dopiaza vs tikka masala

Discover the Differences Between Dopiaza and Tikka Masala

One look at the curries on any Indian restaurant’s menu globally, and it’s evident that North-Indian food dominates. Dopiaza and tikka masala are among the most loved Indian dishes, with mouth-watering blends of spices and aromas. This read will tell you all there is to know about dopiaza vs tikka masala.

Dopiaza vs Tikka Masala

Despite both these dishes being a part of the North-Indian cuisine, there are tremendous differences in the cooking process and main ingredients of dopiaza and tikka masala. There are also several variations that are prepared while maintaining the essence of each dish.

What is Dopiaza?

Did you know that dopiaza means ‘two onions’? In Hindi, “do” indeed means two whereas “piaza” means onions.

A dopiaza dish is prepared with double onions used in two stages of the preparation: at the beginning for the gravy preparation and for garnish at the end.

What is Tikka Masala?

Typically made of meat, the tikka masala is a dish that requires marinading the chunks of meat with yogurt and fragrant spices. This is then chargrilled and served in a creamy gravy.

Apart from meat, there are all-vegetarian versions that can be prepared of this dish.

Perhaps you’d also like to read into chana masala vs tikka masala.


According to One Stop Kitchen , and according to the legend, “the dopiaza was created when a courtier of Mughal emperor from Afghanistan Akbar Mullah Do Piaza accidentally added a large quantity of onions to a dish. The dish evolved further in Hyderabad, Pakistan, and many other countries around the world and became a staple of Mughal cuisine.”

And chicken tikka masala, which made Indian food famous worldwide, was invented in Scotland.

Taste and Smell

Dopiaza is a semi-spicy curry with notes of sweetness. The abundant use of onions gives it a tangy flavor, and the use of lemon juice provides a mildly acidic taste.

The alluring aroma of a dopiaza dish has the mildly sweet smell of caramelized onions and cinnamon, paired with fresh and aromatic coriander.

On the other hand, tikka masala tastes slightly spicy and earthy, with the perfect blend of chargrilled flavors in a creamy sauce. This dish is more flavorful than aromatic. 


Dopiaza vs tikka masala, in terms of popularity, are both globally popular dishes.

While dopiaza is extremely popular in Middle-Eastern countries, as well as in South Asian countries like India, Afghanistan, and Iran, it’s also a commonly found dish on most Indian restaurant menus in the UK.

Chicken tikka masala is Britain’s most popular dish, so much that it’s commonly known as ‘Britain’s true national dish’. However, this is also a popular dish served in restaurants worldwide.


A single serving of chicken dopiaza amounts to about 341.9 calories. Differing ingredients will result in differing calorie counts.

The serving size of 12 oz (356 g) of chicken tikka masala amounts to an average of 540 calories. 

Health Benefits

Chicken tikka masala is rich in protein that is used by the body for the growth of nails and hair and for repairing and fixing tissues. Additionally, it reduces the levels of bad cholesterol in the body, controls blood pressure, and helps in weight loss.

While chicken dopiaza will also have similar benefits, the vegetable dopiaza, prepared with seasonal vegetables, apart from onion, has different health benefits. It enhances the digestion process, augments heart functions, strengthens the respiratory process, and also resolves acid reflux.

About the Recipes 

With differing preparation methods, some star ingredients can be commonly used in dopiaza vs tikka masala.

If you’re wondering whether a curry and a masala are the same, check out this read on curry vs masala.


DopiazaTikka Masala
Main IngredientVegetables / Meat (Chicken, Lamb, Prawns, or Mutton)Paneer / Meat (Chicken, Lamb, or Fish)
The defining componentFried onions and an onion-based gravyA spicy yogurt marinade and tikka masala powder
Ground SpicesCoriander, Cumin, Garam Masala, Turmeric, Hot Curry PowderCoriander, Cumin, Garam Masala, Turmeric, Paprika, Black pepper, Chilli powder
Requires CreamYesYes
Tomato?Tomato pasteTomato sauce and tomato puree

Methods of Preparation

The defining preparation step for dopiaza is using onions while preparing the gravy, and chunky onions caramelized and added as a garnish at the end.

Whereas, for tikka masala, what defines its preparation is the spicy yogurt marinade used for the meat, followed by grilling it in the oven or on a skillet.

