Rick’s Delicious Dopiaza

I’ve written before about mid-week entertaining. It’s one of the great benefits of working from home, but I still like to get everything ready before the work day starts so that if anything happens to delay things at the end of the day, I’m still on track for a hassle-free evening with friends.

I also love a curry on a hot day. For me it carries nostalgic echoes of my childhood in Singapore and, personally, I think the heat goes well with the heat and a glass of ice cold beer.

This recipe, taken from Rick Stein’s India cook book tastes exactly as though you’ve just arrived in Bengal. The whole spices add an extra dimension. I’ve cooked it several times now, which is unusual for me as I tend to cook new recipes whenever I can. Leftovers freeze well – though I doubt you’ll have any.

Apart from the amazing flavour, I love it because you simply combine all the ingredients, stir it all up and stick it on the heat. No pre-cooking. So it takes about 15 minutes to assemble and then a slow two and a half hours to cook. I’ll be serving it tonight with Ottolenghi’s Indian Ratatouille from Plenty More. Can’t wait!


  • 500g lamb shoulder, cut into 4cm pieces (though I often use lamb neck fillet)
  • 500g onions cut into quarters
  • 6 cloves garlic finely chopped or smashed
  • 3 cm fresh ginger finely sliced
  • 500g natural yoghurt
  • 4 tsp coriander seeds (or 2tsp ground)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 10cm cinnamon quill
  • 10 dried kashmiri chillies (to taste)
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 6 green cardamom pods, bruised
  • 6 tbsp ghee or coconut oil
  • 2 tsp salt (or seaweed salt, or LoSalt)*
  • 250ml water


Tip all the ingredients into a deep pan, mix together, cover with a tight fitting lid and bring gently to a boil. Simmer over a low heat for 2 hours until almost all the liquid has been absorbed and the lamb is tender.

Serve with Indian ratatouille, or spinach and chickpeas.

*Although we tend to be wary of salt in this country, adding a little salt to your diet is a good thing to do in hot weather, and if you are on a ketogenic diet like me. If you are on a low salt diet due to your medication regime then you may prefer to reduce it or leave it out.

14 thoughts on “Rick’s Delicious Dopiaza

    • Dawn Waldron says:

      Hi Bob, I tend to put them in whole, but it would work either way, depending on your preference. I would probably reduce the cinnamon by half if using ground. These days, I tend to use fresh turmeric too.

  1. Paris S says:

    Hi Dawn. Am looking to cook this tomorrow night. I’ve noticed Rick’s recipe has 1kg of onions and yours has 500g. Did you find a kilo was too much in relation to all the other ingredients?

    Also I’ll be using chicken and not lamb. Was planning on simmering all the other ingredients as per the instructions, then briefly frying off the chicken and adding to the sauce about 15 mins from the end to cook through. Would the sauce be too reduced for this? Thanks!

    • Dawn Waldron says:

      Hello! You’re right, I did find the onions overpowering first time round so reduced the quantity. As for using chicken, I’m not sure. To me, the beauty of this recipe is the ability to bing it all in together. So you could try that and reduce overallcooking time, maybe? Thanks for getting in touch.

    • clivejameswilson says:


      The reduction with a lid on doesn’t take place, but fortunately I had made a similar lamb curry and the trick after 2 hours of simmer is to take the lid off and whack up the heat, at this point you need to stay with it and constantly stir in order that it doesn’t catch, don’t be afraid to see it bubble like crazy. After 5-10 mins you will see it reduce down considerably and when it becomes thick turn off the heat, the curry is finished. Thanks for the OP ok sharing this dish, it was incredible x

      • Roy says:

        Thank you for responding. Actually we don’t have coconut flour – we don’t do much baking. But anyway – we did eat it, and tastewise it was quite good. Just looked rather anemic and unappetizing – see https://photos.app.goo.gl/Bg6E7Fhp8JzqaePTA.
        I don’t think the separation was caused by the heat – we heated it to a boil very slowly and it separated very early on. I really don’t know what caused it. It was a new pot of yoghurt and had a BBF date of the 26th – +16 days.
        Best wishes,

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