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Chicken dhansak (spicy chicken & lentil stew)

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For the sauce
  • 150g lentils (I used red lentils)
  • 1 x400g tin tomato
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 aubergine, chopped
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped coriander
  • 4 mint leaves
  • 0.25 tsp turmeric
  • 500ml boiling water
For the chicken
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 0.5 cup freshly chopped coriander
  • 6 mint leaves
  • 3 green chillis, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 3 star anise segments, crushed
  • 1 small piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1.5 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 0.5 tsp cumin
  • 0.5 tsp funugreek powder (I omitted this as I did not have it)
  • 0.25 tsp black pepper
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg
  • 3 boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Cooking Time
    1 hour
  • Serving
    Serves 5
  • Skill Level


On my mission to explore different foods, I came across this dish which is popular in India and Pakistan. The ingredients used are ones you will easily have on hand, as I like to make sure the recipe's are easy to make for all. I hope it does the dish justice :)
  1. Add all the ingredients under 'for the sauce' in a large pot, bring to the boil, then reduce the temperature and cover, leaving to simmer for 45 mins (mix from time to time to avoid it sticking)
  2. Half an hour into the sauce simmering, start on the chicken. Heat the oil in a pan then add the coriander, mint, chillis, garlic, star anise, ginger, chilli, coriander powder, garam masala, cumin, funugreek, black pepper and nutmeg and stir fry for a few minutes
  3. Add the chicken pieces to the spice mixture, and stir fry for a further few minutes until the chicken gets some colour, then take off the heat and set aside until the sauce is done
  4. When the sauce is ready (all vegetables are soft), place in a food processor to blend, or use a handheld whisk until smooth
  5. Add the chicken to the sauce, followed by the sugar, salt and chicken stock. Simmer on medium/low heat for 20 mins until the chicken cooks
  6. Add the lemon juice to the sauce, then check for seasoning and serve

This would taste so good with roti, or any bread. I served it with rice. It tastes so lovely and it isn't hard to make. Enjoy :)


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