PER L’AMORE DEL CIBO INDIANO… Chicken Dopiaza
My family loves Indian food. Well, I should say that my dad loves Indian food, and because of him, we’ve tried some Indian food and we really like it now, too. My mom tried to make a classic Indian recipe a while back, and it was a hit with my dad—that’s how you know it’s good by our family’s standards. My mom made a point to have the ingredients ready for me to make this tasty Indian dish for myself—Chicken Dopiaza!
I feel like Indian food must be so complicated to make, and I’m sure some dishes require more work than others, but this dopiaza is very simple to make. All the ingredients are added in steps, and if you follow the steps and allow the right amount of time for cooking with each, the dish should come out just like your typical Indian-restaurant dopiaza. The best part about this dish for me is the spices—ginger, coriander, cumin, chili powder, oh my! Cumin is one of my absolute favorite spices, and it really comes through in this dish, deepening its flavor and aroma. It’s so warm and satisfying, but not too heavy, which is nice because you can have a full plate and feel like you ate a good dinner, but not too much. I also love the different layers of onions in the dish. “Do” means double in Hindi, and “piaza” refers to the onions. I like having the smaller pieces of onion blend into the sauce, chicken, and garlic mixture, and then having larger pieces of onion that you can still bite into and taste their rich flavor. If and when I make it on my own, I’d try adding a spoonful of Greek yogurt to make the juices even creamier and smoother. Served atop fluffy basmati rice (we didn’t have basmati, so we just used regular rice), and you’re good to go!
Yields 3-4 servings
Adapted from Food.com Chicken Dopiaza
2 tablespoons oil (peanut or olive recommended)
3 large chicken breasts, cubed
3 large onions, 2 chopped fine and one chopped in large chunks
3-4 cloves garlic
3 bay leaves
8 cardamom pods
3 dried arbol chilies
8 black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup water
1. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large skillet and saute the large onion pieces until tender and translucent. Remove and keep aside.
2. Add the remaining oil and saute the bay leaves, cardamom, cloves, chilies and peppercorns.
3. When they crackle, add the smaller onions together with the garlic and ginger, and saute for 3 minutes.
4. Add the ground spices and salt and cook for 3 minutes.
5. Add the water and tomatoes and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes, until the sauce starts to thicken.
6. Add the chicken pieces and continue to cook for 12-15 minutes, until chicken is almost no longer pink.
7. Add the reserved large onion pieces. Cover and cook for a further 8-10 minutes until chicken has cooked completely. Serve over rice.