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Spicy Beef Dopiaza Curry

Dopiaza is Persian for two onions and this beef dopiaza curry Recipe is an ode to my love of the British Indian Curry.

Portrait partial image of a beef dopiaza curry served in a hammered copper coloured curry bowl

Beef and Onion Curry.

Sometimes meals really are just beautifully steaming brown piles of flavour-packed food. Food “stylists” just love to try and hide brown behind a forest of green, I don’t!

My love of the great Anglo Indian Curry is well documented here and this dish is another one in a long list.

Dopiaza is a Persian word meaning two onions.

The name refers to the onions being used in two ways. First as part of the sauce in a pureed form and secondly to add body and a rich onion flavour to the recipe.

A beef variant of this recipe is fairly rare in a British curry house with lamb or chicken being perennial favourites.

However, I think it screams for beef because Beef and Onion are such a beautiful partnership.

I love using beef in curries, whether that be in my beef vindaloo or in the much more classic beef rendang.

Close up portrait image of a beef dopiaza curry served in a hammered copper coloured curry bowl

Can I Cook it In A Pressure Cooker?

Indian food has a long-held association with pressure cooking and you can certainly cook this that way.

I have added instructions for the Instant Pot in the recipe below.

If you are using a stovetop pressure cooker, reduce the cooking time by 7 minutes.

The IP tenderises what I think is the tastiest, but most difficult to breakdown cut of beef in just 35-40 minutes.

The timings for this recipe are based on fairly large chunks of beef.

They are also aimed at keeping some texture in the meat and not turning it into a shredded beef dish.

If you like that softer beef that falls to shreds when cooked with the back of a fork then add an extra 5-7 minutes of cooking time.

Portrait image of a beef dopiaza curry served in a hammered copper coloured curry bowl

Recipe Hints & Serving Suggestions!

I usually serve this dish with a naan bread because, well I am a Brummie and that is how we roll!

But it is probably better served with chapati or roti.

Like my Beef Bhuna or Chicken Chettinad curry recipes this is a dry curry and dry curries are great with a dry curry.

When it comes to hints and tips this recipe is pretty simple on the technique front!

However, I like it hot, real hot and combine both fresh chilli with Kashmiri chilli powder.

If you are a little more chilli’phobic’ then you can absolutely cut back on this.

In fact, I have made this recipe a couple of times without any chilli at all.

The big, bold and fragrant spices do a great job at standing up without it!

Landscape image of a beef dopiaza curry served in a hammered copper coloured curry bowl
Square image of a beef dopiaza curry served in a hammered copper coloured curry bowl
Yield: 2 Servings

Recipe for a Beef Dopiaza Curry

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

This beef dopiaza curry is an ode the British Indian curries that I love, heavy with onions and heady with spices you will love this slow cooked treat!


  • 2 Large Onions
  • 6 Garlic Cloves
  • 50 g Ginger
  • 3 Red Chilli Peppers
  • 2 Tbsp Ghee
  • 3 Cardamom Pods
  • 1 Tsp Kashmiri Chili Powder
  • 2 Tsp Ground Coriander
  • 2 Tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tsp Ground Turmeric
  • 350 g Diced Beef Shin
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Fenugreek Leaf
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 Tsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Coarse Sea Salt
  • 125 ml Water
  • 1 Tbsp Garam Masala


  1. Roughly chop one of the onions and cut the second into 8 wedges.
  2. Peel the garlic and ginger and roughly chop the ginger.
  3. Remove the tips from the chilli peppers.
  4. Blend the roughly chopped onion, garlic, ginger and chilli peppers to form a paste.
  5. Add half of the ghee to a wide pan and add in onion puree.
  6. Fry for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add in cardamom pods, chilli pepper, cumin, coriander and turmeric and stir to form a paste.
  8. Add the beef and stir to coat.
  9. Pour in the water, add the fenugreek, sugar, tomato puree and season with salt.
  10. Mix to combine and add a lid and cook covered on low for an hour.
  11. Whilst the curry is cooking covered place the other half of the ghee in a wide pan.
  12. When melted add the onion and cook on a medium low temperature for 40-50 minutes until well caramelised.
  13. After an hour remove the lid from the curry and add in the caramalised onions.
  14. Stir and cook on low, uncovered for another hour.
  15. Remove from the heat and add the garam masala, stir and allow to sit for 3-4 minutes before serving.

Instant Pot Instructions

  1. Follow steps 1-4 above.
  2. Put the IP into saute mode and when hot add half of the ghee.
  3. Fry the onion-garlic puree for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Stir in the cardamom pods, chilli powder, ground cumin, and ground turmeric for 30 seconds.
  5. Then add the beef shin and stir to coat with the paste.
  6. Finally stir in the fenugreek leaf, tomato paste, sugar, salt and water.
  7. Place on the lid and flip the Instant Pot to manual and cooking under high pressure for 35 minutes with a 10 minute natural release.
  8. Whilst the curry is cooking caramalise the onions in a pan with the other half of the ghee.
  9. Turn the Instant Pot to saute and reduce the sauce by half which should take 5 minutes.
  10. Now turn off the Instant Pot add in the beef and garam masala and bring the beef back to temperature before serving.


Serve with simply cooked Basmati Rice.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 974Total Fat: 64gSaturated Fat: 26gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 30gCholesterol: 201mgSodium: 1354mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 10gSugar: 19gProtein: 55g

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

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Coco in the Kitchen

Monday 30th of April 2018

I can't stop staring at the photo! Looks delicious! I must try your curry some time this week.

Brian Jones

Tuesday 1st of May 2018

Thanks Colette, I hope you enjoy as much as we do!


Thursday 1st of March 2018

Hi Brian. I used this base recipe for beef and okra, just because I had okra in the fridge, and I love the flavors together in a curry. Wow! It was fab! I never used brown sugar before in my curries, but I have to say it worked so well with the melange of spices. I also cooked it in the instant pot and it’s a hit with the fam tonight. Thanks again!

Brian Jones

Thursday 1st of March 2018

I would say that sounds nice but I must confess to having a major dislike of okra, like all of my food dislikes it is a texture rather than a flavour thing ;) So glad that you are taking recipes and making them your own, it really is how they should be used! A bit of sweetness works really well in some curries and it really helps here with all of the onions, really happy you enjoyed it :D


Thursday 1st of March 2018

I forgot to rate your recipe....5 stars!


Wednesday 29th of March 2017

Hi, great recipe. How long would u cook for in a slow cooker or multi cooker? Don't have an instant pot? thank you in advance x

Brian Jones

Wednesday 29th of March 2017

Hey Clair... Slow cookers vary a lot in their timing but if you are using shin of beef it is pretty much bomb proof so nice and low for 8 to 12 hours and the beef should remain moist, but you will need to check the liquid content and maybe reduce after cooking a little to get a sauce that is not to liquid. Have fun :)


Friday 27th of January 2017

Such a great use of the instant pot! Love the addition of all those spices and the photo with the steam looks perfect!

Brian Jones

Monday 30th of January 2017

Thanks Tara.


Friday 27th of January 2017

So....I know what I'm making next in my Instant Pot! This looks absolutely mouth-watering! Can't wait to try it!

Brian Jones

Monday 30th of January 2017

Thanks Sarah, have fun :)