Chicken Dopiaza (Traditional)
Dopiaza is a dish from Bengal (which is beautiful). The name Dopiaza is from the Hindi for two, do, and onions, piaz. Now then, the name Dopiaza does not have to refer to this dish. I have heard it used to describe different dishes where onions are either used a lot, or where onions are used in different ways during the cooking process. This recipe is of the later form, but that does not imply that your favourite Dopiaza is somehow inferior or fake if it is not prepared like this one :)
Having said that, I love this version of Dopiaza.
chilli powder Note: we used 3 tsp of freshly made chilli powder, use whatever type and amount you want. I don't want to coerce you into eating a curry that is too hot for you.
a couple of bay leaves, fresh or dried
a couple of inches or cinnamon stick
some whole red chillies Note: Get the thin ones like birds-eye if you can, we used 3 chunky ones
1/2 tsp tumeric Note: you never need much of this; be careful as it will stain (it was used as a dye, and probably still is)
1 tsp of cloves, that's about 10-12 of them
1 tsp peppercorns Note: these will remain whole so feel free to grind them up if you don't want to risk biting into one and getting a spice surprise, yum :)
1 tsp garam masala powder
6 big garlic cloves, more if you've got tiddley ones
2 tablespoons garlic puree. Our store ran out of fresh so we cheated - in this dish supermarket ginger puree is a-ok anyway.
1lb of chicken breast, or a whole chicken weighing a bit more. Note: This dish can be prepared with chucks of chicken breast or a whole chicken cut up in the normal way. We prefer chicken breast, but each to their own.
1/2 cup (that's about 125ml) any full-fat plain yoghurt
sunflower oil or ghee
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tomatoes, chopped
8-10 small potatoes, or larger ones chopped into roughly 2" square chunks
a small bag of shallots or baby onions Note: use as many as you like
2-3 medium onions to be grated or food processed.
1 tsp sugar
Make a paste of your chilli powder with a little water.
Set the oven to about 160C (No idea about F. Non fan oven will need 10-20C more).
Grate/process the 2-3 medium onions and then squeeze the juice out with a cheesecloth or somesuch. Get rid of the pulp and save the juice. You should have 1/3-1/2 cup of juice (yes, we made too much).
Peel the potatoes and chop them up, or just scrape them if you are using new (baby) potatoes. Then you must part-boil them - just bring them to the boil from cold water and leave them bubbling for a minute. Drain and put them to one side.
Meanwhile, peel the shallots and start them off cooking in a couple of tablespoons of oil. When they look like the photo, remove them with a slotted spoon and put to one side.
Now fry the chilli paste and fry over a medium heat for a few minutes. This will improve flavour and prevent indigestion later on. Stir constantly, as you do not want the paste to stick or burn.
Add the garlic and bay leaves and continue to fry for a couple of minutes. Watch the garlic. We don't want it to burn or crisp. So vary the heat as needs be.
Now add the whole red chillies, turmeric powder, cardamom, cloves and the cinnamon stick.
Stir round about ten or so times, then add the ginger puree and continue to stir for 2 more minutes.
Note: watch out for the ginger puree - it has a high water content and will spit when added to hot oil!
Ok, now add the butter, chicken, yoghurt, sugar, potatoes and tomatoes. Mix well and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the garam masala, onion juice and the shallots and mix. Transfer to an oven dish (we cooked in an oven dish from the start) and cook in the oven for about 30-45 minutes, depending on how long it takes to get the potatoes cooked through. If it dries out too much than just add a bit of boiling water.
Serve with boiled rice, yoghurt and a nice white wine that's a touch on the sweet side and very, very cold.
I hope you try this and enjoy it as much as we do.
Final note: I guess I better say, don't eat the whole cardamoms or cinnamom stick!
Variation: If you don't like the idea of using whole spices, then grind them uo beforehand.