Tofu Dopiaza is kadai-fried tofu with double onions, crunchy green peppers & aromatic masalas. A restaurant quality vegan curry recipe.
Make it mild or spicy and serve with roti, paratha or naan. Rice is also a great partner for this high-protein vegan curry.
What does Dopiaza curry taste like?
Dopiaza is a deeply aromatic dish, with a mellow onion sweetness, tomato tang and a fresh sweep of ginger. Serve it dry style like this version, or add a splash of water to give the curry a sauce, the choice is yours. I like it dry, and almost stir-fried.
What is in Dopiaza?
Dopiaza is named for its’ use of double onions. Double onions typically refers to the double addition of onions at different stages of the cooking process. The first for flavour in the masala paste. The second addition as a vegetable for texture and crunch.
The technique and terminology has Persian roots but shoots influences many other South Indian cuisines. It is a Mughal style of cooking, rich with spices and aromas.
What is Pyaza or Piaza?
“Do” means two and “Pyaza” or “Piaza” means onions. My recipe embraces the “do” (two) of dopiaza twice. It features two different varieties of onion, which I add at two stages of the cooking process.
What type of onions are in Dopiaza?
Any you like! The typical Indian restaurant version will use white and/or red onions. My recipe for Tofu Dopiaza puts both mellow leeks and sweet red onions to work. This vegan curry will blow you away with its’ deeply savoury aromas and flavours.
Can I add something other than tofu to this curry?
Feel free to swap the tofu in this recipe with your choice of vegetables or protein. My preference is to add tofu but that doesn’t mean you have to.
You can also make use this recipe to make:
- Paneer Dopiaza (Paneer Do Pyaza)
- Mushroom Dopiaza (Mushroom Do Pyaza)
- Bhindi Dopiaza (Bhindi Do Pyaza)
- Aloo Dopiaza (Aloo Do Pyaza)
- Or any other variety of Dopiaza you want to cook! Popular non-vegetarian varieties of Dopiaza are made with chicken, lamb, mutton and prawns.
How to serve Tofu Dopiaza
My favourite way to serve this dish is simply with paratha but you can also enjoy it with naan, roti or rice.
What are the key spices in Dopiaza?
Recipes differ from cook to cook. Warm spices and a souring agent like yoghurt, dried mango or lemon give the dish its’ characteristic tang. This sour note is important as it balances the sweetness of the onions.
My recipe uses a combination of tomatoes and vegan yoghurt to achieve this effect.
Spices in my Dopiaza recipe: Bay leaves, dried red chillies, cassia bark, black stone flowers, cloves, turmeric, chilli powder, coriander seeds, dried fenugreek leaves and green cardamom.
Some recipes also include black cardamom and peppercorns, however I don’t find they are essential ingredients in this case.
What are Black Stone Flowers? (Dagad Phool)
While it’s called “flower”, Dagad Phool (in Hindi) is actually a type of fungus/dried lichen. The black petal-like shape of the fungi grows on stones. Indeed, this is why people also call it “Pathar ke phool” which means stone flower.
It has a characteristic unmistakable musky aroma. Think mellow woody perfume, but not at all like your grandad’s Old Spice. It adds background umami-ness to masalas. I find that once I start eating a dish with dagad phool in it, I can’t stop.
10 tips for restaurant-style Dopiaza
- Be sure to use a large, metal kadai or wok. I like to use a carbon steel wok.
- The kadai or wok should be smoking hot.
- There’s no need to add lots oil, but some is required to help extract the oils from the spices. Use any cooking oil with a high smoke point. You can also use ghee if you’re not vegan.
- Add whole spices first, then the ground spices later to ensure the ground spices don’t burn.
- Cook the first addition of onions until their soft, mushy and slightly caramelised. This makes for the perfect sweet base.
- Add the yoghurt and stir quickly so it doesn’t split in the sauce.
- Reduce the tomatoes and yoghurt until thick and pasty.
