I am so very excited to share today’s recipe with my fellow kooky cooks.
Dhansak is one dish that I have been meaning to make for the longest time but was a bit nervous thinking it was way too time consuming and elaborate with an over-stretched ingredients list. Glad to say I was proved wrong.
A few weeks back, I had this famous Parsi mutton and rice dinner at my friend Meher’s place. Having got the recipe from her, I mustered the courage to try it in my own kitchen.
Dhansak is a stew of mutton, dals and vegetables served over brown rice alongside some kachumbar.
Vegetables to be used include pumpkin, aubergine and small fenugreek leaves. If you can’t get hold of the latter, skip the leaves but don’t substitute with regular or dry variants.
Mutton dhahsak is the most authentic version although you do get chicken and vegetable dhansak as well.
The brown rice is actually white rice which is cooked in caramalised water. It should become very brown, something I didn’t achieve in my first attempt (mine turned out a pale brown).
Kachumbar is a mixture of finely chopped onions and tomatoes with some chilli and coriander. You can also add a chopped cucumber if you wish.
I used ready prepared dhansak masala; it is available in most Indian grocery stores. Meher’s family use the Mangal brand which they say comes closest to the homemade version so I managed to get a packet from them.
There is one more component to dhansak which I skipped – kebabs.
one of the most satisfying dinner experience you will have
Enjoy with some chilled beer.
Ingredients for Dhansak
500 Grams mutton (preferably on the bone)
1/2 Cup tuvar dal
1/2 Cup masoor dal
125 Grams Pumpkin
4 Baby aubergine
4 Ripe tomato
2 Tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
2 1″ cinnamon sticks
4-5 Whole peppercorns
3 Green cardamom
3 Black cardamom
1-2 Tablespoons dhansak masala
2 Teaspoons turmeric powder
1 Tablespoon chilli powder
1-2 Teaspons jaggery powder (or a small lump of jaggery)
1-2 Tablespoons oil
Salt to taste
- Soak the tuvar dal for 5-6 hours.
- Clean the mutton and apply a pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon turmeric powder and 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste.
- Cook the mutton in about 2 cups of water till tender.
- Drain the stock and set aside.
- Wash and cube the pumpkin (I didn’t peel it).
- Wash and cube the aubergine.
- Wash the masoor dal.
- Place the two dals, chopped vegetables, 1 teaspoon turmeric powder and a pinch of salt into a pot. Cook till meltingly soft. (You can do this in a pressure cooker if you wish).
- Once the dal and vegetables are cooked, mash them with the back of a spoon and set aside.
- Wash and puree the tomato.
- Peel, wash and chop the onion.
- Heat the oil in a large pot.
- Once it is hot, add the cinnamon stick, clove, peppercorn, cardamom and bayleaf.
- Lower the heat and add the onion along with salt to taste.
- Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
- Uncover and add 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the tomato puree.
- Stir well, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
- Uncover and add the mutton, dal and vegetable mixture, dhansak masala, jaggery and chilli powder.
- At this stage, check for consistency. If you feel that it needs some water, add the mutton stock. But keep in mind that the dhansak should be fairly thick, not watery.
- Mix well and check for salt.
- Cover and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Take off the heat and keep aside till ready to serve.
Ingredients for Brown Rice
1 Cup white rice
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon ghee
- Wash and soak the rice for 30 minutes.
- Peel, wash and slice the onion.
- Take a pot to cook the rice in.
- Heat the ghee in it and when it has melted, add the sugar.
- Lower the heat and keep stirring till the sugar melts. It will become brown as it starts caramelising.
- Once the sugar has caramalised, add the sliced onions.
- Mix well, cover and cook for about 10 minutes. By the end, the onions should be nicely brown.
- Drain the rice and add to the browned onions, along with some salt.
- Gently mix.
- Add 2 cups of water, increase the heat and bring to boil.
- Once it reaches rolling boil, lower the heat, cover and cook for about 25 minutes till the rice is full cooked.
- Once cooked, take off the heat and let it sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Ingredients for Kachumbar
2 Ripe tomato
1 Cucumber (optional)
2 Green chilli
Small bunch fresh coriander
Juice of 1 lime or lemon
Salt to taste
- Peel, wash and finely chop the onion.
- Wash and finely dice the tomato.
- Wash and finely chop the cucumber, if using.
- Wash, dry and finely chop the coriander.
- Wash and finely slice the chilli.
- Mix all the ingredients and chill for half hour before serving.
- Serve some brown rice on a plate.
- Ladle dhansak on top of the rice.
- Serve kachumbar on the side.