Chicken Dhansak
Prep Time

20 mins mins

Cook Time

45 mins mins

Total Time

1 hour 5 min mins




  • 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 chilies
  • 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
  • Handful of coriander leaves, chopped


  • To make the Saffron Rice:
  • Rinse the rice well, drain.
  • Boil water in a pan, add the soaked rice and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat.
  • Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until stock is absorbed and rice is tender.
  • Fluff with fork and serve.
  • To make the Chicken Dhansak:
  • Mash the ginger and garlic together into a pulp.
  • 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.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pan and sauté the chicken with any juices for about 10 minutes.
  • Add 1/2 litre of water, bring to the boil and cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  • Mix the split peas and lentils together and wash them until the water runs clear. Drain.
  • Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in another pan and fry the onions until they begin to turn golden.
  • Add the turmeric and garam masala, cook for 1 minute then add the lentils and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes.
  • Add water and salt and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Mash the lentilsto make a smooth mixture and add this to the pan with the chicken
  • Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and cook for 30 mins, stirring occasionally
  • Dissolve the tamarind in a little hot water and add this to the pan. Cook for 3 minutes.
  • Serve hot with Saffron Rice
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