i know many folks who love dhansak. first time i had dhansak in my home science days and i must say that i loved it. dhansak is a traditional parsi recipe usually served with brown rice. it is a medley of lentils, vegetables, spices and meat.
being a vegetarian i cannot include meat, so have just made it with lentils, veggies and the spices. i know very very little about parsi food. i have been even to parsi weddings, but never had any of the parsi delicacies coz all of them were non vegetarian.
recently i got a request to post some parsi vegetarian recipes and this is the first one in this series. besides dhansak, the other parsi recipes that i am familiar with are brown rice, patrani ni machchi (fish cooked in banana leaves ) lagan nu custard (wedding custard). see… i already told you i know very very little.
i referred to five sources for the dhansak recipe, three cookbooks and two cyclostyled recipe sheets. one of mine and the other given to me by a friend. i settled down for the recipe sheet given by the friend as it did not ask me for a readymade dhansak masala… plus it was a totally vegetarian dhansak recipe. i have adapted the recipe by not adding clove powder and instead using extra cloves while making the dhansak masala paste.
and the result was too good… a comforting , warm, spicy and nutritious dhansak. the actual recipe involves adding veggies like aubergines/brinjal and pumpkin. i did not have both, so i added an extra of bottle gourd/lauki. with the remaining of the lauki, i made lauki halwa.
also instead of adding five different lentils, i added 3 lentils. you could also just add one type of lentil, namely arhar dal/pigeon pea lentils or masoor dal/pink lentils. another important ingredient in dhansak is fenugreek leaves/methi. you could either use fresh or dry fenugreek leaves. i did not have fresh fenugreek leaves , so i added kasuri methi/dry fenugreek leaves.
this is a step by step recipe for making dhansak.
in a pressure cooker, take all your veggies, lentils and fenugreek. add water and pressure cook for 5-6 minutes. i also added a few scallions.
below you see all the ingredients for the dhansak masala paste.
take all of these in a grinder and with some water grind to a smooth paste. the freshness and aroma of this masala paste is wonderful.
now that the veggies and lentils are cooked.
through a strainer or seive pass the lentils and veggies and mash with the back of a spoon while doing so.
there should be lumps at all. if using a fine strainer like the one i have, then the mashed veggies won’t be able to pass through it. so mash the veggies with a wooden spoon and then add it to the strained mixture.
i went for a smooth mixture, but it you want you can keep some texture by not mashing the veggies smoothly.
now heat ghee. add onions and saute them. i used the same pressure cooker. did not want additional pans for washing
add the dhansak masala paste and saute till the raw aroma goes away.
add the strained and mashed lentils and veggie mixture to the masala paste. simmer for some minutes.
finally add the tamarind juice and simmer for some more minutes. if you look very carefully you will see the dark tamarind juice color almost off the center on the right hand side.
serve the dhansak, hot with brown rice.
or you can also have it like a soup with some warm toasted bread or garlic bread. its tastes awesome both with rice and bread.
veg dhansak recipe details are below: