British Indian restaurant (BIR) style Chicken Dhansak can be made in minutes
Over the past few years, I have been shown so many nice chicken dhansak recipes by top curry house chefs all around the UK. This recipe is about as authentic as they get.
As with all of my British Indian restaurant (BIR) curries, it is a good idea to make the base curry sauce ahead of time. You may also want to pre-cook your chicken. These are both time saving methods used in curry houses and also add a lot to the flavour of the end dish.
Both the curry sauce and the chicken keep well in the fridge for a few days and also freeze well.
Many curry house chicken dhansak curries have pineapple in them. My daughter loves this but I’m not that keen. I’ll let you decide whether you include the fruit or not.
I’ve written a large and small version of my curry sauce recipe which will need to me made before cooking this recipe. The large version is made just like they do in the best curry houses. Make a large batch for best results. It keeps in the fridge for three days and freezes well. The small batch version works well too though it’s not as authentic.
I pre-cook chicken in two ways. Most Indian restaurants use this method to prepare their chicken for this curry. In this recipe, the chicken pieces are slow cooked in a spiced broth. You could add a couple of tablespoons of the cooking juices to your curry for extra flavour.
You could also add tandoori style chicken tikka to this recipe if you’d like to create tandoori Chicken Dhansak.
- 4 chicken breasts pre-cooked as above
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- 2 tablespoons garlic and ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon good quality curry powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin powder
- 1 tablespoon chilli powder (more or less to taste)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 250ml (1 cup) red split lentils (rinsed and cook until soft - about 30 minutes)
- 750ml (3 cups) base curry sauce - See links to my recipes above.
- 3 tablespoons fresh chopped coriander
- salt and pepper
- 100ml pineapple juice (optional)
- 3 pineapple rings - cut into pieces (optional)
- Heat the ghee/oil over medium heat.
- Throw in the ginger and garlic pastes along with the turmeric and let sizzle for about 30 seconds. The turmeric will become darker as you do this.
- Now add the cumin, curry powder, chilli powder and tomato paste.
- Stir to combine before adding the base curry sauce, cooked lentils and chicken pieces and heat through.
- Stir in the pineapple juice and/or pineapple pieces if using.
- Test for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Sprinkle with the chopped coriander and serve immediately.