Parsees love their Dhan Shak!

Their ultimate Sunday lunch! 
And a very satisfying comfort food.
Be sure to nap that noon!
Dhan- means rice- brown rice -see recipe in Rice- and Shak -means a delectable amalgamation of Indian dals -toor dal, masoor dal, moong dal plus some some nutrient infusing vegetables such as bringals (egg plants or aubergines) Methi spinach (fenugreek leaves-available fresh or frozen)
tomatoes, potatoes and pumpkin, together with ginger, garlic and an array of spices and herbs.

Dhan shak Dal is traditionally served with brown rice, Kachuber and Kavabs (Kebabs-meat balls)
Use lamb, goat or chicken-or make it plain vegetarian dhansak


2 cups Toor Dal (available in Indian groceries-looks like yellow split peas/beans)
1/2 cup masoor dal (red lentils)
A handful of mung (moong) dal (small yellow dal/lentil)
2 tsp turmeric powder
2 dsp chilly powder
1 tblsp jeera powder (cumin)
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp Parsi Sambhar (optional as available in spice shops in Mumbai)
1 tblsp Dhania (coriander) powder
1 cup diced pumpkin
1/2 cup chopped Fenugreek leaves
1 handful chopped of mint leaves.
6/7 curry leaves
2 spring onions-chopped
2 large red onions sliced finely (or brown)
2 tsp jeera seeds (cumin)
2 tsp ginger paste
2 tsp garlic paste
2 tsp red chilly paste
1 can diced tomato
2 large potatoes cut in large pieces
1 cup chopped egg plant
4 green chillies
3 tblsp oil to fry onions
1 tsp tamarind paste or 1 dsp balsamic or brown vinegar
2 tsp pepper powder
1 tsp sugar
1 bunch chopped coriander leaves


Wash all dals until water is clear and soak them overnight.
Next day wash the dals again and add fresh warm water.
Add 1 tsp turmeric, egg plant , pumpkin, chopped spring onions,
fenugreek leaves and mint leaves to the dals and cook till the dals
are soft and can be mashed.
If you have a cooker then use it as it will be cooked faster.
Strain dal through a colander mashing it.
Keep it aside.

Fry 2 large onions till they are brown and crispy.
Remove the onions and in the oil (add more oil if needed),
fry the cumin seeds till they pop,
add curry leaves and green chillies, half of the chopped coriander leaves
and cook for 1 minute.
Add the dry spice powers in this order: turmeric, chilly,
garam masala cumin and coriander (plus parsi sambar if available)
Add the red chilly paste.
Keep on stirring making sure the masala does not burn.
Add some hot water if it is too dry.
Add the diced tomatoes and let the mixture cook for 5 minutes
or so, till the tomatoes are mashed and cooked well and oil comes to the top
Put the fried onions back into the masala paste and stir.
Add the potatoes, lamb (or goat meat/chicken) and stir till the potatoes and meat are slightly browned.
Add a cup of hot water, the mashed dal mixture, salt to taste and let it come to a boil.
Lower the heat and cook till the meat/chicken is tender (this should take 45 minutes)
Add 1 tsp tamarind paste or 1 tsp balsamic or brown vinegar and a tsp of sugar
Add the remaining coriander leaves
Add 2 tsp pepper powder and taste the dal for salt. Add more green chillies if you need it more spicy.
Serve the dhan shak dal hot, as recommended above.

Tip: Once the meat/ chicken is cooked remove it and let the dal simmer on a low heat for another 1/2 an hour. Simmering the dal longer will improve the taste.

Ready made Dhan shak masala is available in indian groceries, if you see it then add just 1 dsp of it to the dry spices
You can make the dal a day before serving, as it tastes even better the next day!

Parsi Fried Brown Rice
Dhan shak Rice
(eaten with  Dhan Shak / Dhan sakh /Dhansak Dal. A hearty Sunday lunch in most Parsi homes served with Kachumber (see salads) and mince kababs (see mince recipes)


2 cups rice
2 chopped red or brown onions
2 tsp sugar
1 Bay leaf
4 cardamon pods
6 cloves
1 tsp jeera (cumin) seeds
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp Salt
1 cube of chicken stock (optional)
2 tblsp of ghee or vegetable oil


Wash the rice till water is clear. Soak the rice for about 20 /30 minutes.
In a big wide pan, add ghee or oil and fry the onions till golden brown.
Remove the onion with oil/ghee in a separate small dish and in the same pan add some sugar and caramelize it till it is brown
Add a cup of hot water and melt the sugar.Add the fried onions with the ghee/oil back in the pan.
To that, add the rice after draining the water.Stir for about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the spices and stir for a minute. Then add  about 3 and 1/2 cups of warm water, the chicken soup cube and  salt.

Once it comes to a boil, lower the temperature  and cook the rice for about 15 minutes or till cooked.

Allow the rice to rest for 15 minutes before serving
Garnish with crispy fried brown onions

Note: Sometimes I skip the sugar and add 1 dsp of soy sauce. This makes the rice brown too and adds another dimension to the taste

Kachuber or
Kachumber (Red Onion, tomato and cucumber salad)

This is a salad /relish which Parsi’s love. Accompanied with Dhan shak, Curry Rice or Masoor (lentils) it makes the perfect meal accessory


2 Medium red onions
1 medium tomato
1 small cucumber (about 4 /5 inches)
1 small green chilly
1 handful fresh mint leaves
1 handful fresh coriander leaves


1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp chilly powder (optional)
Juice of half lime or lemon
1 dsp Olive or vegetable oil

Chop all the vegetables and herbs very finely and add the dressing and serve immediately

Posted By Aban to My Food and Recipes

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