Dopiaza was the first Indian curry I remember eating as a child in the Ganges Restaurant in Newtownards. During the mid 90’s I wasn't exactly enamoured with Indian food and would beg my parents for a McDonalds in Dundonald en route to Ards most Friday evenings. I don’t recall them ever giving in to my demands, thankfully, as my appreciation for Indian food started to progress from solely naan bread to naan bread & Dopiaza. The large quantities of onions in the dish gives the curry a natural sweetness and with no chilli it’s a great option to prepare for kids.
I used Lamb Rump in this dish which is my favourite cut of lamb at present. When braised low and slow in a gravy the rump breaks down producing succulent and tender morsels of lamby goodness. The fat content of a rump also renders down and adds to the richness of the curry.
For the spice mix
Black Cardamon 3
Black Pepper 1 Teaspoon
Tumeric 0.5 Teaspoon
Cumin 0.5 Teaspoon
Ground Coriander 1 Teaspoon
Garam Masala 2 Teaspoons
Fenugreek 1 Teaspoon
Cinnamon 0.5 Teaspoon
Chilli Powder 2 Teaspoons
For the main body of the dish
Lamb (Neck/Shoulder/Leg) off the bone
Ghee 3 Tablespoons
White onions 5
Garlic cloves 5
Tinned Tomatoes 1
Tomato Puree 1 Tablespoon
Chicken Stock Pot 2
Juice of 1 Lemon
1. Cooking a Dopiaza starts the same way as the majority of curries, by chopping onions. So roughly chop 5 onions and place them into a large saucepan with 2 tablespoons of melted ghee. Fry on a medium to low heat for about 15 minutes until they caramalise then add the garlic and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes. This is probably the most crucial part of the cooking process as the long slow caramelisation of the onions gives the dish a great depth of flavour. You are aiming for the onions to be a dark brown colour.
2. To the fried onions add the spice mixture and combine with the onions. On a very low heat continually stir the spiced onion mixture ensuring the spices don’t catch.
3. Chop the lamb into cubes around 1 inch thick and place into a screaming hot cast iron pan with 1 tablespoon of ghee. You want to sear the meat which will add another rich depth of flavour to the curry. In a hot pan, this should take around 5 minutes.
4. Add the tomato puree to the spiced onion mixture and cook for one minute before adding the seared lamb.
5. The last step of assembling the curry is too add the liquid ingredients in the tomato puree, chicken stock pots, the juice of 1 Lemon and 500ml water. I also like adding some chopped coriander before reducing the curry as this imparts a freshness to the dish.
6. Reduce the curry for around 1 hour on low heat ensuring to stir every 15 minutes or so. After 1 hour the lamb should be super tender and the sauce rich with great depth of flavour.
7. I served with basmati rice and naan bread and garnished with a touch of fresh coriander.
Hope you enjoy,