Wednesday, August 25, 2010

CHICKEN DO PIAZA A Simple recipe for the ultimate Mughlai dish

How to Cook and Eat CHICKEN DO PIAZA  
A Simple recipe for the ultimate Mughlai dish  

From my Foodie Archives: One of my favourite Recipes 
If you want a first impression of the authenticity of a “Mughlai” Restaurant, the first dish you must order and taste is a “Do Piaza” and it will give you an idea of the standard and authenticity of Mughlai Cuisine you can expect there.

Indeed the “Do Piaza” may be considered the culinary benchmark to judge and evaluate a Mughlai Restaurant.

And if Do Piaza [Mutton or Chicken] doesn’t figure on the menu, you better order Chinese or Continental, or stick to the ubiquitous "Punjabi" Butter Chicken-Naan routine!
“Do Piaza” means “two onions” or rather “double onions”.

Now how did this dish get its name?

Maybe it’s apocryphal, but legend has it that this delicious dish was invented by Mullah Do-Piaza, a renowned and celebrated cook at the Mughal Emperor Akbar’s court. One of the Navaratnas (nine jewels), it is said he could conjure up culinary delights using only two onions, and a Mughlai dish cooked in that particular style is called a “Do Piaza”.
Water is not used at all when cooking a Do Piaza.

Onions (Piaz or Pyaaz) are used twice – hence the name “Do” [“Two”] Piaza, or Pyaaza, spell it whichever way you like.
Come Dear Reader and fellow Foodie... let us together cook a Chicken Do Piaza. It takes time, but it’s easy.


First cut a generous number of onions (the more the onions the sweeter the gravy) into rings, yes separate onion rings.

Now, in a large cooking vessel, put in the chicken pieces, add a liberal amount of curds and mix well. Copiously layer the chicken-curd mixture with the onion rings, cover with a tight lid and set aside to marinate for at least an hour.

Remember, do not vigorously mix in the onion rings; just liberally layer the chicken-curd mélange with the onion rings.

After marinating the chicken-curd-onion ring mixture for an hour or more, place the vessel on a slow fire with the lid on, and let the chicken cook slowly in its own juices and those released by the onion rings, till the onion rings are reduced to a pulp and, finally, the liquid almost dries up.

This is the first “Piaza”!


In another pan, pour in and heat pure ghee and fry sliced onions (the “second” piaza) till crisp brown, add finely chopped ginger and garlic, bay leaf, slit green chillies, cardamoms, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, and then an adequate amount of chopped tomatoes, stir and fry on slow fire, and when the ghee separates, add the chicken [cooked in curds and onion rings] from the first pot, and stir fry till well browned and the gravy becomes nice and thick.

I don’t like to add garam masala, turmeric, red chilli powder, or any other spice powders; but if you like it, go ahead.

I always find it best to taste the gravy and add the minimal amount of salt as necessary almost at the end of the cooking process.

Remember, do not add water at any stage or you will ruin the dish.

A “Do Piaza” cooks in its own juices – during both the first and second “piazas”.

Place in a serving dish, squeeze a lemon, garnish with fresh green chopped coriander and your Chicken Do Piaza is ready to eat.

But first let’s “visually” savour the Do Piaza in our mind’s eye.

It looks appetizing – nicely browned generous pieces of succulent mutton, in translucent juicy onion rings in scrumptious gravy.

It smells good too – heavenly mouth-watering aroma wafts towards you making you smack your lips and salivate in anticipation of the gastronomic treat that awaits you.

It tastes marvellous – absolutely delicious, not spicy hot, but mild and flavoursome, the unique sweetish zest of onions is discernible and as the heavenly medley of flavours and fragrances synergizes inside you, and you feel a sense of supreme satisfaction.

Relish the Chicken Do Piaza with hot chappties, phulkas or even a piece of soft fluffy pav, and you will experience sheer bliss.

How to Cook and Eat CHICKEN DO PIAZA  
A Simple recipe for the ultimate Mughlai dish  
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2010
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.  

VIKRAM KARVE educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU and The Lawrence School Lovedale, is an Electronics and Communications Engineer by profession, a Human Resource Manager and Trainer by occupation, a Teacher by vocation, a Creative Writer by inclination and a Foodie by passion. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles in magazines and journals for many years before the advent of blogging. His delicious foodie blogs have been compiled in a book "Appetite for a Stroll". Vikram lives in Pune with his family and pet Doberman girl Sherry, with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts. 

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Deeba PAB said...

Mutton do piaza is one of our favourite winter dishes, and I have often wondered whether the chicken would fall of the bone while bhunoing it for a chicken do piaza. Your version is certainly intriguing. have to try it soon! Loved the way you wrote the recipe!

Vikram Waman Karve said...

Hi Deepa,
Thanks for your comment.
You are right - mutton do piaza is the true authentic dish. But I decided to experiment with chicken too - and if one is careful and gentle and keeps the fire low the chicken does not fall off the bone.
All the Best
Happy Eating