Dhansak is an ever-popular Parsi dish which people make by combining lentils and the meat of chicken or mutton. This dish is a fan favourite and quintessential comfort food among many Parsi. People who have had the pleasure of sampling their cuisine can vouch for this too.
Dhansak can be enjoyed by vegetarians as well, we’re told it’s just as tasty without the meat. However, meat is why you’re here. So, for that reason, we’ve got a Mutton Dhansak recipe for you below that you’ll surely enjoy.
Parsi people came to India from Persia and settled in Gujarat. Unlike their Iranian counterparts, the Parsis who settled in India melded Indian spices with their traditional dishes to give us show-stoppers like Marghi Na Farcha, Patra Ni Macchi and more. The word Dhansak itself comes from two Gujarati words – ‘Dhan’ which is a type of cereal dish, and ‘Shaak’ which translates to ‘cooked vegetables’.
Parsis use Indian spices quite liberally in Dhansak, and therefore, it has a delectable flavour. Some of the spices used for this dish are – garam masala, turmeric, and chilli powder. Depending on which meat you use, the recipe and spices may also vary.
Traditionally Parsis would eat dhansak with brown rice and a cucumber salad, and we’d recommend sticking with tradition too. While the ingredient list is long, the recipe isn’t. Let’s get started.
In a bowl, soak the split pigeon peas, red lentils, yellow split gram, and split gram dal for half an hour.
In a pressure cooker, combine methi leaves, pumpkin, brinjal, water, and the soaked dals. Pressure cook for 10-15 minutes or until the dals are cooked.
To cook the mutton, start by heating oil in a pressure cooker. Add the bay leaves, and chopped onions and fry until the onions turn golden brown.
Add ginger-garlic paste and fry until cooked through. Then add the tomatoes, red chilli powder, and garam masala and saute for 1-2 mins. Add water and pressure cook for 4 whistles. Then put it on low heat for 10 minutes, and turn off the heat.
Once the pressure subsides, add the cooked dal to the mutton and simmer for 10-15 mins. Sprinkle salt, mix well, and serve.
If you’re on the hunt for a unique dish that packs a flavor punch, then Dhansak is the right way to go. A lot of Parsis also add in potatoes as another great veggie. For more of a Gujarati twist, you can add tamarind paste and jaggery to your Dhansak.
Recipe Tip: If your gravy is too thick, slowly add water until it reaches the desired consistency.