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Vegetable Dhansak


A dhansak is a spiced dish of pureed lentils and vegetables. They are cooked in a tangy sauce. This is a Parsi recipe that comes from western India and is taken from my Easy Indian Cookbook.

bar Vegetable Dhansak
If you cannot make the dhansak masala, replace it with 1 tsp of ground coriander, 1 tsp of ground cumin and 1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon.

Picture by William Lingwood

Serves 4

100g split yellow lentils
100g split dried yellow mung beans
200g floury potatoes, peeled and quartered
200g carrots, chopped
115g butter or ghee
5cm/2 in piece fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 onions, chopped
1 tbsp dhansak masala
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp salt
2 tomatoes, finely chopped


Bring 750ml of water to the boil.

Add the lentils and mung beans and return the water to the boil. Partially cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and leave to simmer, stirring occasionally for 35-40 minutes until the mixture becomes mushy. Watch carefully so the mixture does not burn. Top up with extra boiling water if necessary. Bring another large saucepan to the boil over a high heat while the lentils are simmering. Add the potatoes and carrots, return the water to the boil and boil for 20-25 minutes until they are both very tender and the potatoes almost falling apart, then drain well.

Pour the lentils and any remaining water into a blender. Add the drained potatoes and carrots and blend until the mixture forms a thick puree. Set aside.
Melt the butter or ghee in a large pan saucepan over a medium-low heat.
Add the ginger, garlic, chillies and onions and fry, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until the onions are caramelised.

Stir in the dhansak masala, turmeric and salt, then add the tomatoes and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Stir in the lentil and vegetable mixture and continue stirring for 2 minutes, then serve with rice or chapatis.


(c) 2012

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