Chicken Dhansak

  • Prep Time

    20 mins

  • Cooking Time

    45 mins

  • Serving


  • Non Veg
  • Chicken
  • South Asian
  • Main course

A rather elaborate preparation, but the labour is worth it in the end! A popular South Asian dish chicken comes together with an assortment of veggies and lentils to form a delectable meal, all by itself!


To make the Saffron Rice:

  1. Rinse the rice well, drain.
  2. Boil water in a pan, add the soaked rice and cook for 20 minutes.
  3. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Add the saffron.
  4. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until stock is absorbed and rice is tender.
  5. Fluff with a fork and serve.
  6. To make the Chicken Dhansak:

  7. Mash the ginger and garlic together into a pulp.
  8. In a grinder mix together the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, cardamoms, cinnamon stick, dried chillies, peppercorns, bay leaves, fenugreek seeds, and the mustard seeds. Mix in 6 tbsp water to make a paste, add the garlic and ginger pulp, mix well and add to the chicken, making sure that the meat is well coated.
  9. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pan and sauté the chicken with any juices for about 10 minutes.
  10. Add 1/2 litre of water, bring to the boil and cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  11. Mix the split peas and lentils together and wash them until the water runs clear. Drain.
  12. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in another pan and fry the onions until they begin to turn golden.
  13. Add the turmeric and garam masala, cook for 1 minute then add the lentils and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes.
  14. Add water and salt and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and cook for 30 minutes.
  15. Mash the lentilsto make a smooth mixture and add this to the pan with the chicken
  16. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and cook for 30 mins, stirring occasionally
  17. Dissolve the tamarind in a little hot water and add this to the pan. Cook for 3 minutes.
  18. Serve hot with Saffron Rice


For the rice:

  • 1 cup Laila Basmati Rice
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp butter (optional)
  • 1 tbsp dried onion flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch saffron, crumbled
  • For the Dhansak:

  • 450gm boneless chicken thighs cut into chunks
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 4 green cardamoms
  • 2-inch cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
  • 6 dried chillies
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 600ml chicken stock
  • 230gm chopped tomatoes
  • 85gm yellow split peas
  • 85gm dried red lentils, rinsed in cold water
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • A handful of coriander leaves, chopped