Monday, March 7, 2011

khade masale ka chicken dopyaza or chicken ishtoo

Ishtoo and Dopyaza are similar recipes made with meats and vegetables both. While Dopyaza normally stays dry as the ingredients are cooked in their own moisture, Ishtoo is stewed with some water so it becomes a comforting winter stew. And yes, Dopyaza is mostly made in summers while Ishtoo is made in winters, the ingredients are exactly the same the cooking pocess is modified to suit the season.

The chicken dopyaza is a mildly spiced recipe which can be a good finger food too if the juices are dried a bit during cooking, the stew version is great with chapatis, naans, khamiri rotis or parathas.

khade masale ka chicken dopyaza or chicken ishtoo

Dopyaza is a name given to a meat curry cooked with lots of veggies as some people say but I doubt of this theory. I call a recipe dopyaza just because there is lots of pyaaz (onions) in it. Onions in a 1:1 ratio to meat or a veggie make the curry dopyaza, as it has been called in my family.

Nothing more special about dopyaza, just a stewed kind of curry cooked with minimum effort, paired well with khamiri rotis or plain parathas.

khade masale ka chicken dopyaza or chicken ishtoo

( for 3-4 servings depending on the side dishes)
chicken with bone 800 gm (I used leg pieces)
sliced onions 500 gm (more onions if you want more gravy)
ginger chopped in julienne 50+25 gm
garlic cloves slit lengthwise or the whole bulb cut through the middle
dry red chillies broken and seeds removed as many as you wish
(no green chillies are used in this stew)
cumin seeds 2 tsp
crushed black pepper corns 2 tsp
small and black cardamoms 3 each 
cinnamon stick 2 inches piece broken
bay leaves 2-4 nos.
cloves 4-5
salt to taste  
mustard oil 2 tbsp

Heat oil in a thick base kadai and throw in all the whole spices along with dry red chillies.
Add the 50 gm part of ginger julienne and slit garlic cloves or cut garlic bulb, stir fry till fragrant and then add the sliced onions. Let the onions coat with oil and get hot, there is no need to cook them actually, they get cooked and caramelized along with the meat.
Add the chicken pieces, mix well and cover to cook on medium heat. This takes about 5 minutes and you are free to do other chores in the kitchen as the dish needs minimal attention after this.

Add salt and mix well. The onion should start getting caramelised by now. Once the onions get caramelised, add about 500 ml water if making Ishtoo (like in the pictures) and cook covered for at least 40 minutes on low flame.

For making the dry dopyaza the chicken is cooked with a tight lid without adding any water or just a sprinkle of water if needed. No powder masala is used in this curry and the aroma of the spices need to be conserved during cooking. Hence the lid which also helps in cooking the chicken without any additional water for making dopyaza, the cooking is done on minimum possible heat.

Check after 7-8 minutes of cooking and give it a good stir, the aroma will be very pleasant by now and the onions start caramelizing, giving a darker colour to the dish. Add a splash of water if you feel it is getting dry and can stick to the base before getting cooked. Place the lid again and check again after 5-7 minutes. It should be cooked by this time, otherwise cook till done.

Add the 25 gm portion of ginger julienne in the last and mix them well. This step is optional as I like the crunchy ginger pieces in this dish, the cooked ginger is also enjoyable with a milder taste.

Serve hot with chapatis or anything you like. The dish has a sweetish taste due to caramelized onions and the whiff of the spices is wonderful. You may like to remove the whole spices before plating as some people do not like them in the dish. I like to press the black cardamom and soak in the juices with a piece of khamiri roti or kulcha...

The hollow red chillies also trap the most awesome flavor in it, this is crazy but I like to squeeze them and mix the juices in the caramelized onion gravy.

khade masale ka chicken dopyaza or chicken ishtoo

As I mentioned earlier the ginger pieces added in two steps are to be enjoyed with the masala too, they taste so good when cooked this way...

Enjoy the Ishtooo in winters as a stew comforts like a soup and fills like a hearty meat curry. The dry dopyaza can be made in every season and can be served like a roast too.


  1. Agree with your sentiments Sangeeta!
    Dopiaza/ dopiyaza is sometimes termed for a process of 'twice-cooked' onions.
    Still a little confusing ...:-) but many dishes such as yours and in the Mughalai tradition use a mix of onion paste and sliced onions.

  2. looks tasty I remember this on the menu's of Indian restaurants in the UK

  3. YEs ji make sure you put more of non veg ones .. I AM STRICTLY NON VEGETARIAN... :)

    will try this one toooooooo


  4. Hi Sangeeta, received your comment on the Moong Dal with coconut and its in that post. However a big thankyou for the Nimona post; I could not get that beautiful green colour that your fresh-peas-Nimona has, like my friend from Banaras also gets! So, will be trying those recipes again!

  5. cuury looks so delicious,reminds meof home

  6. planning to make the vegetarian mutton aka kathal do pyaza your way ;-)

  7. This is the typical recipe of "mutton dopyaja" as cooked in eastern UP. This recipe is simply superb and goes best with goat meat. I never try any other mutton recipe and for some reason this recipe never ever dissappoints. The best dopyaja mutton I have eaten was in Tarkulaha Devi Mela, some 20 kms from Gorakhpur on way to Deoria. It was sacrificial goat cooked in an earthen vessel on cow dung fire.

  8. HI Sangeetaji, thanks for this recipe. Any tips for trying this in a vegetarian avtar?

    1. For a vegetarian version you can try this with Kathal (jackfruit) or even lightly fried large paneer cubes.