Chicken Dhansak (Traditional)
Dhansak is originally a Parsee dish. The Parsee lived on the West Coast of India. Dhansak is variously interpreted to come from Dhan (rice) and Sak (Vegetables) or the alternative Dhaan (Wealth). Regardless, it is a dish of meat, vegetables and lentils. It is served with rice. This recipe will serve four people as a main course.
- 500g Chicken breast (you can also do this on the bone if you wish)
- 300g Toor dal (just go for green lentils if you can't find any)
- Fresh or minced ginger
- 6 garlic cloves
- 3 medium onions
- 1 red pepper
- 1 orange or yellow pepper
- 1 large potato
- 3 chopped tomatoes
- 1 lime (juice of)
- 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
- 1 small tin of pineapple rings in their own juice (optional)
- 1 bunch coriander (that's what you loyal allies of the Crown call cilantro)
- 1 tablespoon jaggery (substitute for dark brown sugar if you can't get jaggery)
- sunflower oil or butter/vegetable ghee if you can get it (we ran out of ghee so used oil)
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 3 teaspoon good quality dhansak masala (or curry powder)
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 2 teaspoons coriander powder
- 2 teaspoon red chilli powder
- Fill the kettle and put it on.
- Peel and chop the potato into 1.5 inch chunks.
- Roughly chop one of the onions and both peppers and put them all to a medium saucepan.
- Peel and crush 3 garlic cloves with the side of the knife and add them to the saucepan.
- Add the lentils and three teaspoon of minced ginger.
- Add the turmeric and tamarind to the saucepan also.
- Cover the mixture in the pot with boiling water and simmer over a medium flame.
- You'll simmer the vegetables until the lentils are very soft, about 20 to 30 minutes.
- If the vegetables start to stick or dry up, add more boiling water and turn the heat down.
- Whilst this mixture is simmering, chop the remaining onions and fry them in a large saucepan over a medium heat in 2 tablespoons of oil.
- Make a spice paste with the remaining spice powders and a little cold water.
- When the onions are softening (5-10 minutes) add the spice paste and fry over a medium-low flame for 5 minutes. Frying the spices takes the bitter edge off them and prevents indigestion later on.
- Chop the coriander, tomatoes and remaining garlic and add to the onions.
- Fry for a further 5 minutes.
- Chop the chicken into chunks
- When the vegetables are cooked add them to the large saucepan along with the chicken and the jaggery
- Allows this mixture to simmer for about 20 minutes then add the juice from the pineapple.
- After another 20 minutes add the pineapple chunks and lime juice.
- Cook for another 10 minutes until it looks like this:
- Server with any rice (I usually just use simple boiled rice) and some greek yoghurt or soured cream.
Enjoy with a nice dry white wine.