Chicken Dhansak

  • Prep Time

    20 mins

  • Cooking Time

    45 mins

  • Serving


  • Non Veg
  • Chicken
  • South Asian
  • Main course

A popular South Asian dish, inspired by Persian and Indian cuisine. A classic assortment of chicken, veggies and lentils forms a nutritious, filling and delectable meal, all by itself! Typically served with Laila Brown rice and kachumbar salad.This high-protein dhansak curry might involve elaborate preparation but the labour is worth it in the end! You may choose to prepare a large batch for the entire week and can replace chicken with meat, tofu, etc.


To Make the Saffron Rice:

  1. Rinse the rice well, drain.
  2. Boil water in a pan, add the soaked rice and cook for 20 minutes.
  3. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Add the saffron.
  4. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until stock is absorbed and rice is tender.
  5. Fluff with a fork and serve.
  6. To Make the Chicken Dhansak:

  7. Mash the ginger and garlic together into a pulp.
  8. In a grinder, mix together the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, cardamoms, cinnamon stick, dried chillies, peppercorns, bay leaves, fenugreek seeds, and the mustard seeds. Add in 6 tbsp water to make a smooth paste. Blend in garlic and ginger pulp, mix well and add to the chicken making sure it is well coated.
  9. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large pan and sauté the chicken for about 10 minutes.
  10. Add ½ litre of water and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and keep aside.
  11. In a separate bowl, combine Laila Yellow Split Peas and Laila Red Split Lentils together and wash them until the water runs clear. Drain.
  12. Heat 3 tbsp of oil in another pan and fry the onions until they begin to turn golden.
  13. Add the turmeric and garam masala, cook for 1 minute then add the lentils and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes.
  14. Add water and salt and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and cook for 30 minutes.
  15. Mash the lentilsto make a smooth mixture and add this to the Chicken pan.
  16. Bring it to the boil, reduce the heat and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  17. In a separate bowl, dissolve the tamarind in a little hot water and add it to this pan. Cook for 3 minutes.
  18. Garnish with coriander and serve piping hot with saffron rice.


For the Rice:

    • 1 cup Laila Basmati Rice
    • 2 cups chicken stock
    • 1 tbsp butter (optional)
    • 1 tbsp dried onion flakes
    • ½ tsp salt
    • 1 pinch saffron (crumbled)

For the Dhansak:

  • 450g boneless chicken thighs (chunks)
  • 85g Laila Yellow Split Peas
  • 85g Laila Red Split Lentils (rinsed in cold water)
  • 600ml chicken stock
  • 230g chopped tomatoes
  • 1 onion (finely sliced)
  • 6 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 4 green cardamoms
  • 2-inch cinnamon sticks (pcs)
  • 6 dried chillies
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • Coriander leaves (chopped)