GMT: Chicken do-piaza with a Twist!

by Shumaila

After a fun filled two weeks, V and I came back to an empty house today. We saw my parents off on their way to Phoenix.

Dad leaves for India on Thursday, after he and mom spend Wednesday in Phoenix with their friends. Mom stays in US till 7th October but we get her back home only on Sunday. Till then she stays with her friends in Phoenix.

I hate it.

I hate that they are gone (a little consolation that mom is going to be back soon), but its quiet, and will be quieter tomorrow when V goes to office.

I miss them. I miss my parents.

And its only been a few hours.

Seriously, how do people get used to not having their parents around?

You think you are doing fine without them, and one visit from them or one visit to them, and that whole bubble of independence bursts.


I miss cooking for them.

Actually, I miss mom cooking for me.
I miss her taroi sabzi.
And dal.
And aloo sabzi.
And her rotis.
And dad’s omelets.


I cooked for them too!

Don’t believe me?
I don’t blame you if you don’t.
But I did.


Chicken do-piaza was the last thing I cooked for them before they left and thought would share it for today’s GMT.

Now, onions form an integral part of the Indian way of life. Some people refuse to eat a meal without having a plate full of onions on the side. My father-in-law is one such person. V too is an onion person- pizza toppings, burger fillings, on the side, in the dish- V loves his onions.

So do Indian recipes.

Onions not only enhances taste, but render bulk to the gravy in Indian cooking. Its one of the important ingredients used in making Indian gravies, sides dishes and many more dishes.

It is also the reason behind the name of today’s dish.

Do-piaza (or, loosely translated, onions twice) is an Indian dish where the meat is cooked in ghee with onions added twice in the cooking process of the dish.

The origins of do-piaza go back to the Mughal Empire.

One of Emperor Akbar’s navratnas (courtier)- Abdul Momin or Mullah Do Piaza, as he was referred to, accidentally added onions twice in the cooking process and thus came into being the famous Do Piaza.

There are two stages of adding the onions during cooking this dish. The first is adding of onions in the gravy- pehla piaza.Second, is when you add the fried pieces of onion slices to the finishing- do piaza.

Present day, a contemporary restaurant version comes infused in cream and almonds, and in some cases garnished with strips of omelet and snipped coriander.


Adapted from Savvy Cookbook Supplement

The ingredient list is long, but the procedure isn’t. The orange and brandy give a different flavor to the gravy. I have always had do-piaza with Indian flatbreads, but, since this dish was more of a curry dish, I decided to serve it with rice. We all at our house loved this rendition of do-piaza.

Instead of cooking the whole dish in ghee, this recipe uses a combination of mustard oil and ghee. The sharpness of the mustard oil lends a pungent aroma, superbly enhancing the taste. It’s also healthier. Of course, if you don’t have mustard oil, you can use all ghee.

Since the onions will also add sweetness to the dish, I would recommend using freshly squeezed orange juice. If using store bought reduce the amount called for, else the dish might turn out too sweet. I speak from experience. And even though my mom loved the combination of sweet and heat, my dad found it a tad sweeter than his liking. Having said that, he still went for second and third helpings.

It is important to cook the dish on a low flame, without any water. The water released by the onions cook the meat in its own juices, making it unbelievably delicious.


  • 400 gm boneless chicken
  • 3 tbsp chives
  • 750 gms Onions ( about 2 1/2 large red onions)
  • 250 gm tomato puree
  • 100 ml mustard oil
  • 80 gm ghee
  • a little whole garam masala ( you could use ground garam masala as well- a little will go a long way)
  • 20 gm coriander seeds
  • 10 gm cumin seeds
  • 3 green cardamom
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 5 gm peppercorn
  • 3 gm fennel seeds
  • 10 gm red chilli powder ( I added a little more than called for)
  • 20 gm ginger-garlic paste
  • 200 gm curd
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 40 ml brandy
  • 60 gm cashew paste
  • 40 ml cream
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Marinate chicken in curd, ginger-garlic paste and turmeric for two hours in the refrigerator.
  2. Crush the whole spices.
  3. Chop half the onions finely and slice the other half.
  4. Finely chop chives.
  5. Heat the ghee and mustard oil till very hot.
  6. Fry the sliced onions and chives for a few minutes. Remove.
  7. Add the remaining onions and brown them. (first piaza)
  8. Add tomato puree, red chilli powder and cashew paste. Cook till the tomato paste leaves oil on the side.
  9. Add chicken and simmer on low, till the chicken is almost cooked.
  10. Add the remaining ingredients- orange juice, brandy, cashew paste, fried sliced onions (second piaza) and let simmer for 8 minutes. Season with salt.
  11. Serve garnished with some coriander leaves.