chicken dopiaza – indian hotel style

Chicken dopiaza. Hotel style. This is something you know. Might even be a favourite. But not quite how you might be expecting. This dopiaza brings seriously big flavours.

Onions. Spices. Green chilies. Chicken. Simple really. Nothing unusual. Until you add hotel style gravy. That makes it special. Kicks it up a notch.

The big chunks of fried onion and the fried onion garnish don’t hurt either. Lots to love here.

Hotel style is different

If you haven’t heard about hotel style I’m glad you’re here. Hotel style is about maximum flavour.

Not exactly restaurant style. Close. Really close. But tastier. The way you wish restaurants served it. Flavours that make your taste buds sit up and take notice.

Think about curries you’ve eaten at your favourite Indian restaurant. Now imagine you could do better. That you could get deeper flavours. That’s hotel style.

The same lush sauces you get in restaurants. But with all the wonderful flavours that you get with traditional Indian cooking. It’s a little bit of curry magic.

This is how they do it in Indian hotels. And really posh restaurants. Cooked to order. But true to tradition.

If you’ve ever eaten in high end restaurants in India you know what I’m talking about. This is not what they serve you at your local takeaway. This is what they serve at those restaurants you can’t get a reservation at.

No idea what I’m talking about? You can fix that. Easy. Just make this chicken dopiaza. You’ll get it. And you’ll never look back.

Front view of hotel style chicken dopiaza in a karai.

Chicken dopiaza is an ancient dish

There are famous Indian dishes that have nothing to do with India. Dishes with Indian sounding names. That trace their roots to restaurants in the UK. Chicken tikka masala is the classic example.

Chicken Dopiaza isn’t one of those. It’s the real deal. An ancient dish. Been around for centuries. I love that. Traditional Indian goes mainstream.

And there’s even a story. Bit of history. Maybe “history” is a stretch. Myth maybe? It goes back to the Moghuls. There’s even an emperor in the tale.

Once upon a time – so the fable goes – a cook in the imperial kitchen screwed up. Somehow added too many onions to a dish. Big mistake. Lucky for that cook, the emperor liked it.

So the cook didn’t get fired. Or whatever the penalty was for too many onions back then.

The cook’s name was Do Piaza.

That’s the story. But dopiaza also sounds a lot like do pyaaj. Which means two onions in Hindi.

It all seems a little too cute to me. But that’s the story. I didn’t make it up.

My spidey senses are tingling a bit. Think about it. A guy who’s name is two onions adds too many onions to a curry for an emperor. And then gets a dish named after him.

Yo. Emperor here. Mr. Two Onions – you put too many onions in this dish. But I like it. So I’m going to name it after you.


Indian hotel style chicken dopiaza with side dishes.

Four onions in this chicken dopiaza

Technically this isn’t a dopiaza. There are onions in the hotel style gravy. Lots of onions. Beautiful, deeply-browned onions.

There’s finely chopped onions in the chicken dopiaza. A little flavour boost. And a nice texture.

There’s big chunks of onion. The ones you expect in dopiaza. That satisfying bite of onion that’s fundamental to the dish.

And there’s the crispy fried onion strands to garnish. A little flourish of flavour right at the end. Really pushes it over the top.

The fried onions aren’t essential. But they are a nice touch. A bit of flash if you feel like showing off.

So if dopiaza is two onions this is actually a recipe for chaar pyaaj. Four onions. Or onions four ways.

That does not roll off the tongue. And nobody has a clue what chaar pyaaj is. So I’m calling it dopiaza.

Doesn’t matter what it’s called though. What matters is that it’s seriously tasty stuff.

