Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Chicken & Spinach Dhansak

I wasn't going to blog this, as I broke the cardinal sin of curry making and rather than faff around toasting and grinding my whole spices, I USED CURRY POWDER. Yep, there it is. I supplemented it with other spices too, but being someone who previously turned their nose up at pre-mixed curry powders, I was staggered to find it was one of the most delicious curries I've made.

Dhansak has always been a takeaway favourite of mine, owing to the texture of the lentils as well as the sweet, sour and hot balance of flavours. I haven't really followed a recipe here but rather did it by intuition, so apologies to the authenticity police. Given it took a mere hour to make, this is a keeper. It was served with this onion and pomegranate salad (I jazzed it up by adding chilli and cucumber) and rice - excess pomegranate seeds went into the curry, which gave some nice tart bursts of flavour.

Chicken & Spinach Dhansak

Serves 4

250gr chicken thighs, skinned and boned
150gr dried red lentils
2 tbsp medium curry powder (I used Sainsburys)
1 heaped tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
3 cardamom pods
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chilli powder
2 large white onions
6 cloves of garlic
3" ginger
A bunch of spinach, or about 300gr frozen spinach
1 tin of tomatoes
3 tsp sugar
1 lime or 3 tsp tamarind puree
3 tbsp ghee

Dice the onion finely and mince the garlic and ginger. Fry slowly in the ghee until nice and browned. Add the lentils in with the spices, stir to cover and add about 200mls water. Bring to a simmer and simmer briskly for 10 minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes in. Simmer for another 10 mins, then add the chicken thighs in. Carry on simmering; the lentils should have broken down by now, making it nice and thick. Stir occasionally and add the salt. Add the sugar - it looks like a lot of it but the lime is quite strong so it should level it out nicely.

Meanwhile, if you're using fresh spinach wash and steam it, then blend it until smooth. If using frozen, cook briefly so it's defrosted but not overcooked. Drain well. Just before serving, mix the spinach in with the curry and squeeze the lime juice in. Cook for a further 2 minutes, then take off the heat.


Anonymous said...

This sounds lovely (and easy!), but the 200g lentils - dry weight? washed? soaked? pre-cooked? tinned? It would be good to know!

Lizzie said...

Whoops, sorry anon. Amended now.

Cooking Courses said...

This looks great, thanks for the recipe.

German said...

I love spinach, great recipe. Thanks!

Food Urchin said...

You've had the decorators in! Nice.

And lovely curry, I'm a sucka for a Dhansak too.

GastroStu said...

Looks delicious, thanks for sharing the recipe :)

DANLUMB said...

Hi Lizzie - its dan lumb here! - i produced a similar ace spinach classic - saag panner! - similarly used powders, worked brilliantly - I found if you cook the spinach down for ages, then mould it into a ball and push it with a masher you can get get pretty much all the water out of it. Then add coconut milk or cream , it sort of replaces the water and rehydrates the spinach into a really lovely creamy spinachy sauce. Have used this method to make nice side dish for steak and so on replacing curry powder with a pinch of fresh garlic and a bit of nutmeg - with cream or creme fraiche.

Ace stuff


cakeagainstcuts said...

This looks so delicious and I've been wondering what to do with the garam masala in my cupboard that I can't remember why I bought...

Dhansak's usually one of my favourites too so I reckon I'll come back to this.

Nice redesign, too.


Dan Toombs - The Curry Guy said...

Hi Lizzie

I am so happy to have found your blog. This recipe looks amazing. I too try to avoid curry powder but cheat from time to time.

I will be trying your recipe with a good quality curry powder a friend sent me. I think it will work well here.

Thank you very much for your post. Keep up the great work.