Authentic Dhansak | Delicious Indian lentil dish with sweet, spicy, sour flavours!

Indian Lamb Dish | Best Authentic Lamb Dhansak Curry Recipe

Indian Lamb Dish | Best Authentic Lamb Dhansak Curry Recipe

This delicious, authentic lamb dhansak curry is absolutely packed with sweet, sour and spicy flavours. It’s everything a curry should be!


Subscribe Now

Subscribe to my newsletter now for a free guide to cooking curries! AND I’ll send you weekly tricks, tips and updates that will help you elevate your cooking to the next level!


Best Dhansak Recipe | Beautiful, red curry with herbs and spices.
Best Dhansak Recipe | Beautiful, red curry with herbs and spices.

Introduction

A number of Indian dishes are very popular here in the UK. Dishes like the Korma and the Vindaloo, popular favourites and fairly honest interpretations of real Indian dishes. Or dishes like the Tikka Masala. Britain’s national dish and a fond reworking of another classic, butter chicken.

Sometimes, these dishes are cooked with authenticity in mind. Other times, they are cooked with more consideration for the English palate. Either way, we are enthralled with them all. We love the big, powerful spiced dishes that blow our minds. Like this beautiful, fiery Goan lamb curry. And we love the wonderful, creamy, fragrant dishes. Like this mind-blowing chicken pasanda. That last one might well be the best curry I’ve ever made!

The most popular of these dishes are the korma and the tikka masala. At least at the time of this post! A little further down that list and arguably a little more exotic, is my pick of all the takeaway favourites and a dish with at least a little real history of its own! The Dhansak.

Lamb Dhansak Curry | A wonderful lentil based dish with lamb and potato.

About the dish

An authentic Indian Dhansak is normally a mutton or lamb dish. But it could contain whatever protein is available. Lamb and mutton are particularly suited to use in a Dhansak curry, because they bring a fatty, meatiness that helps to balance the acidity and depth of the dish. But that’s not to suggest the best Dhansak recipe would necessarily have to contain lamb! Chicken versions of the dish are very popular as well.

The Dhansak actually has Persian origins. As a great number of my favourite curries do! Their wonderful influence is responsible for this fantastic Rogan Josh, and for this beautiful Chicken Korma.

The recipe itself calls for one thing above all others. The inclusion of lentils. Which help to make the sauce creamy and filling, as well as bringing an earthy quality.

That earthy quality is important for stabilising the extra flavours we’re going to put into the dish. By nature, a Dhansak should be sweet, sour and spicy. Which sounds to me a little Thai! Although that’s purely a coincidence.

So, ultimately, all these things together make the Dhansak a very flavoursome curry with a whole load of wonderful texture!

Advertisements

About this authentic lamb dhansak curry

Traditionally, a Dhansak curry contains red lentils. In this instance, I have used mung lentils instead. The instructions below are made with yellow mung lentils in mind. Yellow take a little longer to disperse and disintegrate, so this shouldn’t affect anything negatively at all. The only difference will be that anyone using red lentils will be able to eat sooner than the rest of us!

We’re also going to use lemon juice to provide the sourness we need. Other recipes will call for tamarind. Both are perfectly acceptable ways of doing this and I encourage anyone with access to both to either pick their favourite or even use a little of each. I’m focusing on lemon juice in this recipe because it’s much more readily accessible.

Similarly, the sweetness in this recipe comes from brown sugar. Again, you can use what’s available. By that, I mean in terms of sugars, although there’s really nothing wrong with using mango or pineapple as they often do in takeaway versions. I’ve even seen some recipes call for honey, so it’s all down to your taste.

Best Authentic Lamb Dhansak Curry Recipe | A rich, beautiful Indian lamb dish with wonderful spices and complex, balanced flavours.
Best Authentic Lamb Dhansak Curry Recipe | A rich, beautiful Indian lamb dish with wonderful spices and complex, balanced flavours.

Things to remember!

  • Be patient! Lentils take time to break down and the time it takes is vital both to creating a perfect, smooth consistency and to soft, succulent lamb.
  • Don’t be scared to add more flavour. As I said above, an authentic Dhansak curry is supposed to be a sweet, sour, spicy dish. So you can really get away with making it really sweet, sour and spicy. Within reason, of course. You don’t want it sickly. But you absolutely want to taste all of those wonderful flavours!
  • Do what you need to do. If you want to change the meat, go right ahead. If you have a different kind of lentil available, make use of it. Authenticity is a wonderful thing, but there’s no one true way to do things. Dishes change with time and the availability of ingredients. That’s how we stumble upon bigger and better things!
Best Authentic Lamb Dhansak Curry Recipe

Similar Recipes & Useful Sides

The Best Kashmiri Lamb Rogan Josh Recipe – An unexpected favourite, a childhood favourite in its grown up form. Rich, deep and incredible.

