Chicken Dhansak Parsi Recipe

Chicken Dhansak
Image © Aparna Balasubramaniam/ Getty Images
  • 100 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 90 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4
Ratings (28)

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.

What You'll Need

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

How to Make It

  1. Wash the lentils well. Put them in a deep pan, add the chicken stock, salt to taste, and add a cup of water.
  2. Boil until the lentils are soft. Add more water if required.
  3. 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.
  4. Remove from the fire, cool, and then grind to a fine powder in a dry coffee or spice grinder. Mix in the turmeric and nutmeg and blend well. Set aside.
  1. When the lentils are cooked soft, whisk them to get a smooth and thick soup-like consistency. Set aside.
  2. Heat the cooking oil in a pan on a medium flame and when hot, add the fresh coriander, fenugreek, and mint leaves.
  3. Fry till soft. Remove from the fire and cool. Grind into a smooth paste in a food processor.
  4. 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.
  5. Add a cup of water, the spice powder, coriander-fenugreek-mint paste you made earlier, salt if required, and the chicken pieces. Mix well.
  6. Simmer and cook till chicken is done. Add more water to maintain consistency.
  7. Serve Dhansak hot with Parsi Brown Rice and a Kachumbar salad.
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 563
Total Fat 22 g
Saturated Fat 5 g
Unsaturated Fat 9 g
Cholesterol 105 mg
Sodium 528 mg
Carbohydrates 52 g
Dietary Fiber 12 g
Protein 50 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)