Mutton with Onions (Doh Piaza)

(Photo by amber in norfolk/Flickr)

The Indian name of this dish, doh piaza, translates literally as 'two onions'. It has never quite been settled whether this means the onions are added in two forms, or at two different stages of cooking, or that the dish has twice as much onion as most other preparations of this type.

Serves 8-10.


1.5 kg/3 lb shoulder of lamb or mutton
1 kg/2 lb onions
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
3 tablespoons yogurt
1-2 teaspoons chilli powder or to taste
1 teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves
2 tablespoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons nigella seeds
3 tablespoons ghee
3 tablespoons oil
8 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon garam masala


Cut meat into large cubes. Slice half the onions finely and chop the rest. Put the chopped onions into the container of an electric blender with garlic, ginger, yoghurt, chilli powder, paprika, coriander leaves, ground coriander and nigella seeds. Blend until smooth.

Heat ghee and oil in a large heavy pan and fry the sliced onions, stirring frequently, until evenly browned. Remove from pan. Add cubed meat to pan, not too many pieces at one time, and fry on high heat until browned on all sides. Remove each batch as it is browned and add more. When all the meat has been removed from pan, add a little more ghee or oil if necessary and fry the blended mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until it is cooked and smells aromatic. Oil should appear around the edges of mixture. Return meat to pan, add cardamom pods, stir well, cover and cook on low heat until meat is almost tender. Stir occasionally. It might be necessary to add a little water, but usually the juices given out by the meat are sufficient. When meat is tender and liquid almost absorbed add garam masala and reserved fried onions, replace lid of pan and leave on very low heat for a further 15 minutes. Serve with rice or Indian breads.  

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)