Chicken dhansak is a delicious and stomach warming Parsee and Indian recipe. Generally, it involves simmering meat in a mixture of lentils and vegetables. It’s a perfect recipe to make in the middle of the week, which will warm you right up.
In my opinion, it is a fantastic recipe if you would like to start cutting down on your meat consumption. So, if you’re starting your way on your vegetarian journey, try this chicken dhansak recipe today. Once you try this chicken dhansak, you’ll wish you had this recipe a long time ago. Enjoy and let me know how it goes.
Chicken dhansak recipe
A dhansak recipe involves cubes of mutton or goat, simmered with lentils and other vegetables. In short, it is a vibrant recipe which combines sweet, sour and spicy flavours in one bite. Usually, a chicken dhansak recipe takes hours to prepare. However, my version only takes an hour, saving you lots of time and getting you the perfect outcome.
I decided to make this recipe a tad lighter by substituting the mutton or goat meat with chicken. For best results, brine the chicken first. You can use any type of cut of the chicken:
Next, my version is a lot easier because it involves the addition of a homemade curry base sauce. Generally I like to make a large batch of it and then store it in my freezer for when I feel like a curry. It’s really handy.
If you’ve got leftover curry base sauce, here are a few curries you can make with it apart from the chicken dhansak:
- Sweet potato curry with mushrooms and spinach – a nutty vegetable curry
- Mixed vegetable curry – a vibrant vegetarian curry that’s very tasty and nutritious
- Beef korma – an intense curry with creamy flavours
Top things you’ll need for a dhansak recipe
Here’s a list of the top things you’ll need to complete this chicken dhansak recipe. See the following products below:
- Boning knife – if you bought a whole chicken for this chicken dhansak recipe you’ll need a boning knife for the chicken
- Curry serving dishes – these curry serving dishes will bring authenticity to your dish
- Slow cooker – if you’ve got a slow cooker at home then use it by all means for this chicken dhansak
- Pressure cooker – the lentils and the meat are best cooked in the pressure cooker (I bet you can cut the cooking time by half)
- lentils – lentils are an essential component of this dhansak recipe
Chicken dhansak taste
This chicken dhansak recipe is a combination of traditional Indian spices with sweet and sour elements. Most of the times, a dhansak recipe is rich in taste because it is served with mutton or goat meat. More than that, it’s quite sweet and sour in taste.
The sweet taste generally comes from the addition of sugar (brown sugar most of the time). However, in order to cut down on the sugar and introduce some more acidity, it’s common to substitute with fresh pineapple.
In terms of the spice levels, you can make it mild. However, the original version calls for medium heat.
Chicken dhansak origin
A dhansak recipe stems from Persian and Gujarati cuisines. Originally, it was a Parsee dish. However, it is also a very popular dish in Indian, where it was spread amongst the Parsee or Zoroastrian community in India.
If we look at the word dhansak, ‘dhan’ refers to a Gujarati cereal dish. ‘Sak’ is derived from the word ‘shaak’, which refers to cooked vegetables.
Generally speaking, this chicken dhansak recipe involves a cooking technique that extends the meat with the addition of lentils or split peas and other vegetables. This is done because, in those regions, meat is considered an expensive ingredient. Therefore, the meat is spread out throughout the dish with lentils.
In Parsi culture, a dhansak recipe is served always on a Sunday. In addition, a dhansak is never served for three days when a family member or a close friend passes. This is because, culturally speaking, meat should not be consumed in the three days.
However, after three days of mourning, the dhansak is served on the fourth day. Lastly, a dhansak recipe is never served on weddings or other festivities.
Chicken dhansak slow cooker
Normally, a chicken dhansak recipe takes a long time to cook. The texture you should be going for is mushy.
Therefore, I recommend you use a slow cooker or a pressure cooker. This will cut your cooking time in half! Other slow cooker recipes you can try:
What to serve with a dhansak?
Caramelised brown rice is the side dish of choice for any dhansak recipe. You make it by boiling rice in caramel water. First, you start by making your own caramel until it reaches a beautiful hazelnut brown colour. Next, you dilute the caramel with lots of water.
Make sure you have enough water to boil your rice. Lastly, cook your rice in the caramel water. The rice will take on a beautiful brown colour. Serve the rice hot with the chicken dhansak.
Other side dishes you can consider are:
- White basmati rice
- Jasmin rice
- garlic naan, ordinary naan or peshwari naan
- kerala paratha, chapatis or rotis
- Roasted green beans with garlic (if you would like to cut down on carbs)
- Bombay aloo or saag aloo
- Mushroom bhaji
Which side dish resonates with you the most with this chicken dhansak? Of course, you can make all of these and make a feast.
Best toppings for dhansak
Here are just a few topping ideas which you can inspire yourself with for this chicken dhansak. In my opinion these are the best toppings:
- Freshly sliced pineapple
- Fresh coriander leaves
- Slices of fresh red or green chillies
Other toppings that also work for this chicken dhansak recipe are:
- Peanuts or cashews
- roasted vegetables
How would you serve your chicken dhansak recipe? Let me know how the recipe works out for you and leave a comment below.
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A delicious chicken dhansak recipe with sweet and sour flavours from the addition of fresh pineapple.
- 30ml (2 tbsp) ghee
- 5ml (1 tsp) ground turmeric
- 1kg (2lbs) chicken breasts, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 5cm (2in) ginger root, peeled and grated
- 200g (1 cup) split red lentils, washed
- 500ml (2 cups) curry base sauce
- 15ml (1 tbsp) curry powder
- 125ml (½ cup) pineapple juice
- ½ pineapple, cored and sliced
- Heat the ghee in a large ovenproof casserole.
- Cover the chicken with turmeric and brown on all sides in the casserole.
- Add garlic and ginger, and fry for 1 minute.
- Pour in the curry base sauce, lentils and 250ml (1 cup) of water and bring the contents to a low simmering point.
- Cook for 30 minutes, but check in every now or then whether there’s enough liquid in the pot. If not, top up with a bit of water.
- After the chicken and lentils are cooked, add the curry powder, pineapple juice and pineapple.
- Simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Serve with your favourite Indian side dishes. It freezes well too. Enjoy!
- Category: Curry
- Method: Simmer
- Cuisine: Indian
Keywords: chicken dhansak, authentic Indian chicken curry recipe, dhansak curry recipe