute you recommend, or are Kasoori methi one of those things that really don’t substitute well? Thank you.

Dan Toombs

Saturday 16th of March 2019

Hi Jessica

You could stir in fenugreek powder to taste but remember it is a lot stronger than the leave. Just a pinch at first! You could add more to taste if need.

Thanks, Dan

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