Chicken dopiaza in a carbon steel karai table view.
Indian hotel chicken dopiaza in a karai bowl from above
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4.86 from 14 votes

Chicken dopiaza – Indian hotel style

Hotel style brings real depth of flavour to this chicken dopiaza.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword chicken dopiaza, dopiaza curry
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 720kcal
Author romain | glebekitchen


The onions

  • 1/2 onion – cut into large segments (petals) – about 2/3 cup total
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil – any neutral oil (look at how much is in the pan)

The spice mix

  • 1 1/2 tsp Indian restaurant spice mix – recipe link below
  • 1 tsp kashmiri chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp kasoor methi – dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

chicken dopiaza

  • vegetable oil – to get back to 4 tbsp total
  • 1/2 cup onion – finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic ginger paste – recipe link below
  • 1 cup Indian hotel curry gravy – recipe link below. Dilute it with 4 tbsp water.
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs – cut into 3 or 4 pieces each
  • 2 jwala green chili aka finger hots – seeded and cut in half and then into 1 inch pieces (for a total of 6-8 pieces).
  • 1 tbsp cilantro – minced leaves and stems

The onion garnish

  • 1/2 large onion thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil – any neutral oil


Do your prep (including the onion garnish)

  • Make your spice mix. Combine all the spices and the salt into one small bowl. Cut up your green chilies and onions. Prepare your spice mix.
  • If you are going for the onion garnish heat 2 Tbsp oil in the pan you will be making your dopiaza. Add the onions and fry until they are well brown. This takes 10-15 minutes so make sure you do it ahead of time. This adds a little something nice. It isn't critical though. So don't worry if you don't have time to do it.

Pre-cook your onions

  • Add 4 tbsp oil to the pan you will use to prepare your chicken dopiaza. Look at how much oil is in the pan. You will need to top it up a bit to get back to the same level when you make your dopiaza.
  • Add the coarsely chopped onions (big pieces). Fry until softened and edges just barely start to darken. You want them soft so don't push your pan too hard. Silky soft. A little oily. And a bit of char on the edges. That's what you want.
  • Use tongs to remove the onions. Set aside.

Make the chicken dopiaza

  • Re-heat the oil in until the oil just starts to shimmer.
  • Add the onions and stir every few seconds. Fry until the onion edges turn brown.
  • Stir in the garlic ginger paste. Cook until the garlic ginger paste stops sputtering. This should take around 30 seconds.
  • Turn your heat down to medium low and add your spice mix. This is why you need to use all the oil. You want to fry your spices. Too little oil and you risk your spices sticking or burning. Nothing you can do will fix burned spices.
  • Cook your spices for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the Indian hotel curry gravy. Stir it really well to get the oil to combine with the curry gravy. You want everything mixed together at this point. Bring to a simmer.
  • Add the chicken. Cover loosely and cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the green chilies, pre-cooked onions and cilantro. Continue to cook until the chicken is cooked through. This should take somewhere between 2 to 5 minutes depending on the size of your chicken pieces. As always it is best to use an instant read thermometer and target an internal temperature of around 175F for thighs.
  • At this point your dopiaza sauce might be a little thick. Stir in chicken stock or water, a tablespoon at a time to get the consistency you want. As much liquid as you need. This step is feel. You want your dopiaze sauce lush.
  • Garnish with the fried onions and bit of cilantro if you like.
  • Serve with rice, dal and Indian flatbreads of your choice.


Make your Indian hotel curry gravy ahead of time. It takes time to make so think about doing it the day before.
I use this Indian restaurant spice mix in most of my Indian restaurant style curries.
For maximum flavour you should consider making your garlic ginger paste from scratch.


Serving: 2servings | Calories: 720kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 49g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 194mg | Sodium: 2022mg | Potassium: 1148mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 878IU | Vitamin C: 62mg | Calcium: 106mg | Iron: 6mg

30 thoughts on “chicken dopiaza – indian hotel style”

    • Absolutely although I think you’d be best to pre-braise the lamb if you want to have the onions cooked correctly. The timing of the dish was worked out with chicken in mind.

  1. 5 stars
    Well what a curry this is, upscaled this tonight for my family (5) people, so tasty and the crispy onions on top make all the difference.
    Thanks Romain!

  2. 5 stars
    Another great recipe.

