February 17th, 2014

Dhansak dhal


For the first time in my life, I now own a coffee grinder which can also grind spices. After coming across this recipe for Dhansak dhal I was really curious to try out making my own spice mixes. Dhansak is a traditional Parsi recipe – kind of a mix of Indian and Persian cuisine it seems – a spicy Dahl with blended vegetables and pieces of meat. I never really liked Dahl as a kid, but I was willing to give this one a try, as the spice mix sounded intriguing.


I didn’t have all the ingredients necessary for the spice mix, most notably star anise and black cardamom (which I’ve since found and will use next time I make the spice mix). This was my first time using fenugreek seeds (which are basically impossible to use without a spice grinder), and they give a unique, slightly sweet flavour (they smell almost like maple syrup). The smell in the kitchen reminded me very much of the restaurants from when I travelled in India a few years ago.


Once the spices are ground, you cook them up with jaggery (I used thai palm sugar), vinegar, and something sour (I used lime juice) to make the curry ‘base’, to which you add the meat (I used chicken).


Separately, you cook a Dahl using lentils, a mix of vegetables, stock, and turmeric in a pressure cooker. I used zucchini and carrot instead of the potato and squash in the recipe. You then blend the cooked lentils to make a thick sauce…


… and then mix the cooked curry base and the Dahl together to make the final dish. It makes for a very thick, rich curry gravy. The taste is unique (well, it was to me anyway) — it had an incredible depth of flavour compared to any other curry I’ve ever made.



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One Comment on “Dhansak dhal”

  1. Rob said at 11:46 pm on February 17th, 2014:


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