Chicken Dhansak A La MrTea

This is about the simplest recipe for dhansak I could derive from the recipes I studied. The amount of lentils to chicken can be adjusted according to personal taste. You might also want to try using appropriately sized pieces of chicken tikka instead of the simply browned chicken used here.
  • 4 chicken breasts, diced
  • oil or ghee
  • 4-6 oz (115-160g) red split lentils
  • water
  • 3 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 inch piece root ginger, peeled and very finely chopped
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 green chillies, chopped into thin rings or half-rings
  • 1 tsp each ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
Cook the lentils as suggested on the packet (probably cover with cold water, bring to the boil, skim off the scum, then simmer until tender) and set to one side.
In a large pan, heat the oil or ghee. Brown or just seal the chicken pieces and remove from the pan. If doing chicken tikka dhansak, this stage should be skipped.
Fry the onions until they start to brown, then add the chillies, cardamom pods, bay leaves and cloves, and cook until the chillies are soft. Add the garlic and ginger, cook for 30 seconds. Add the remaining spices, tomato puree, and a little water to make a paste. Cook the paste briefly, then add the chicken or chicken tikka, and the lentils along with any water still in the lentil pan. Add a little if the lentils are dry. Cook until the lentils break down and you have a thick sauce. Add the fresh coriander leaves about 5 minutes before serving.