Monday, 9 May 2011



My husband loves dal with his chapattis. I think it is because they are rather less spicy than many other gravies and quite comforting. However, to me the downside of making dal was that I will have to make another sabji or side dish to get the quota of vegetables. After a long day of work, it could be quite difficult to make such varieties and it is even harder when I try to spend some time with my wee one as that is top priority as well. Compromising on quality of food is usually not an option I take and it is only when I am very unwell or have been out and it is already meal time or sometime just feel terribly low that I opt for less healthy options. Coming back to dal, I have often read about dhansak and even bought a pack of dhansak masala. You may have noticed that I had used this spice mix in a few dal recipes I posted recently. I also recently learned that ‘knol-khol’ that we used to get back home is turnip here and saw one lying in the reduced to clear section and picked it up. Although visually it does not resemble knoll-khol aka kohlrabi (I think), I believe it tastes like it. Anyway, to make a nutritious and wholesome dal dish, I made a vegetarian dhansak. Dhansak is a Parsi dish usually made with lentils, vegetables, spice mixes and mutton. The process of grinding the masala paste is not typical dhansak recipe I think but we liked it that way. At first my husband thought it looks sambar like so he may dislike it with chapatti but once he tasted it, he really liked it. Here is how I did it…
1 turnip, cubed and boiled/steamed
1 handful of sugarsnap boiled/steamed
1 carrot, sliced boiled/steamed
1 onion, chopped finely
2 tomatoes finely chopped
½ cup of mixed dal, pressure cooked (I used channa dal, toor dal and mung dal)
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon red chilly powder
1 1/2 teaspoon dhansak masala
Turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Cooking oil
For masala paste:
Handful of coriander leaves
1 inch piece ginger
3 green chillies
1 tomato

Heat some oil and add onions and cook until it softens

Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until it turns mushy

Grind all items listed for masala paste and add it to the onion tomato mixture. Cook until the raw smell goes and it all becomes thick

Add the cooked vegetables, dal and generous amount of water and mix

Add all spice powders and required salt, simmer for 15 minutes or so and keep adding water if needed

Serve hot with rotis/rice or any Indian bread


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  2. Dhansak looks super delicious and inviting..