Chicken Dhansak Parsi

Chicken dhansak

Aparna Balasubramaniam / Getty Images

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 90 mins
Total: 100 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
563 Calories
22g Fat
52g Carbs
50g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 563
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g 28%
Saturated Fat 5g 27%
Cholesterol 105mg 35%
Sodium 528mg 23%
Total Carbohydrate 52g 19%
Dietary Fiber 12g 42%
Protein 50g
Calcium 611mg 47%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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.


  • 1 cup mixed lentils (toor, masoor, urad and moong (1/4 cup each))
  • 1 liter chicken stock
  • 500 grams of 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, or sunflower cooking oil
  • Salt (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Wash the lentils well.

  3. Put them in a deep pan, add the chicken stock, salt to taste, and add a cup of water.

  4. Boil until the lentils are soft. Add more water if required.

  5. 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) until they begin to release their aroma.

  6. Remove from the fire, cool, and then grind to a fine powder in a dry coffee or spice grinder.

  7. Mix in the turmeric and nutmeg and blend well. Set aside.

  8. When the lentils are cooked soft, whisk them to get a smooth and thick soup-like consistency. Set aside.

  9. Heat the cooking oil in a pan on a medium flame and when hot, add the fresh coriander, fenugreek, and mint leaves. Fry till soft. Remove from the fire and cool.

  10. Grind into a smooth paste in a food processor.

  11. 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.

  12. Add a cup of water, the spice powder, coriander-fenugreek-mint paste you made earlier, salt if required, and the chicken pieces. Mix well.

  13. Simmer and cook till chicken is done. Add more water to maintain consistency as needed. Serve hot.

Serving Ideas

Serve the dhansak with Parsi brown rice and a Kachumbar salad.