Chicken Dhansak Recipe

What is dhansak made of?

Chicken dhansak is a slightly unusual curry. The meat and sauce are cooked separately and combined at the end. And the sauce, called ‘gravy’, is almost like a vegetable dal – rich in lentils and dal, aubergine, tomatoes and pumpkin – which is blended until smooth before serving. 

How spicy is dhansak curry?

The blitzed sauce creates a mildly spiced curry that tastes much richer than the ingredients alone might lead you to expect.

Dhansak is specific to Parsi Indians, who migrated to India from Persia in the seventh Century. Their food is rich in rice, curry and lentils. A kachumbar salad is a typical side dish.

Dhansak can be made with any other meat, including lamb, mutton or goat. However, tougher cuts should just be cooked a little longer, perhaps simmered for 2-3 hours until very tender.

Chicken Dhansak Ingredients Serves: 8

  • 1kg chicken – skinless boneless thigh or breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt

Dhansak Gravy Ingredients

Tarka ingredients

To serve


  1. Cut chicken into bit size pieces. Season chicken with 1 tsp Kosher salt.
  2. Put the chana dal, split lentils, onion, potato, tomatoes, aubergine, squash or pumpkin, dried mint, chopped coriander, 1 tsp Kosher salt, coriander powder, 2 tsp of the cumin powder, fenugreek powder, turmeric powder and hot chilli powder into a pressure cooker or a large-lidded saucepan.
  3. Simmer for 45 minutes or cook in a pressure cooker for 15 minutes. The lentils should be cooked and the vegetables tender.
  4. Blend until just smooth, taking care not to blend for too long – over-blended potatoes have a strange texture. The resulting gravy should be like a thick soup. If it is closer to a paste, thin with a little water.
  5. Separately, add 3 tbsp ghee or oil to a frying pan and fry ginger-garlic paste and remaining 2 tsp cumin powder until aromatic. Pour into the dhansak sauce along with the lemon juice and salt. Taste for seasoning.
  6. Fry chicken pieces, turning regularly, for 15-20 minutes until cooked through. Stir into the dhansak gravy.
  7. Serve with plenty of chopped coriander leaves, cooked basmati rice, and kachumbar salad.
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Chicken Dhansak Recipe

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