mearl223 On August - 28 - 2011

Parsi Chicken Dhansak

I’ve put up a dhansak recipe before, but this is a tad different, in the sense – I had some leftover chicken curry from last night & turned it into an awesome dhansak worthy of posting to this site today – An excellent leftover-makeover recipe!



PrepTime 15mins – Serves 4 – CookTime 25mins.





1 chicken cut to medium pieces
1 tsp garlic-ginger paste
1 tsp salt

3 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion – chopped
4-5 garlic pods – crushed
1″ cinnamon stick
5-6 cardamoms
1/2 tsp peppercorns
1 slit green chilli
2-3 dried big red chilies
3-4 bay leaves
1 cup of 1″ pieces potatoes/yams
1 cup of 1″ carrot pieces
1 cup similar size brinjal/eggplant or drumstick pieces (optional)
1 cup washed chana daal
2 tbsp coriander pwd
1/2 tsp jeera/cumin pwd
1/2 tsp pepper pwd
1/2 tsp turmeric pwd
1 tsp garam masala
2 tbsp tamarind pulp
2-3 tbsp ghee
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp jeera/cumin
3 sprigs curry leaves
1 tsp mango pwd
1 tbsp vinegar
salt to taste
2 tbsp dried methi/fenugreek leaves or chopped fresh coriander to garnish

Cooking Instructions:

1. Rub the washed chicken pieces with the salt & garlic paste and set aside for 15mins.
2. Dry-roast the whole spices (garlic pods, cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorns, green chili, red chili & bay leaves) for a 3. few minutes.
4. Heat the olive oil & fry the onions to a light brown.
5. Add the dry-roasted spices & fry well for 1 minute.
6. Add the powder spices (coriander, cumin, turmeric, garam masala) & fry well for another minute or two (add little water if its burning at the base).
7. Wash & drain the chicken pieces well – remove as much water as possible. Pat dry.
8. Add it to the spices along with some salt; toss it around till its evenly coated & turns from pink to white, almost light brown (about 3-5 mins on medium heat)
9. Add 1/2-1 cup water, stir, cover & cook on medium heat for 10mins.
10. Meanwhile, heat the ghee & fry the cumin, mustard & curry leaves till they splutter. Set aside.
11. Add the vegetables, tamarind pulp & daal to the chicken & cover-cook for another 10 mins so that the chicken is completely done & the vegs are soft (not broken).
12. Open, add the vinegar, mango pwd & the tempered mustard-cumin-curry leaves. Taste the salt & add if reqd.
13. Garnish with dried methi leaves or fresh chopped cilantro & serve hot with rice or naans.

Leftover-makeover tip:

Take the chicken/meat pieces out of the leftover curry, add 1 cup washed chana daal, some salt, tamarind pulp, pepper & cumin pwd, turmeric & red chili pwd and cover-cook until the daal is done. Then top off with the same tempering as above along with the mango pwd & vinegar. Add the chicken pieces back & simmer for a few minutes, topping off with the fenugreek/cilantro leaves as above.

2 Responses so far.

  1. Dara Acidwalla says:

    Dhansak is not the daal. It is the combination of daal and rice… red rice.

    The rice can be red Kerala or red Goa Rice. However if you’d prefer Basmati rice then you have to use caramaelised sugar as most Parsees do.

    If eaten with a roti or naan without the rice, you will not be eating only the Dhansak-nee-Daal (as the Parsees say).

    • mearl223 says:

      Wow, thanks, its great that you shared that with us.. Being Parsee yourself, you certainly know better :) Funny how my many Parsee friends didn’t point that out, lol. Thanks again & please feel free to comment on the other Parsee recipes as well.

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