Chicken Do Pyaza is a much liked Chicken recipe at my home and is one recipe that has never let me down. I have made and served Chicken Do Pyaza for my guests and my husband’s office colleagues and each time this recipe has attracted rave reviews from them. My journey with this dish is quite fascinating and needs to be mentioned and this is exactly what I intend to do in this post before we go through the recipe.
Dear readers, Chicken has always been a common factor in our food habits or I must say it has been the building block of our relationship. Being brought up in a Konkani household meant that seafood was a natural choice in a non-vegetarian meal for me.
This natural choice in case of Pranay was mutton and this would have led us into a deadlock unless we had not decided to gravitate towards the common factor of Chicken. It wasn’t an alien food to me as I had seen my father eat it during my childhood. I learnt to keep away possibly observing my mother who despite being an avid cook never consumed meat from poultry or mutton. After having moved to a different city due to my job, I couldn’t let my whims and fancies command my food choices. Once you move out from the confines of your home and have to earn and cook for yourself, you tend to acquire many new food habits and chicken is an acquired food choice for me.
After getting married, while I was on lookout for different Murg recipes (I somehow use that word often over chicken-possibly due to the royal feel attached to it), my in-laws assisted me in my endeavor. Besides sharing their heirloom recipes with me, they would also narrate the stories attached with those recipes. I have matured in my family listening to these stories and these are now etched in my mind. These are the stories I like to tell on this blog.
Today’s story goes like this. Back in Hasruali, a sleepy little village in state of Uttar-Pradesh where my in-laws belong to, resides our Tauji (father’s elder brother). He is an avid cook but would cook nothing but Shikhaar-meat. In pre-independence days, the warrior clan would often go on hunting (Shikhaar) and would eat wild games as part of daily food habits. However, after independence when hunting was legally banned consumption of wild games was replaced with mutton and chicken meat but the term Shikhaar still persists. In fact, usage of that word is far too common even today. My 10-year-old nephew urges his dad every Sunday to go and get some Shikhaar, which refers to heading to the nearest butcher shop and buying some goat meat. And I digress for the umpteenth time. Coming back to the story, like most of the families in the village, women (most but not all) in our family would neither cook the non-veg meal nor eat it. While ladies would never venture into cooking, their assistance would be called in for what modern chefs today call as ‘mise-en-place’ –prep work (which in this case was chopping onions, tomatoes or preparing fresh masala). So Tauji had entrusted it upon himself to cook and serve the delicious mutton curries to the family. Every Sunday, he would procure the mutton from butcher, wash and clean it, setup a Chulha (traditional cooking stove) and slow-cook the mutton until perfection. It would mostly be Do-Pyaza preparation. It was his responsibility to prepare the meal and serve it to kids. While he would do it with all the love in his heart, the funny part was this -He had to check if the meat is cooked every few minutes. This meant he would ladle out some pieces of meat, bite into it, murmur to himself and then continue to cook. This cycle would repeat itself several times and in due course pieces would keep vanishing from the pot and finally mutton would reduce to half the original quantity. By the time dish would be ready to be served into plates of hungry kids, what would be left would just be some bony pieces with some gravy. Poor Kids!
Tauji is in his 80s now and all the kids have grown up and settled in different cities. Still Tauji’s eyes light up when Tayiji or his daughter in laws cook Shikaar for the family. My father in law gets teary eyed narrating these rib tickling comic situation.
Today I am sharing with you the same recipe which is cooked in those rural kitchen on a slow heat of Chulha- Murg 2 pyaza. I have been making this recipe in home ever since I was married in this family. It’s the family tradition.
If you are wondering why the dish is named as ‘Do-Pyaza’, here are some interesting tales that can possibly help you understand the reason. According to a legend this dish was created when a courtier named Mullah do piaza in Mughal emperor Akbar’s durbar accidentally added a large quantity of onions to a dish. The dish evolved further in Hyderabad, India, and became a staple of Hyderabadi cuisine.
As per the second theory, ‘Do pyaza’ refers to twice the amount of onions (by weight) as that of the main ingredient – chicken, paneer etc. This makes the ‘gravy’ very thick and sweetish. The onions are cooked very slowly so that they don’t caramelize fast, instead cooking down to a paste and forming a thick gravy.
A third theory states that it was so named because in ‘Do Pyaza’ onions are added at two stages- first finely chopped onions are added, sautéed and browned. When the mutton or the chicken is half cooked, coarsely chopped are added later nearer the end of cooking and kept transparent. (This is the theory that I subscribe to)
A flavorful Masala Blend goes into making of this recipe. You can find the recipe of this blend here. Make this lip-smacking delectable chicken gravy for your weekend lunch, pair it up with hot Phulkas and some steamed rice and reap shower of praises from your family.
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- 1 Kg Chicken
- 500 Gms Onions
- 250 Gms sliced into lengths for Tadka
- 250 Gms Onions -Cut into Cubes
- Salt to taste
- Mustard Oil
- 2 tbsp Clarified Butter
- 12-14 Dry red Chilies (medium spicy)
- 2 inch Ginger root
- 12-15 Cloves of Garlic
- 3½ tbsp Meat Masala Powder (Check our 'Uttar Pradesh Playlist' for UP special meat masala recipe )
- 5 Cloves
- 2 inch Cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 5 Green Cardamom
- 3-4 Bay Leaf
- Tadka: 3-4 Garlic (chopped) and red chilies
- Remove stems of Chilies. Soak chilies in some warm water for 10 mins.
- We will now make a Masala Paste. Grind soaked red Chilies, ginger, garlic into a fine and thick paste
- Add 5-6 tbsp Mustard Oil in a pan and allow Oil to heat up. Now add Bay Leaf, Cloves, Cinnamon stick, Green Cardamom and Cumin Seeds.
- Add Sliced Onions and fry until Onions become brown in color (Onions become brown in 12-13 mins)
- Add Chicken pieces and sear on high heat for 3-4 mins. After 3 mins reduce the heat and cook covered for 10 mins on low heat.
- Uncover after 10 mins. Now, add Masala Paste and 3 tbsp. Special Meat Masala Powder and mix well.
- Add Salt to taste and add Onions cut into cubes (We will add Onions in this recipe at two stages-Sliced Onions in Tadka and now we use Onion Cubes. This explains why this recipe is called Do Pyaza.)
- Cover and cook on low heat
- Chicken is cooked in total 25 mins. Now, Switch off the heat.
- We will temper with ghee before serving.
- For tempering, heat 1 tbsp Clarified Butter. Add Chopped Garlic and red chilies. Pour this Tadka over the Chicken.
- Murg Do Pyaza is ready. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with some Butter Rotis and veg salad
Click here to watch recipe video