What do Mustapha, Crazy Little Thing Called Love and Chicken Dhansak have in common??
Let me give you a clue…this will ROCK you!
Yes, it is Freddie Mercury! Did you know that according to Freddie’s personal assistant, Peter Freestone; Freddie savoured spicy food and Dhansak was one of his favourite Parsi/South Asian dishes.
I was shocked at how much I have in common with Freddie! Both British, with Persian roots, LOVE dhansak and I won’t reveal the rest!!
Talking of Freddie takes me back to my high school days. I can vividly recall my friend T; she was a total Freddie fanatic! Day in, day out, she would be rocking to Freddie’s music.
Coming from a traditional family, that was my only exposure to Freddie and rock music…thanks T!! I can’t stop imagining how it would be playing Freddie’s songs, whilst cooking dhansak with my mum, Babul. OMG, can you imagine…haha! I can already see the expression on her face and the rolling pin in her hand running after me..LOL!
Daals are quintessential of desi cuisine and I grew up enjoying all sorts of delicious daal recipes from my two favourite ladies – Amma and Babul. Was reminiscing how in those days, we would soak the lentils overnight and let them stew over slow heat for hours. Like many, we do not have that luxury any more…God bless the pressure cooker!
Being huge fans of pulses, our pressure cooker is put to good use. We typically have beans and lentils numerous times in the week, as they offer so much variety in taste, rich in nutrients and keep us fuller for longer.
Looking for an even simpler and ‘faster’ way to cook this? Use your slow cooker! The only adaption I would suggest is frying the onions and spices in a separate pan and then adding on top of your chicken and lentils in the slow cooker.
Lentils: A Nutrition Powerhouse
This chicken dhansak recipe uses Masoor daal, which is a brown skinned lentil that is orange on the inside. It exudes a pleasant earthy flavor and is commonly used in stews and soups.
An excellent meat alternative, lentils are nutrition powerhouses; providing protein, fibre, B-vitamins, and iron.
What is Dhansak?
A classic Parsi recipe; dhansak is inspired by Persian and Indian cuisine. It is quite a medley, using meat, vegetables and lentils. I make different versions of this and sometimes include eggplant, squash, and various greens…really depends on what I have at home. A truly majestic dish that is luscious, rich and filling!
If I had to name my all-time favourite daal recipe, it would be Chicken Dhansak! The aroma that permeates through the house as this cooks is enticing. It is one of those dishes that goes equally well with roti, rice, quinoa, or salad – my favourite!
All three kids LOVE this it..minus the scary sound of the whistle on the pressure cooker, as the little one puts it ?
To those who believe that daal is ‘common’ and not worthy enough to be served to guests; I would humbly beg to differ. After trying this chicken dhansak, you too will want to add it to your repertoire. It will ROCK you!
- 1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces, skinned, and all visible fat removed
- 3 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tbsp paprika powder
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp + ½ tsp salt
- 4 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cup brown lentils
- 3 cups water
- ¼ cup water
- 1 onion, large
- ½ inch ginger, fresh
- 4 curry leaves
- 3 green chillies
- 1½ tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tsp garam masala
- ½ cup coriander, fresh, finely chopped
- Juice of ½ lemon
- In a bowl, add chicken, oil, curry powder, paprika, turmeric, salt and lemon juice and mix well
- Marinate the chicken overnight
- Soak the lentils for 15 mins and discard the water
- Transfer to pressure cooker, add the water and cook for 10 mins
- Drain the water from the lentils and set aside.
- In a wide based pan, add the chicken, ¼ cup water and cook over medium heat for 10 mins
- Stir in the onion, ginger, curry leaves, chilies, tomatoes and lemon juice and continue to cook for another 15 mins
- Add the lentils and cook for 5-10 mins to combine the flavors and cook through the chicken
- Sprinkle with garam masala, fresh ginger and coriander
- If using a slow cooker: fry the onions and spices in a separate pan and then add on top of the chicken and lentils in the slow cooker. Cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low until the chicken is cooked through.
A classic Parsi recipe savoured by Freddie Mercury; dhansak is inspired by Persian and Indian cuisine. A dish that will truly ROCK you! Luscious.Rich.Filling! Can be done in the slow or pressure cooker
So, kuch kuch hota hai? If you try this recipe, would love to hear from you! Leave a comment, rate it, or share a photo and hashtag with #desiliciousrd on Instagram and twitter! Can’t wait to see your photos.