Thursday, June 14, 2012


A Simple Recipe for the ultimate Mughlai Dish  
From my Foodie 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
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, or Pyaaza, spell it whichever way you like.  
The word "Do" refers to the number "Two" in Urdu or Hindi. 

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.
The First Piaza
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. 

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”!
The Second Piaza
In another pan, pour in and heat pure ghee.

When the ghee is hot put in sliced onions (the “second” piaza) and fry 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 an adequate amount of chopped tomatoes.

Stir the gravy gently and fry on slow fire.

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

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

Increase the flame 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.

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 or you will ruin the dish.

A “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.

It 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 sweetish 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 chappties, phulkas or even a piece of soft fluffy pav, and you will experience sheer bliss.

Happy Eating. 

PS: Dear Reader - Do tell us about your favourite place for Mughlai Food, especially Do Piaza. And do share your recipe for Do Piaza.
And if you live in Pune, do let us know if you come across an authentic Mughlai Do Piaza in Pune. 

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2012
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., all rights reserved.

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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories, creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional research papers in journals and edited in-house journals for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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1 comment:

Vikram Waman Karve said...

@ Rudraksha - Thanks. Enjoy the dish.