Chicken Do-Piaza

Chicken Do-Piaza

I always love the Secret Recipe Club, and this month I was especially excited to be assigned one of my favorite blogs, Experiments of a Housewife. I have followed this blog for some time and always admire the gorgeous photography and sensational recipes. Shumaila, the talented woman behind Experiments of a Housewife, moved from her native India to the US with her husband and started the blog to document “the experiments I take upon everyday to keep myself busy.” Shumaila’s sweet confections are utterly tempting (just check out this gorgeous carrot cake and tell me you’re not inspired), but in particular I love her Garam Masala Tuesdays, when she posts incredible Indian recipes, often inspired by her mother. Shumaila’s goal is not only to share her beloved cuisine, but to demonstrate to Westerners that Indian food is much more than garam masala.


Picking a recipe for the Secret Recipe Club is never an easy feat, and I bookmarked many from Experiments of a Housewife before stumbling upon this recipe for Chicken Do-Piaza.

See, chicken do-piaza was the first Indian dish I can remember trying to make on my own. It was my senior year of college and I lived in a gorgeous house in Saratoga Springs with my two best friends and a beautifully appointed kitchen. (Seriously, I will never live anywhere that nice again.) The previous year I had studied abroad in India and what began with a fondness for Indian food turned into an all out obsession. (Look, there’s nerdy little me in that photo wearing my favorite salwar kameez with the Himalayas in the background.) And so, in our sunny kitchen fit with a perfect gas stove and dishwasher, I cracked open an Indian cookbook and set my sights on making chicken do-piaza.

Not that I had ever eaten chicken do-piaza. In fact, this manner of rich, gravy-laden Indian food so popular in the US could not have been more different from the spicy stuffed okra and simple lentil daal that I experienced while in India, but I loved it all nonetheless. College is when I began to spread my culinary wings, and making this dish is one of my clearest memories. The recipe made a huge vat, and I mean huge. I recall that it was good, but that I was disappointed with the result. I beat myself up over the consistency and spicing. But my roommate’s father, who was visiting that weekend, went nuts over it and took tupperware containers of it home.

I hadn’t attempted to make it again since. It slipped from my mind, along with many memories from college, and instead I perfected my samosa, toyed with butter tofu and dabbled in chicken tikka masala. I couldn’t wait to have my re-match with chicken do-piaza.

Shumaila tells us that do-piaza means “onions twice” and refers to the fact that onions are cut and cooked in two different ways, and added to the dish at two different stages of cooking. The onions serve not only to flavor the food, but also to thicken the sauce.

Chicken Do-Piaza

Shumaila’s recipe offers a fun take on chicken do-piaza. She employs a few secret ingredients (namely orange juice and brandy) that flavor the dish in wonderful and unexpected ways. Of course, I made a number of major changes to the recipe based on availability of ingredients and other considerations. I did not have brandy, so simply omitted it. I used coconut oil in place of mustard oil and so did not get the same pungent flavor that Shumaila describes. Instead of using the whole spices (which is better, I know) I used ground. There were other changes too, but really the spirit is the same. And all I know is that my husband and I polished off this dish, which should easily serve four or even six. I had made my perfect Chicken Do-Piaza.

Don’t be discouraged by the somewhat long list of ingredients. The process itself is quite quick, and the entire meal comes together in under an hour. Oh! And it’s gluten free! Just be sure to serve with rice instead of naan.

5.0 from 5 reviews
Chicken Do-Piaza
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
This delectable Indian dish has a long list of ingredients, but comes together in under an hour. The sweetness from the orange juice is offset nicely by the onions and savory spices. Serve with rice or naan.
Recipe Type: Entree
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 1½ pounds boneless chicken breast, sliced
  • 2½ large or 3 small red onions
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2.3 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground dry coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ cup cashews, ground in food processor to form rough paste
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup cream
  1. Put the ginger and garlic in a mortar and pestle or food processor and grind to a smooth paste.
  2. Put in a large bowl and add the turmeric and yogurt. Mix so well combined.
  3. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients, or overnight.
  4. Finely chop half the onions and thinly slice the rest (keep separate).
  5. Heat the coconut oil and butter in a large skillet until melted and started to bubble.
  6. Add the sliced onions and fry for a few minutes until softened. Remove and set aside.
  7. Add the chopped onions and cook, stirring often, until browned (This is the "first do-piaza").
  8. Add the dried coriander, cumin, garam masala, and fenugreek and toast for 1 minute, until aromatic.
  9. Add the tomato puree, chili powder, and cashew paste.
  10. Cook until the tomato paste leaves a slight oil on the side of the pan, about 3 minutes.
  11. Add the chicken and simmer until almost cooked through.
  12. Add the orange juice and fried sliced onions and simmer for about 8 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
  13. Stir in the cream and remove from the heat.
  14. Serve with basmati or Jasmine rice or naan.
Gluten free

35 thoughts on “Chicken Do-Piaza

  1. sara

    This looks really delicious! I’ve never heard of this Indian dish, but I love Indian flavors in general, and this one looks super tasty. Love that onions are used in multiple ways, yum!

  2. Sissi

    I have been a fan of Indian cuisine for so many years and only now I started to learn seriously to cook it right. I still remember the scary number of required spices in the first Indian recipe I tried, but I simply went twice or maybe three times to the local Indian shop and bought most of their spices 😉 I have never heard of this dish but is sounds fantastic! I am also a big fans of cashews, so their addition as a paste sounds like something I would enjoy too. Thanks for introducing Shumaila. I might become a big fan especially of her garam masala Tuesdays.

  3. Stephanie

    Oh my! That recipe makes me wish that I was in a meat-eating household now. Using cashews to thicken a sauce always means I love the flavor, no matter what else is in it. Wonder how it would work with vegetables…?

  4. Shumaila

    Oh Katherine, your version looks better than mine:)!! I am so glad you liked it and thank you so much for such a lovely introduction! And that photograph of you in the suit – LOVE it!

  5. Isabelle @ Crumb

    What a great pick! I love Shumaila’s blog, though I’ve yet to take the leap to cook any of her lovely Indian recipes… I’ve been oogling this one for a little while, though, so seeing your post just might be the nudge I’ve been needing to take the leap and try it for myself.

  6. Jen

    That sounds delicious! I’ve always been a little chicken to start cooking Indian food cause the first time I tried it I nearly burnt a whole through the roof of my mouth!

  7. Mikey

    Man, that sounds good. I’m always taking a stab at cooking Indian food, but it comes out somewhat middling. I’ll keep at it, this seems like a strong recipe.

  8. Hannah

    I love the photo of you, Katherine! I went to India for the first time 5 years ago and fell in love with the country – can’t wait to return. We spent 2 days at a wedding in the south and ate the most amazing food ever. Your Chicken Do-Piaza looks incredible!

  9. Suchi

    You know I love do piaza..but never tried making it…there was a take away shop in central Delhi whose do piazas were incredible…I just keep remembering that taste…maybe time I tried making it…you look almost Indian in that salwar kameez 🙂

  10. victoria

    I love Do-Piaza, it’s one of my favourite curry dishes and our local Indian Restaurant in Nottingham (UK) cooks a divine one. I thought I’d have a go at cooking this myself and tried this recipe. It’s delicious! It has all those subtle flavours that I love and the sauce (gravy) is fabulous. I’ll be making this again.

    • Katherine

      I am thrilled to hear that you enjoyed the recipes as much as I did Victoria! Thank you so much for reporting back – you totally made my day 🙂

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