Check out this lamb dopiaza recipe for meat lovers.

Dopiaza can also be cooked with chicken, paneer, etc. 

The same applies to tikka masala as well.

Here’s a paneer tikka masala recipe for vegetarians to try out.

The meat-lovers could use boneless chicken, lamb, or even fish instead.

Read into the use of garam masala vs tikka masala to know if you could use garam masala instead of tikka masala powder.


The texture of a dopiaza dish is unique, owing to a mixed use of onions at the start and end of preparation. Typically, this dish is prepared as a semi-gravy and has a chunky texture with the onions and meat/vegetables.

A tikka masala has a rich, creamy texture, with the marinated and roasted chunks of meat prominently dipped in the gravy.


Dopiaza has an almost dominant brown color or an orange-brown mix, while a tikka masala is usually a red/orange color.

Serving Suggestions

Both dopiaza and tikka masala can be served with basmati rice, naans, rotis, or basically, any Indian flatbreads.

Preservation Techniques

To store dopiaza that’s leftover, transfer it into an airtight container and keep it refrigerated for up to 48 hours. You could also freeze it for about a month.

For any leftover tikka masala, use airtight containers to hold the leftovers. While you could store it in the refrigerator for about a week, if you’re freezing it, ensure you use freezer-safe containers and consume the leftovers within 2 – 3 months.

What Curry is Similar to Dopiaza?

Some jalfrezi dishes come close to matching dopiaza in terms of using plenty of onions.

Rogan josh or a Balti match dopiaza’s level of spiciness. (Perhaps you’d also like to look into Rogan Josh vs Tikka Masala)

Bhuna matches the taste of dopiaza with its onion base. 

How Hot is a Dopiaza Curry?

Although a dopiaza curry contains chilli (as chilli powder or green chillies), it’s actually not a spicy dish. In fact, it’s a medium-spice curry that could cause the slightest of a runny nose. 

It rates around 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 – 10 in terms of heat and is equivalent to sriracha sauce or a chilli con Carne. 

What is Chicken Dopiaza Made Of?

Chicken dopiaza is a blend of loads of onions, some ginger and garlic paste, a blend of spices (including peppercorns, cloves, and black cardamom), chilli powder, and salt. 


Here’s a summary of what you’ve read so far about dopiaza vs tikka masala:

  • Dopiaza means two onions and is characterized by the use of excessive onions in the dish.
  • Tikka masala primarily involves marinading the meat with a spicy yogurt mix, followed by grilling in a clay oven.
  • The origin of dopiaza traces back to the Mughal days in Afghanistan, while the famous chicken tikka masala has its roots in Scotland.
  • The use of excessive onions gives dopiaza a slightly tangy, acidic taste. Tikka masala has a spicy and earthy taste.
  • Dopiaza is highly popular in Middle-Eastern and South-Asian countries. Chicken tikka masala is recognized as Britain’s national dish.
  • A single serving of chicken dopiaza averages 341.9 calories, while for tikka masala, it’s about 540 calories.
  • Using chicken for preparing these dishes provides a good dose of protein needed by the body. Using vegetables provides multiple benefits to the heart, respiratory, and digestive systems.
  • While the defining ingredient for dopiaza is a whole lot of onions, for tikka masala, it’s the spicy yogurt marinade used for the meat mixed with tikka masala powder.
  • While dopiaza is defined by excessive amounts of onions used, tikka masala is defined by the marinade and grilling of the meat. Both dishes can be prepared with meat and/or vegetables. 
  • Dopiaza usually has a semi-gravy, chunky texture. Tikka masala has a rich, creamy texture.
  • Dopiaza is a brown or orange-brown color, while tikka masala is a red or orange-red color.
  • The common accompaniments for both these dishes are basmati rice and any Indian flatbread.
  • Both dopiaza and tikka masala can be preserved in the refrigerator or freezer. Dopiaza can last a couple of days in the fridge and a month in the freezer, while tikka masala lasts a week in the fridge and 2 – 3 months when frozen.
  • The dishes that are similar to dopiaza for different factors are some jalfrezi dishes, Rogan Josh, Balti, and Bhuna.
  • A dopiaza curry is a medium-spicy curry enough to get your nose slightly runny, but not to get your eyes watering.
  • Chicken dopiaza is a mix of chunks of chicken, with loads of onions, and a blend of spices.

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