Passanda Sauce Recipe – An Authentic Leftover Chicken Curry – The sexiest, creamiest, butteriest, chickeniest curry I’ve ever made and an absolute personal favourite.

Goan Lamb Curry – Another of Goa’s beautiful curries. This time a delicious vindaloo style lamb dish!

The Best Indian Flatbread Recipe – The best Indian flatbreads you’ve ever seen. Seriously.

References

http://www.curryhouse.co.uk/glossary/curries.html


The above are affiliate links for which I earn a commission per purchase.


Subscribe Now

Subscribe to my newsletter now for a free guide to cooking curries! AND I’ll send you weekly tricks, tips and updates that will help you elevate your cooking to the next level!


Indian Lamb Dish | Best Authentic Lamb Dhansak Curry Recipe

This delicious, authentic lamb dhansak curry is absolutely packed with sweet, sour and spicy flavours. It’s everything a curry should be!
Prep Time 2 hrs
Cook Time 2 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 3

Ingredients
  

  • 400 g Lamb Shoulder or any appropriate braising cut
  • 1/2 cup Lentils red or yellow
  • 500 ml Stock
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tsp Coriander Seeds
  • 5 Cardamom Pods
  • 1/2 tsp Asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp Fenugreek
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper cracked or powdered
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 Star Anise
  • 1 lrg Onion
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 1 inch Ginger
  • 1 sml handful Coriander Stalks
  • 1 lrg Potato
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 can Chopped Tomatoes
  • Salt
  • Brown Sugar or whatever you have available
  • Lemon Juice or tamarind
  • Oil or ghee

Instructions
 

Make your spice mix

  • Toast 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp coriander seeds and 5 cardamom pods in a hot pan for a minute or two. Keep them moving so they don’t blacken.
  • Grind them into a powder in a pestle and mortar and add 1 tsp chilli, 1/2 tsp asafoetida, 1/4 tsp fenugreek, 1/2 tsp black pepper and 1/2 tsp turmeric.

Make your curry paste

  • Peel and chop 3 cloves garlic and a nice, big chunk of ginger, at least a cubic inch. Chop up a roughly equal amount of coriander stalks. Either grind or blend these ingredients together and set them aside.

Prep

  • Dice your meat into bitesized chunks and season. In a hot pan with a little oil or ghee, sear all over and set aside.
  • Peel and finely dice your onion, then set aside.
  • Add 500ml stock and half a cup of lentils to a saucepan and simmer for 2 hours to soften. They should disintegrate, but if they don’t, don’t worry, we’re going to blend them together anyway. Keep an eye on the water level as they simmer and expand.
  • Peel your potatoes and chop or turn them into bitesize chunks. If there are any little offcuts, throw them into the pan with the stock and allow them to disintegrate with the lentils.

Cook

  • In a large, oiled (or gheed) pan, caramelise the onions on a low-medium heat for 6-8 minutes, with the star anise. Season with salt early on.
  • Check the amount of fat in the pan and make a gap amidst the onion. Add the dry spice mix and allow it to cook through in the fat for a minute or so, then combine with the onion.
  • Do the same thing for the curry paste. Make a gap and add the paste, then cook through for a minute or so before combining.
  • Add a can of chopped tomatoes and stir everything together.
  • Allow the mixture to cook through for a few minutes and then transfer to a blender.
  • Add the stock and the lentils and blend everything together. Season with salt to taste.
  • Transfer everything back to the pan and add the lamb, potatoes and a bay leaf.
  • Cover with a lid and cook for an hour.
  • Cook for a further hour or until you reach the desired consistency. You want a nice, thick, creamy sauce.
  • Add a tablespoon of brown sugar and at least a tablespoon of lemon juice. Add more of each if preferred, to taste. I do!
  • Serve and garnish with coriander.
Keyword Authentic Dhansak, Dhansak, Dhansak Curry, indian, Indian Cuisine, Lamb Curry

If you’ve enjoyed this recipe or have any comments or queries, please do let us know in the comments section below! And don’t forget to like and share!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating