Chicken with Lentils (Dhansak) © TPH & llizard aka ejm 2002

Ingredients (serves 6)
Garam masala
3 tsp ground cardamom seeds
½ inch cinnamon stick, ground
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground black cumin seeds
1 tsp ground cumin seeds
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1½ tsp ground black pepper

Dhansak masala
1½ tsp garam masala--^
½ tsp star anise powder
¼ tsp nutmeg powder

Parsee sambar masala
¾ tsp fenugreek powder
½ tsp mustard powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
½ tsp ground pepper
  1. Wash toor dal and soak in cold water for 30 minutes. Soak tamarind in 1 c water for at least 30 minutes.

  2. In large pot, cover dal with water. Add chopped potato. Bring to a boil and simmer til dal is very soft. DO NOT ADD SALT until dal is soft. When dal is the consistancy you like, season with salt or chicken stock powder.

  3. While dal is cooking, peel and chop ginger, garlic cloves, onion and eggplant. (Original recipe called for red pumpkin as well), Heat the oil in a large pan (we use a wok) and fry chopped ginger, onions, garlic, sambar masala, dhansak masala, turmeric, cumin, coriander and chili powders, coriander leaves, mint leaves, fenugreek, tomatoes, eggplant and green chillies. Fry for 2 minutes, stirring continuously. Add chicken and saute for 2 minutes. Season with salt (or chicken stock powder) and stir well.

  4. Add the chicken to the dal mixture. Add brown sugar. Simmer til the chicken is cooked through before adding the tamarind water and lime juice; adjust for salt, then simmer for a couple of minutes. It is now ready to serve.

Based on a recipe for a Parsee dish from Bombay in 50 Great Curries of India by Camellia Panjabi. The recipe suggests that this be served with caramelized onion rice pilao. We had it with naan and it was delicious. (Mrs. Panjabi notes that Dhansak is often served for Sunday midday dinners but is not to be served on auspicious occasions because of being traditionally served on fourth day after a funeral.)