Lamb dopiaza

Lamb dopiaza

Reza’s Indian Spice

‘Dopiaza’ simply means ‘double onions’. In this dish, the onions are added in two different ways: one is a ground raw onion paste; the other the fried variety. Onions have long been considered an aphrodisiac. You may be titillated to know that, in the 15th century Arabic sex manual, The Perfumed Garden, Abu-el Heiloukh ate onions and remained stimulated for 30 uninterrupted days. Read into that what you will, but perhaps this is not a dish for the faint hearted.


Quantity Ingredient
2 onions, roughly chopped
3 onions, finely sliced
4 garlic cloves
5cm piece of root ginger, roughly chopped
3 green chillies
6 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
6 cloves
8 cardamom pods, crushed
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon crushed peppercorns
2 sprigs fresh curry leaves
800g lamb, in 5cm cubes
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
200g yogurt, lightly whisked
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves


  1. In a food processor, blend together the chopped onions, the garlic, ginger and chillies into a smooth paste, adding a dash of water to help break them down. Decant into a bowl and set aside.
  2. In a heavy-based pan, heat the ghee or oil over a medium-high heat, then fry the sliced onions until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper, reserving the oil in the pan.
  3. Put the reserved oil back on the heat, then add the cloves, cardamom, cumin seeds, peppercorns and curry leaves. Allow the spices to crackle for a few seconds, then add the onion paste. Reduce the heat slightly and stir-fry for five to seven minutes, making sure it does not brown.
  4. Increase the heat, then add the meat. Brown it all over, then add the turmeric, ground cumin and coriander. Continue to stir-fry for a few minutes. If the mixture begins to stick, add a dash of water and continue to stir-fry. Now add the fried onions, reserving a small handful to serve. Continue to stir-fry for a further two to three minutes, then fold in the yogurt with 1 tsp of the garam masala. Mix thoroughly and continue cooking, stirring all the time. Now add 250ml of hot water, bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the meat is tender.
  5. Add the remaining garam masala and adjust the seasoning. Scatter with the chopped coriander and reserved fried onions and serve.
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