Chicken dhansak - chicken with green lentils...

If you're reading Anula's Kitchen for some time now, you've probably noticed that I'm quite a big fan of Indian cuisine. I just love how from boring chicken you can get a dish worth making for a party! I know that sometimes (well almost every time when it comes to Indian food...) list of ingredients is rather long... but once you have some main spices in your cupboard, you're good to go with most of the Indian recipes! You'll also notice that usually half of the ingredients on those long lists next to the recipe, are in fact spices only!
Once I've "stocked up" on garam masala, turmeric, cumin, coriander and few others - the rest of ingredients is usually in my kitchen all (well most) of the time :) Chicken dhansak was on my "to do list" for a very long time... and I'm so mad at myself that I've never tried to make it earlier! I loved the dish - I even tweaked it a little by adding spinach, which wasn't in the recipe. I ate the whole plate and it was the same story with the rest of my family... the girls even had seconds! :)

The below recipe comes from a fantastic cookbook "Complete Indian Cooking" by M. Baljekar, R. Fernandez, S. Husain & M. Kanani.

"Dhansak is a popular Indian dish, especially popular among the Parsi Zoroastrian community. It combines elements of Persian and Gujarati cuisine. Dhansak consists of lentils, vegetables, spices, cumin seeds, ginger, and garlic together with meat and either gourd or pumpkin." - by

How to make it...
- 75 g green lentils
- 475 ml chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 curry leaves
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2,5 cm piece fresh root ginger, chopped
- 1 fresh green chili, finely chopped (didn't have it so I used 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 400 g can chopped tomatoes
- 8 chicken pieces, skinnes (I used thigh's meat, as it's my favourite choice for Indian dishes)
- 6 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- rice to serve
- Spinach leaves, chopped (I also add spinach, even tho it wasn't in the original recipe, as we like spinach a lot and I always try to give the girls as much vegs as possible, it worked really well here!)

Rinse the lentils under the cold water. Put into a pan with the stock, bring to boil, cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Put the lentils and stock aside.
Heat the oil in a large heavy pan and fry the cumin seeds and curry leaves for 2 minutes. Add the onion, ginger and chili and fry for about 5 minutes. Stir in the cumin, ground coriander, salt and chili powder with 30 ml water.
Add the tomatoes and chicken pieces to the spices. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes. Add the lentils with the stock, spinach, chopped coriander and garam masala. Cook for further 10 minutes or till chicken is fully cooked. Serve with spiced or plain rice.


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