Chicken Dhansak

Yet another dish from James’s Kitchen to dispell those myths about Indian food. Despite popular misconceptions and the offerings of many curry houses, a Dhansak is not a sweet and sour dish, and it doesn’t contain pineapple! The only requirement for a Dhansak is that it should contain lentils. This is a rich chicken curry which uses moong daal (split green lentils). I prefer to cook a large batch of daal up and freeze them in portions, which significantly cuts down the prep time.
Note that this recipe could easily be converted for vegetarian use by replacing the chicken with interesting veg, such as peppers, squash, beans, mushrooms, etc.

Cooking Time – approx 45 minutes

Serves 2


  • 1 1/2 Onions, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1 tbsp Garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp Ginger, crushed
  • 2 tsp Cumin, ground
  • 4 tsp Corriander, ground
  • 5 Black Peppercorns, ground
  • 1 1/4 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 3/4 tsp Turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 2 Chicken Breasts, sliced
  • 3 Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 portion Daal*
  • Water as necessary
  • 1 oz Butter
  • 3-4 tbsp Cream
  • 1 handful Coriander leaf, chopped


  • Fry off the onions for a few minutes until they start to soften, then add the garlic and ginger and fry for 2
  • Stirr in all of the spices and salt and cook for 1 minute before adding the chicken. Fry on a high heat for 3-4 minutes before turning down the heat
  • Stir in the tomatoes and bring the mixure up to boiling point
  • Stir in the lentil mixture (daal), cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add extra water as and when required. Stir periodically to prevent sticking
  • Add butter, cream and coriander leaves. Stir well and heat through for 2 minutes
  • Serve with plain rice and onion pakora

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