lamb dopiaza

Dopiaza or dopyaza translates from Persian as either “double onion” or “onion added twice”. Consequently, this recipe has twice as many onions as you might expect and they are added in two stages into the dish. This produces a slightly sweet dish, with a quite voluptuous texture.

This dish is like a korma, with the lamb braised in yoghurt, but is much simpler in its preparation.

This is another dish attributed to the kitchens of the Mughal Emperor Akbar and is another great example of Mughlai cuisine. It is a hallmark of Lucknavi cuisine.

You must be patient cooking this recipe. The lamb will take about one to two hours to cook on a low simmer, then it might take up to another half an hour to reduce the sauce. However, the preparation can be ridiculously simple. It is a one-pot dish, and you don’t have to cook each set of ingredients individually. The method of cooking will highlight the flavour of the onions and the lamb.

Asking your butcher to prepare the lamb shoulder will save you a lot of time. Yes, you could leave the bones out and just use diced lamb. But, by preparing the recipe as specified you will be rewarded with a greatly developed favour.

We usually serve this dish with plain rice and a simple vegetable dish.

the recipe

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  • wide pan with lid


  • 1.2 kg lamb shoulder - see notes

for the gravy

to finish

to serve


  • Toast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon, black peppercorns and cardamom pods in a small pan on medium heat. When aromatic, remove from heat, allow to cool, then grind to a coarse powder.

for the gravy

  • Heat the ghee in a deep, heavy-bottomed pot on medium heat.
  • Place the chopped onions, garlic, ginger, the ground spices, turmeric, Kashmiri chillies and salt into the pot and mix well. Add the lamb, then add the yoghurt one spoon at a time whilst gently mixing. Add the water and reserved lamb bones and gently bring the pot to boil, stirring continuously.
  • Cover the pot, reduce the heat to very low and simmer for one and a half hours, stirring occasionally.

to finish

  • Uncover the pan and remove the lamb bones then add the sliced onion. Mix well and raise the heat to medium. Cook for another 30 minutes, stirring frequently. The gravy should reduce and the onions and the lamb should soften.
  • The curry is cooked when you have a thick rich creamy sauce, with the lamb soft enough to cut with a fork.

to serve

  • Turn into a serving bowl and dress with the coriander leaves. Serve.


  • Ask your butcher to bone the shoulder and cut the meat into 5cm chunks. Retain the bones as you will cook with them.
  • The time taken to reduce the sauce will depend on the moisture content of the meat, and how hot you keep the pot. Too high a heat and you will risk burning the dish. Too low, and it will take too long to reduce. If you don’t have to keep stirring every few minutes it is probably too low.

private notes

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Serving: 250 g | Calories: 517 kcal | Carbohydrates: 23 g | Protein: 43 g | Fat: 29 g | Saturated Fat: 15 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9 g | Cholesterol: 170 mg | Sodium: 771 mg | Potassium: 1025 mg | Fiber: 5 g | Sugar: 9 g | Vitamin A: 715 IU | Vitamin C: 13 mg | Vitamin D: 1 µg | Calcium: 205 mg | Iron: 6 mg

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