An amateur cook and BawiBride’s recipe of the classic Dhansak
When the BawiBride first suggested that we try one of the many wonderful recipes from her blog to accompany her interview, I laughed the thought away. Let’s just say that when it comes to cooking I am more Dal Roti than Coq Au Vin.
But a part of me- probably the same part that spends way too much time on Pinterest- couldn’t wait to finally taste one of those scrumptious looking delicacies. I considered taking a short cut and choosing one of the easier recipes from the Salads and Side dishes archives, but I kept going back to the flavour of dhansak I remembered from my school friend’s lunch box. I can’t better the flavours that fourteen year old Gauri fell in love with, but here are the 8 steps I took to replicate BawiBride’s delicious 8 Step Dhansak
Step 1: Marinade the chicken and soak the dal a little after breakfast so that there is enough time before dinner preps start. (Side note: I love the way dals and beans look when plumped with water)
Step 2: Realize that 5-6 hours is a really loooong time .
Step 3: Chop the veggies, stench the bleeding and continue. I didn’t have pumpkin in the refrigerator and wasn’t sure I’d get around to using the rest of it after using a tiny piece for the dhansak, so substituted it with a small sweet potato.
Step 4: Our local grocer unfortunately doesn’t keep Dhansak Masala, but there’s a pretty handy recipe available which is quite easy to make. And roasting spices makes the entire house smell good.
Step 5: This happens. I smell like the Spice Souk now
Step 6: The chicken is simmering in a pot on one stove, and the curry on the other. This is the moment I realise that perhaps I should have halved the quantities. It is beginning to look like a lot of dhansak.
Step 7: BawiBride recommends a 20 minute steaming time for the chicken, but perhaps the leg pieces I used were too plump (those were baseball-player-level steroids that my Chicken took), so it takes me much longer to be satisfied that the chicken is cooked through completely.
Step 8: Once the chicken and the dal are done simmering together, I serve with plain rice, and a Punjabi style cucumber kachumbar salad. (Also, if taking Food Pics was a required skill in The Hunger Games, I wouldn’t last for 5 minutes)
I am not sure how ‘authentic’ it tastes, but the final result is quite delicious. I can’t help feeling that the veggie curry is fairly similar to Sambhar in taste (which is a good thing in my books), and am almost surprised by how well it goes with chicken pieces. Next time though, I will try it with mutton instead.
And buy pre-packaged dhansak masala.
And cut the quantities by half.
AND get someone else to take the photographs!
As for the leftovers?
@MBRB3 it is rumored that Dhansak tastes best 2 days after it’s cooked also freezes really well – just cool it and store for next Sunday!
— The Bawi Bride (@BawiBride) May 7, 2014
I don’t think I will wait till next Sunday though. