Dhansak was a new taste for me, I had never had it before moving to India. I thoroughly enjoyed it — maybe because it was mostly with chicken or mutton. It was not until years later when I began to experiment in the kitchen that I realized how healthy this dish is.
Dhansak is made with several different dals, pumpkin and green leafy vegetables – protein, calcium and so many vitamins and minerals with a minimum amount of oil.
When I asked my Parsi friends about the best dhansak masala they just smiled and said that the masala must homemade. I believed them, but not enough not to try the packaged masala. I recently looked for the recipe online and found so many variations, mostly with masala to be made at home. I mixed and matched the recipes and came up with my own, and it was a hit at home.
The ‘Mangal ‘brand of dhansak masala which is available in most stores served me just fine.One trick I found was to take the same amount of methi(fenugreek leaves), pudina(mint leaves), and coriander leaves and roast them separately before taking them through the mixer to add to the dal and pumpkin mixture. The roasting added more flavor to the dish.
Here is my recipe adapted from several websites, friends, and trial and error.
Ingredients: 1 cup Toor Dal ½ cup Moong Dal ¾ cup Red Masoor dal 2 large onions, finely chopped 2 medium potatoes, diced 1 cup Red Pumpkin, diced 1 cup Fenugreek Leaves, finely chopped 1 cup chopped Pudina 1 cup chopped coriander leaves ¼ tsp. Garlic paste ¼ tsp. Ginger paste 2 bayleaves ½ tsp. Turmeric Powder ½ tsp Red Chili Powder 2 green chillies chopped 1 tbsp. Vegetable Oil Salt to taste Mint for garnishing
Directions: 1. Wash all the dals and pressure cook with turmeric powder, salt, potatoes, red pumpkin for 3 whistles.
2. Mash to a rather fine consistency (no whole vegetable should be evident).
3. In a kadhai heat 1 tsp oil and add pudina, methi and coriander. Sautee for 2 minutes and take through the mixer when cooled.
4. Heal 1 tbsp oil and chopped onion, ginger, garlic, and bay leaf, and dhansak masala.
5. Stir till oil separates from the masala.
6. Cook till the mixture becomes pulpy.
7. Cook chicken in pressure cooker for 2 whistles.
8. Add chilli as required. Now add the dal mixture and methi mixture and chicken. Simmer for 10 minutes till gravy thickens. Garnish with mint and serve hot with Brown Rice.