    I used grass fed pork instead of chicken in this one. Turned out great. Pork is a staple meat here in the Yucatan, so I am always looking for recipes where I can make the switch.

    PS: The clients have loved it.


    • Jacque – delighted to hear it went over well at the restaurant (and just to hear from you period)!

  3. Hi Romain
    Made this Dopiaza at the weekend for my family along with the restaurant vindaloo for myself…wow is all I can say, thankyou for the time that must have gone into creating this website, the food tasted amazing, have a batch of base left for a nice Rogan Josh this coming weekend 👍

    • 4 stars
      I second what Gary says. This website more than any other has given my family and I so much joy. My health isn’t always great and cooking the things I used to have in restaurants – and a whole lot more now – is a joy I can’t explain. Thank you Romain.

  4. Hi Romain, just come to the end of my last batch of base gravy, Hotel Style Gravy on the go as I type .

    First up will be this Dopiaza but just a quick question. I have a bag of Bassar Kasmiri spice mix , this I can use as my spice mix for the recipe . Should I then omit the other spices and maybe increase the Kasmiri mix a tad ?


    • I don’t know what you will get if you do that. It won’t be the same certainly. I looked at one blend and the blend is quite different from what’s in the recipe (no fenugreek powder, no bay, more turmeric etc).

      Chili powder is the first ingredient in the one I looked at so you can probably leave out the Kashmiri chili powder. I assume decreasing quantities in the order listed. Maybe go 2 1/2 tsp of your masala plus the cumin and coriander. Or not. Like I said – I have no way of knowing what will come out the other side without trying it.

      For sure I would keep the kasoor methi though, no matter what you decide to do.

      Good luck! I’m pretty sure it will be tasty in any case…

  5. I just love your restaurant style curries and I now want to try the Hotel style. I would love to make a chicken dopiaza for boxing day for 8 people but I don’t trust myself to do it with everyone around as I really need to concentrate. Do you think I could make the curry, freeze and re-heat it on the day?
    Also, could you tell me what a jwalas chilli is. Is it anything like what we in UK call a finger chilli or Thai chilli?

    • Thank you! I hope you enjoy the hotel curries as much as the restaurant ones and that your Boxing Day dinner is a huge success!

      I’ve never tried freezing a curry but I do know people who do and they seem to find it works. Another possibility might be to take the recipe to the point before you add the chicken and freeze that. Kind of a supercharged dopiaza version of the hotel gravy. You could just finish the dish right before your guests arrive and just warm it up for dinner?

      Jwalas are finger chilies. Much milder than the Thai chilies.

    • I freeze all my meat curries. You can freeze any meat that has been cooked in a sauce and keep it for up to 6 months. The sauce prevents it from getting freezer burn.

      I also freeze all my Dal’s and defrost them as I need them.

      I have been running a restaurant on this basis for 6 years. People tell me that our curries are as good as any they have ever eaten. We use a hotel style of cooking. So the freezing does not detract from the flavor, it perhaps drives the spices even deeper into the meat.

      I don’t recommend freezing vegetable curries. Most vegetables don’t have the same texture when defrosted. The exceptions are Palak, shredded cabbage and shredded beets, these all freeze well.

  6. Cooked this one tonight after preparing the Hotel curry gravy. Fantastic flavours and a truly lovely curry. Took me way longer than 20 minutes but that’s just me – can never get a meal done in the suggested time. I’d give the result about 4.5/5 ( it really was good). I need to find some jwala chillies here in Adelaide to get to 5 I think – or grow my own. I had to just settle for the non descript ones in the green grocers.

  7. Hi Romain

    Thanks for all this information.

    It provides everything I needed to make sense of cooking Indian restaurant-style food and I have to commend you for it.

    The photography isn’t bad either.

  8. Your site, especially with the hotel gravy, is introducing me to cooking Indian I never thought I could. I too, love the authentic recipes, and this one looks amazing. 😀

  9. 5 stars
    This is one of my favourites yet! The only think i got confused about was after i had cooked the petal onions it didnt mention them again?


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