Chicken Dhansak Curry


Don’t let the spices in this curry put you off, it’s much simpler than you think! The lentils are a great source of protein, and they provide a wonderful sauce when combined with the sweet and sour notes of the tamarind and jaggery! Garnish your curry with some coriander, a dollop of yogurt and serve with pillowy rice, you will not be disappointed!


300g chicken thigh fillets, cut into 2cm pieces

2 tsp ginger, finely minced

4 tsp garlic, finely minced

100g red lentils

600ml chicken stock

2 tbsp rapeseed oil

1 cinnamon stick

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground coriander

½ tsp fennel seeds

¼ tsp ground green cardamom

¼ tsp clove powder

½ tsp turmeric

¾ tsp chilli powder

1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp tamarind sauce

2 tbsp tomato puree

1 tbsp jaggery (or dark brown sugar)

2 tsp lemon juice

4 heaped tbsp fresh coriander, roughly chopped


Cooking Instructions

  1. Place the chicken in a bowl with the garlic and ginger, mix to coat it thoroughly and marinate in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.
  2. Rinse the lentils until the water runs clear. Drain the lentils and place in a saucepan with the chicken stock. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes until the lentils are soft and mushy and the liquid has reduced.
  3. Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the cinnamon stick sizzle for a few seconds and then add the chicken, followed by the ground cumin, coriander, fennel seeds, chilli powder, turmeric, dried fenugreek, clove, cardamom and salt and cook for 6-7 minutes on a low heat until the chicken is sealed with the spices and beginning to become tender.
  4. Now add the tamarind sauce, tomato puree, lentils with their cooking liquid and ½ of the fresh coriander. Stir the jaggery and lemon juice through.
  5. Cook for 10 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
  6. Taste and add more salt, jaggery or lemon juice if required.
  7. Sprinkle over the remaining fresh coriander and serve.

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