Chicken dhansak bengali style is a different take on a Parsi classic. It's less work and just as tasty.
Keyword: chicken curry, dhansak, indian chicken curry
Author: romain | glebekitchen
1 1/2cups masoor dal- red split lentils
4 1/2 cupswater
The chicken dhansak
12 inchpiece of cinnamon bark- also known as cassia bark
1tspbrown mustard seeds
1tsppanch phoran- bengali whole spice mix
1-2tspkashmiri chili powder- depending how hot you like it
1 1/2tbspgarlic ginger paste- make your own following the link below. It's so much better than store bought.
2mediumtomatoesabout 12 oz, diced
2green finger hot chiliesseeded and diced. Or one jalapeño, seeded and diced.
8chicken thighsor 4 thighs and 4 drumsticks, skinless
1tspkosher saltto start - you will need more.
Prepare the lentils
Combine the lentils, water and turmeric in a pot large enough to hold the final curry. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are mushy. You want to bring them to a boil uncovered and then cover when you reduce to a simmer. I've had lentils boil over more times than I care to mention. Messy stuff.
Give them a stir every now and then while they cook. Sometimes they stick to the bottom a bit right when they get to the mush stage. Keep an eye on them. They will cook more with the chicken. Ultimately you want the lentils to fully disintegrate. A little thick at this stage is OK. The chicken will throw some liquid as it cooks.
Prepare the seasoning masala or tempering
Heat the oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add the cinnamon and cook until little bubbles form around it. This takes 20-30 seconds.
Now add the mustard seed, panch phoran and cumin seed. Cook until they start to sizzle. Again, this takes only a few seconds.
Reduce the heat to medium low and add the diced green chili. Cook for 30-45 seconds.
Stir in the garlic ginger paste and cook until it stops sputtering - around one minute. Now add the kashmiri chili powder and salt and cook for 20-30 seconds, stirring continuously.
Mix in the diced tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes. You want to get them to where they are just starting to lose their shape.
Add the tomato mixture to the lentils. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust salt. It's easier now than when the chicken is in your way.
Add the chicken to the lentil mixture. Cook until the chicken is cooked through. An instant read thermometer is good for this. You are going for about 170F in the middle of the thigh.
Let stand for about 5 minutes. Taste for salt. Serve with rice and/or Indian flatbread like naan or chapatis or best of all parathas. Mmm... parathas.
This recipe works with fresh tomatoes. If you use canned tomatoes think about adding a little bit of lemon or tamarind to the dish to brighten it.