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Chicken Dopiaza from Scratch

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This is chicken dopiaza from scratch, no curry house style base sauce required.

Many readers of my blog and books have asked if you can make British Indian restaurant (BIR) style curries without the ‘essential’ base sauce. That smooth onion based sauce is used at UK curry houses to prepare everything from the mildest chicken korma and tikka masala to the spiciest vindaloo and phaal.

Here I would like to show you how you can make top quality, curry house style chicken dopiaza from scratch without the need to make a base sauce first.

Chicken dopiaza from scratch

Just as good if not better than you get at the best curry houses. Try this no base chicken dopiaza today.

What is chicken dopiaza?

The ‘do’ in dopiaza means two. ‘Piaza’ means onions.

So dopiaza curries are curries cooked with onions in two ways. If you count the crispy fried onions that garnish this chicken dopiaza from scratch, you actually have onions cooked in three ways but who’s counting?

This recipe will get you restaurant quality chicken dopiaza in less than 30 minutes!

What do you serve chicken dopiaza with?

If you’d like to make this curry into a feast, you’ve come to the right place. You could just go for a side of Basmati rice or mushroom fried rice.

If you’d like to make naans, why not try one of these?  Instant naans, Peshwari naans, stove top naans, keema naans, garlic naans, tandoor naans (if you have a tandoor oven), or if you’re cooking outdoors, karahi naans.

Want to start your chicken dopiaza meal off with a bang? How about fried shop bought poppadoms or if you’re feeling ambitious, make your own poppadoms from scratch and serve them with coriander chutney, red onion chutney, and/or tamarind chutney.

Do I have to use tandoori chicken in this recipe?

Absolutely not! I like to add pre-cooked tandoori chicken because it adds another layer of delicious flavour.

You could just add raw chicken pieces and let them cook through in the sauce. If doing this, however you will probably need to add more stock or water to cook the chicken through.

Do I have to use chicken?

Nope. You can use the protein of your choice in this recipe.

The chicken dopiaza style sauce is excellent with lamb, beef, paneer or pulses such as chickpeas.

Step by step photographs…

Ingredients for chicken dopiaza from scratch

Gather all your ingredients before starting cooking. It’s easier that way.

Charring the onion petals in the pan

Fry the onion petals for about 3 minutes in a little oil until they begin to char.

Adding onions and garlic and ginger to pan

Fry the chopped onions in about 2 tbsp oil until golden brown. Then stir in the garlic and ginger paste.

Adding ground spices to the pan

Add the ground spice and stir for about 30 seconds to coat the onions.

Adding chopped tomatoes and water/stock to the pan

Now add the chopped tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Then pour in 125ml (1/2 cup) water or unsalted chicken stock

Blending sauce for dopiaza

Allow the sauce to cool some and then blend until smooth.

Infusing whole spices in oil.

Wipe the pan clean and then add the remaining oil. Infuse the cumin, coriander seeds and cardamom into the oil for 30 seconds.

Adding blended sauce to pan.

Return the blended sauce to the pan. It will be too thick so add about 250m (1 cup) stock or water to thin.

Adding chicken tikka to the pan

Stir in the chicken to heat through. If you sauce is too thick, add more water. If too thin, cook it down.

Stirring yoghurt into the sauce.

Stir in the yoghurt, one tablespoon at a time.

Return the charred onion petals to the pan and stir them in. Season with salt to taste.

If you like this chicken dopiaza from scratch recipe, you might like to try these too…

Chicken Vindaloo from Scratch
Chicken Madras from Scratch
Rogan Josh from Scratch
Chicken Chilli Garlic Curry From Scratch
Chicken Chasni From Scratch

Chicken Dopiaza from Scratch

Dig in!


Yield: 4

Chicken Dopiaza from Scratch

Chicken Dopiaza from Scratch
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 4 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 1 medium onion, quartered and broken up into individual petals
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp Madras curry powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp picante paprika
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 – 2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 200ml chopped tinned (canned) tomatoes
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, roughy chopped
  • 4 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 600g (1lb 5oz) cooked tandoori chicken (see page 00), leftover cooked chicken or raw chicken cut into bite sized pieces.
  • 2 tbsp plain natural yoghurt
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 6 tbsp coriander (cilantro) finely chopped
  • Crispy fried onions to garnish


  1. Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a large frying pan or karahi over medium high heat. Place the onion petals in the pan and fry, turning regularly to char them in places.
  2. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Now add two tablespoon of the oil to the pan over medium high heat and add the chopped onions. Fry for about 10 minutes, stirring often until soft and a deep golden brown in colour.
  3. Stir in the garlic and ginger paste and fry for another 30 seconds. Then add the ground spices and stir again to coat the onions before pouring in the chopped tomatoes. Add 125ml (1/2 cup) unsalted chicken stock or water and allow to cool some.
  4. Transfer the cooled onion mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  5. Wipe your pan clean with a paper towel. No need to make it spotless! Pour in the remaining 1 tbsp oil and stir in the cumin seeds, coriander seeds and cardamom pods to infuse for about 30 seconds.
  6. Now pour in the blended sauce. It will look too thick when you do so add about 250ml (1 cup) unsalted chicken stock or water.
  7. Bring this to a rolling simmer and then add the cooked or raw chicken. You just need to heat the cooked chicken. If using raw chicken, be sure to cook it through. Only stir if the sauce is sticking to the pan. It will caramelise to the sides as it cooks. Stir this back into the sauce for more flavour.
  8. Now let’s finish this masterpiece of a curry off. If it is looking too thick, add more water or stock. If it is too thin, just cook it down to your liking.
  9. Stir in the yoghurt one tablespoon at a time and then add the fried onion petals.
  10. Season with salt to taste and sprinkle with the garam masala. Serve garnished with the chopped coriander and crispy fried onions.

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