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Lamb dhansak

A hot, sweet dish with lentils.

Dhansaks are probably the most satisfying of curries. Nice and hot with a fruity sweetness absorbed by the lentils. My ‘secret’ ingredient in this recipe is probably a surprise, but its origins are from colonial India.

Grind the whole spices and chilli together. Thoroughly coat the meat with the spices and leave to marinade for at least a couple of hours (preferably overnight in the fridge). Heat half the ghee in a large saucepan and add the ground spice and lentils. Fry for 2 minutes.

Add the brown stuff & water and season with salt. Bring to the boil, cover and gently simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil or ghee in a large pan – it must be very hot. Add your lamb in batches (it will spit everywhere so take care) and turn in the fat to brown it. Remove from the heat once the lamb is well browned.

When the lentils are ready (they should be quite soft) add the meat, HP sauce, chutney and sugar. Cover and simmer for a further 30 minutes. Add a little more water to loosen as required. Mix in the garam masala, and remove from the heat. Just before serving, stir in the chopped fresh coriander.



Serves 4
1 lb (500 g) lamb, diced
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
4 cardomom pods
2 inch (5 cm) cinnamon stick
½ tbsp black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
½ tsp black mustard seeds
1 dried habanero chilli
3 oz (75 g) green lentils
3 oz (75 g) red lentils
1 tsp turmeric
¼ tsp ground fenugreek
1 tbsp HP sauce
1 tbsp Geeta’s pineapple chutney
½ tbsp brown sugar
1 pint (550 ml) brown stuff
1 pint (550 ml) water
2 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped
2 tsp garam masala
2 tbsp ghee, for frying

Cook’s Notes

HP sauce is the ‘secret’ ingredient, adding a tangy depth with its combination of spices, vinegar and molasses. HP Sauce web site.

Instead of the habanero, use 5 red birds-eye chillies including seeds.

Instead of pineapple chutney, use any sweet chutney such as mango or apricot.

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