Restorative and Comforting Chicken Dhansak

It’s National Curry Week this week so an opportune moment to share this really straightforward curry recipe.


It’s always curry week in our house. Chicken dhansak is one of my thrifty and easy favourites. It’s an original one pot dish, lentils are so filling, both them and chicken thighs are cheap to buy.

Curry From Scratch Myths Dispelled

A lot of the time when I say I cook curries from scratch people pull a face and head back to the curry paste jars. There is a theory that cooking curries from the beginning is laborious, complicated and time consuming. That you need an international spice cupboard. You really don’t. And remember that you only use a tiny bit of a spice jar in each dish so once you have bought it it’s there for the next one and so you build up a little collection.

And it doesn’t have to be time consuming, this dhansak proves the point. I might throw it together in the morning so it is ready to heat up late in the evening after I have finished all my taxiing the kids duties, just as much as I have assembled it in the deaths of despair full of cold and desperate to crawl to the sofa to become at one with a blanket.

All supermarkets, even the discount ones, seem to stock everything you might need so ingredients just aren’t hard to get.

So give this a go for curry week, quick, easy and amazing to eat on a winters night, fab for Friday!





100g red lentils
500 ml chicken or vegetable stock using 2 stock cubes
Splash of oil
1tsp cumin seeds
2 curry leaves
1 onion chopped
Thumb size piece of ginger
Green chilli finely chopped
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp coriander seeds gently pummelled in a pestle and mortar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Chilli powder
1 400g can of chopped tomatoes
Pack of skinless and boneless chicken thighs (about 500g)  chopped into 3 or 4 chunks each
1tsp Garamond masala


1. Tip the lentils into a saucepan with the stock and simmer for 15 minutes.

2. While the lentils are gently simmering heat some oil in a heavy pan and fry the cumin seeds and curry leaves till you can smell the spices aroma. Then add in the onion and Chilli.

3. Grate your ginger over the top of this and stir together over a medium heat. If you sense they might stick add a splash of water.

4. Add the cumin, coriander, salt and the Chilli powder. Stir until onione are just softened and translucent.

5. Add in your chicken and stir through for a minute till the outside of the chicken is coloured then add the tomatoes. Cover with a lid and cook for 20 minutes on a low heat.


6. Pour in the lentils and stock along with the garam masala and cook for 15-20 more minutes in a low heat.

7. Check the chicken is cooked through and serve with easy flat breads.



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