Thursday, December 24, 2015

Simple Indian Cooking : Chicken Do Piaza

HOW TO COOK CHICKEN DO PYAZA (Also Spelt Pyaaza or Piaza)
Easy Recipe

In these days of Butter Chicken Kadhai Chicken and Handi Chicken it is very rare to get an authentic Chicken Do Piaza”.

Last evening, we decided to order food from a neighbourhood eatery called Mother’s Kitchen in Wakad Pune.

I was happy to find Chicken Do Piaza on the Menu.

To my pleasant surprise, it was quite a tasty Do Piaza (also spelt Do Pyaza or Do Pyaaza - but I will use the spelling DO PIAZA).

Eating this Do Piaza brought back nostalgic mouthwatering memories of the Do Piaza I used to cook for my friends many years ago during my navy days (my pure vegetarian wife would cook the veg food and I would cook the non-veg dish).

So, let me delve deep into my Foodie Writing Archives and pull out this piece on Do Piaza which I wrote more than 15 years ago and also features in my Foodie Adventures Book APPETITE FOR A STROLL

Happy Cooking and Happy Eating

An Easy Recipe for the ultimate Mughlai Dish  
From my Foodie Writing Archives:

One of my favourite Recipes  Chicken Do Piaza  my favourite Chicken Curry. 

It is easy to cook and tastes delicious.

If you prefer mutton, then mutton do piaza can be cooked the same way. 

Only thing, before you marinate mutton, rubbing a bit of raw papaya paste makes it a bit tender.

Sadly, very few restaurants in Pune feature Do Piaza on their menu, since most Indian Non-Veg Cuisine (in restaurants out here in Pune) is either Kolhapuri or Punjabi. 

Even the minuscule few eateries that have Do Piaza on their menus, and serve this dish, do such a terrible job of cooking it  they almost “murder” this Mughlai Delicacy. 

So it is best to cook this wonderful dish at home. 

THE STORY OF DO PIAZA – Why This Dish is called Do Piaza
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 Mutton or Chicken Do Piaza does not 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, who was one of the Navaratnas (nine jewels) at Akbar's Court.

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, orPyaza, or Pyaaza  spell it whichever way you like.  
The Urdu or Hindi word "Do" refers to the number 2 (Two)

So we have the first Piaza and the second Piaza  making it Do Piaza...!
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 into rings  yes  round separate onion rings.

The more the onions rings  the sweeter the gravy. 

Now, in a large cooking vessel, put in the chicken pieces.

Add a liberal amount of curds and mix well with the chicken pieces. 

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 with the marinated chicken on a slow fire with the lid on.

Let the chicken cook slowly in its own juices and the juices released by the onion rings.

Cook on slow fire with lid covered till the onion rings are reduced to a pulp.

Soon the the liquid will almost dry up. 

Shut the flame. 

The first Piaza is ready.

Yes, this is the First “Piaza”!

In another pan  pour in and heat pure ghee.

When the ghee is hot put in sliced onions (the “second” piaza).

(Please Note – the first Piaza has Round Onions Rings and the second Piaza has Sliced Onions)

Fry the sliced onions till crisp brown.

Add finely chopped ginger and garlic, bay leaf, slit green chillies, cardamoms, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns and fry for some time till the spices release their flavour.

Then add an adequate amount of chopped tomatoes.

Stir the gravy gently and fry on slow fire.

DO PIAZA (Adding the First Piaza to the Second Piaza)

When the ghee separates from the gravy  add the “First Piaza” which you have already cooked. 

Yes  add the dry cooked chicken [cooked in curds and onion rings] from the first pot to the hot gravy simmering in the second pot.

Increase the flame.

Stir fry till well browned and the gravy becomes nice and thick.

I do not like to add garam masala, turmeric, red chilli powder, or any other spice powders  but if you like it  go ahead.

Add salt to taste and give a stir.

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.

When the gravy is nicely browned and ready, garnish with fresh green coriander and take off the flame.

Remember, DO NOT ADD WATER AT ANY STAGE OF THE COOKING or you will ruin the dish.

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

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.

The good Do Piaza looks appetizing – nicely browned generous pieces of succulent chicken, 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. 

A Do Piaza is tasty – but not spicy hot like most Indian Curries. 

A good Do Piaza is mild and flavoursome – and the unique sweet zest of onions is discernible. 

As you savour a Do Piaza  the heavenly medley of flavours and fragrances synergizes inside you  and you feel a sense of supreme satisfaction.

You must eat this dish hot and fresh.

Relish the Chicken Do Piaza with hot chapatis,  phulkas, naan, roti, kulcha or even a piece of soft fluffy bun, pav or fresh bread  and you will experience sheer bliss.

Happy Cooking and Happy Eating Chicken Do Piaza. 

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