Chicken Dhansak Parsi Recipe

Chicken Dhansak
Chicken Dhansak. Image © Aparna Balasubramaniam/ Getty Images
  • 100 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 90 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4
Ratings (22)

This delicious and popular Parsi dish can be made with chicken or lamb. You can even omit the meat altogether and go vegetarian. Dhansak is traditionally served with brown rice and Kachumbar salad. While it seems like a lot of ingredients at first glance, most of them are for the Dhansak masala powder. To make and store some for later just double or triple the quantities from the recipe below, prepare and store in an airtight container or freeze in a freezer container. Another tip - Dhansak tastes even better the next day!

What You'll Need

  • 1 cup mixed lentils - toor, masoor, urad and moong (1/4 cup each)
  • 1-liter chicken stock
  • 500 grams chicken pieces of your choice - boneless
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 8 cloves
  • 1-inch piece cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1-inch piece of mace
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 1 star anise
  • 3 dry red chilies
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 large bunch each of fresh coriander leaves and fenugreek leaves (approximately 150 grams/ 0.33 pounds each)
  • 1/2 bunch mint leaves (approximately 75 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil
  • Salt to taste

How to Make It

  1. Wash the lentils well. Put them in a deep pan, add the chicken stock, salt to taste and a cup of water.
  2. Boil till the lentils are soft. Add more water if required.
  3. While the lentils are boiling, heat a griddle or heavy-bottomed flat pan on a medium flame and dry roast all the spices (except the turmeric and nutmeg) till they begin to release their aroma.
  4. Remove from the fire, cool and then grind to a fine powder in a dry coffee or spice grinder. Mix in the turmeric and nutmeg and blend well. Keep aside.
  1. When the lentils are cooked soft, whisk them to get a smooth and thick soup-like consistency. Keep aside.
  2. Heat the cooking oil in a pan on a medium flame and when hot, add the fresh coriander, fenugreek, and mint leaves.
  3. Fry till soft. Remove from the fire and cool. Grind into a smooth paste in a food processor.
  4. Heat a deep, heavy-bottomed pan on a medium flame and add the lentils, ginger, garlic and tamarind pastes and bring to a boil, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. The consistency should always be like a medium-thick soup.
  5. Add a cup of water, the spice powder and coriander-fenugreek-mint paste you made earlier, salt if required and the chicken pieces. Mix well.
  6. Simmer and cook till chicken is done. Add more water to maintain consistency.
  7. Serve Dhansak hot with Parsi Brown Rice and one of my Kachumbar salads.