- Keep the vegetables crunchy. Try not to overcook them.
- For a saucy version of the Dopiaza, add 250-350ml hot water to the paste before you add the onions and peppers.
- Pan-fry the tofu first so it doesn’t break in the curry. I like the texture of pan-fried medium firm tofu.
My essential ingredients homemade Tofu Dopiaza
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Tofu Dopiaza Recipe | How to Make Tofu Dopiaza Curry
This is my favourite vegan curry recipe and one I cook often for the family. It’s the perfect balance of light and tasty, but also packs that restaurant-style punch. No dairy needed.
- Large kadai or wok
To pan-fry the tofu:
- 400 g medium or firm tofu
- 3 tbsp any cooking oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
For the rest of the curry:
- 50 ml any cooking oil or ghee if you're not vegan
- 300 g leeks, halved lengthways and finely sliced if leeks are unavailable, try spring onions/scallions
- 2 dried red chillies
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 5 cm piece cassia bark or cinnamon
- 3-4 pieces black stone flowers optional but recommended
- 4 cloves
- 2.5 cm piece ginger peeled and julienned
- 4 large cloves garlic peeled and crushed (about 1 tbsp)
- 390 g tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder optional
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp non-dairy yoghurt
- 10 small mild green peppers (the kind that look like chillies) or 1 large green capsicum cut into rings
- 2 red onions cut into quarters and then separated into petals
- 1 1/2 tsp kasoori methi
- 2 tbsp freshly-chopped coriander
- 2.5 cm piece ginger julienned
- Onion flowers optional (I grow them in the garden!)
To prepare the tofu:
- If using medium tofu, drain and pat gently with absorbent kitchen towel. If using firm tofu, drain and press firmly with absorbent kitchen towel to remove excess moisture. Some extra-firm tofu may need to be pressed between paper towels for 30 minutes or so. Just use a couple of tins of beans for weight. I use medium tofu so skip this step.
- Slice the tofu into triangles, about 1cm thick but you can cut the tofu into any shape you like. Cubes and batons are also a good choice.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Pan-fry the tofu on both sides, until golden all over. A sprinkle of salt over the tofu will help draw out any moisture from the tofu.
- Place the tofu on a plate lined with kitchen towel. Set aside.
For the rest of the curry:
- Heat oil in a smoking hot wok or kadai. I like to use a carbon steel wok for the smokiness it imparts on the curry. Add the bay leaves, dried chillies, cinnamon, black stone flowers and cloves. Sauté for 10-15 seconds and then add the sliced leeks.
- Cook the leeks over a medium-low heat 10 minutes, stirring all the time, until very soft. When they begin to caramelise, it's time to add the crushed garlic and ginger juliennes. Cook for a further minute.
- Next, tip in the tomatoes and add the ground spices: coriander seeds, turmeric, cardamom, optional chilli powder and salt. Stir well. When the mixtures comes to a volcanic bubble, add the yoghurt and stir vigorously until incorporated to prevent the yoghurt splitting in the sauce. Keep the heat high the entire time.
- Continue to cook the masala for 7-8 minutes, stirring all the time, until it becomes a thick paste.
- Add the onions and peppers. Toss or fold to combine with the masalas. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until only slightly softened. Add the tofu to the pan. Rub the kasoori methi between your palms to crush and add this to the pan too. Use a large spatula to fold everything together and coat the tofu with the masalas. Cook 1-2 minutes to heat everything through.
- Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and ginger juliennes and serve.
- If you’d like a curry with more sauce, simply add 250ml hot water to the paste before you add the onions and peppers.
- Serve this Tofu Dopiaza with paratha, roti or naan. Rice is also a great accompaniment.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat thoroughly before serving.
- This Tofu Dopiaza freezes particularly well. Pack it into an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature and ensure the curry is reheated and piping hot before serving.
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If you like this, you’ll love my recipe for Vegan Kadai Tofu