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Great British Beef Week – Beef dopiaza

This week is Great British Beef Week and to mark the event I am cooking a different dish every night using our own beef.

On day three I thought I’d cook one of our staple dishes – beef dopiaza.

I cook a curry at least once a week using chicken, pork, lamb, beef or fish – they are always spicy and always accompanied by a vegetable dish, homemade naan, rice, riata and poppadoms.

Traditionally and culturally, beef is one of the lesser used curry meats, but as we have lots of gorgeous stewing and braising steak to hand it is one of our favourites.

It works well in a dopiaza as these curries are big on flavour, cooked slowly and can be mild or spicy depending on taste.

Dopiaza (which means ‘two onions’ in Persian) is from Afghan cuisine and is traditionally prepared with a large amount of onions – as you’ll see from the recipe below there is 1kg of onions to 2kg of meat.

The slow cook means the flavours combine to create a really deep flavour that really incorporates the chilli rather than making it the stand out ingredient.

Tonight I served it with long grain rice, poppadoms, riata and a gorgeous cauliflower, onion and tomato side dish (if you haven’t got it already I’d really recommend getting hold of Indian Cookery by Madhur Jaffrey).

Here’s how I make mine…

5 from 1 vote

Beef dopiaza

This is a recipe I frequently use. It may not be absolutely authentic but the flavour is immense. Serves about 8 people.


  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 kg stewing or braising steak chopped into 2.5 cm pieces
  • 1 kg onions peeled and sliced into half-moon shapes 1 cm thick
  • 8 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
  • 8 dried red chillis finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground fenugreek
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger grated
  • 10 tomatoes chopped
  • 150 g creamed coconut
  • 300 ml natural yoghurt
  • fresh coriander to serve
  • long grain rice to serve


  1. Roast all the whole spices in a small frying pan over a medium heat and stir for a few minutes until they start to toast and pop in the pan. Transfer them to a pestle and mortar and crush to a powder.
  2. Put a glug of olive oil in a large saucepan or casserole dish over a high heat and brown the meat in batches. Remove to a plate, then add 1 tbsp of oil and when it’s hot fry the onions till well browned, this could take around 10 minutes. Then add the garlic and chilli and cook for a further few minutes.
  3. Return the meat to the pan, add the crushed spices, fenugreek powder, turmeric, ginger and tomatoes and stir.
  4. Now grate the creamed coconut into a bowl and combine it with around 500ml of boiling water using a whisk, then, when dissolved, pour it into the casserole, followed by the yoghurt and some seasoning. Now bring the mixture up to a simmer, pop on the lid and simmer slowly for 2 hours.
  5. Serve with rice, chopped coriander, riata and side dishes.




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