Dopiaza (Indian Onion Curry Recipe)

Dopiaza (Indian Onion Curry Recipe) Recipe

This Indian dish consists of a generous amount of onions, both cooked in the curry (masala) and as a garnish. Onions are added at two stages during cooking, hence the name dopiaza in Urdu ("two onions"), [according to Wikipedia]. The sauce contains onions of course, ghee and yogurt and is flavored with ginger-garlic paste as well as several Indian spices.

Our garden is still filled with the red Creole onions Lulu planted this season. The onions are so fragrant and prolific; I thought the best way to use a large quantity was to make dopiaza. I tried to choose same-sized onions for even cooking.

If you have leftovers, you can make upside-down savory onion tarts the next day. 

Creole Onion Recipe with Picture


Yields: 6 servings

2 pounds onions
2 tablespoons canola oil (or any neutral oil)
1 yellow onion, chopped
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
2 green cardamom pods, slightly crushed
1 small stick cinnamon
3 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste (see tips)
2 jalapeño peppers
4 dried red chiles, as needed
1 teaspoon ground coriander, freshly ground
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1-½ teaspoons salt
2-½ tablespoons ghee
¼ cup plain yogurt


Prepping the Creole onions:

Trim both ends. Remove the stalks and reserve them for another dish (they are very flavorful). Peel the onions.

Prepping the chile peppers:

Using a paring knife, create a 2-inch incision in the jalapeño peppers. For less heat, I remove the seeds (don't forget to wear disposable gloves). Set aside.

Making the curry sauce (masala):

In a large pan, heat the canola oil. Cook the yellow onion for about 6-8 minutes until soft and nicely golden. Leaving as much oil as possible in the pan, transfer to a platter. Set aside.

In the same pan, add 2 tablespoons of ghee. Once it's melted, add the mustard seeds and garlic cloves.  They will start popping in the ghee. Add the ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder, ground coriander, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, red chili powder and dried red chiles. Once the ginger garlic paste is fragrant, add the cooked yellow onions, jalapeño peppers and yogurt. Cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat.

Assembly time:

Transfer half the amount of cooked sauce into a blender . Coarsely blend the mixture and pour it back into the pot.

Add the whole Creole onions. Add 2 to 2-½ cups of water; the water should barely cover the Creole onions. Bring to a boil then lower to a gentle simmer; cook, covered, for about 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Salt half-way through the cooking process (it will bring out the natural flavor of the onions and they'll be more tender) and keep stirring every now and then so the onions don't stick to the bottom of the pot.

Check the liquid and periodically add more water and cook a bit longer if not fully cooked. Check the softness of the onions; the texture should be soft but they shouldn't fall apart. Finish with little mounds of ghee over the onions. Adjust seasoning and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes over low-heat. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Serve with paratha (whole wheat flat Indian bread).

Bon appétit!


I usually make this dish using smaller pearl onions.

Ghee is the Indian version of clarified butter. You can find it in jars at Indian stores (I also find it at Costco). But if you don't have ghee, you can use butter instead.

For a vegan version, just omit the ghee and yogurt and increase the amount of onions.

You could also add cubed chicken, shrimp or lamb to the sauce.

For more dishes using the onion curry, check out baghare baingan, curried garbanzo beans or stuffed Indian bittermelons.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on July 6, 2010.


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