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Chicken Dhansak

Chicken Dhansak
Recipe type: Curries
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 4
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Chicken cooked with a combination of lentils and vegetables along with the usual spices. A very traditional and one of the most popular Parsi dishes. Chicken dhanshak with brown rice is a favorite sunday lunch in most parsi homes.
  • 1 cup(s) mix of pigeon peas (tuvar dal), red lentils (masoor dal) and split green gram (moong dal)
  • 2 cup(s) red pumpkin dices
  • 2 small eggplants cut into thick roundels
  • 2 small potato(es) cut into thick roundels
  • 2 tablespoon(s) fenugreek leaves chopped
  • 2 small tomato(es) diced
  • 2 small onion(s) diced
  • 4 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon(s) turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • 8 medium pieces (about 800 grams) of chicken
  • 1 tablespoon(s) roasted cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon(s) roasted coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon(s) curry powder or hot spice mix (garam masala) powder
  • 2 tablespoon(s) oil
  • 1 bay leaves
  • 1 onion(s) chopped
  • 1 teaspoon(s) tamarind paste
  • Finely chopped coriander leaves for garnishing
  • For the spice paste:
  • ½ peppercorns
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 cardamoms
  • 2 teaspoon(s) cumin seeds
  • 1 dried red (Kashmiri) chillies
  • 4 green chillies chopped
  • 8 garlic flakes
  • 1 teaspoon(s) ginger grated
  • ½ cup(s) chopped coriander leaves
  • ½ cup(s) chopped mint leaves
  1. Wash and soak the lentils for about 5 hours.
  2. Grind all the ingredients under the spice paste.
  3. Pressure-cook the first ten ingredients for about 9 minutes. Blend to a coarse puree.
  4. Pour the puree in a heavy-bottomed pan along with the chicken, roasted cumin-coriander powders and hot spice mix (garam masala). Bring to a boil, cover and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes or till the chicken is almost cooked.
  5. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the bay leaves for a few seconds. Add the onions and fry for about 3 minutes or till they are golden brown.
  6. Add the ground spice paste and fry well for about 3 minutes or till the oil starts floating on the surface.
  7. Add the chicken with the gravy along with the tamarind paste. Add salt to taste if required. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low heat for about 15 minutes or till the chicken is cooked through.
  8. Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves.
A comparitively small amount of dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi) can be used in place of fresh ones. Kashmiri red chillies are less pungent and give a bright red color to the gravy. However, any other dry red chilly can be used. In the absence of a pressure cooker, the lentils can be cooked along with the other ingredients in a large pot of boiling water. However, it would take more than double the time to cook. Serve hot with: Ghee Rice, steamed rice or Indian bread (Roti).
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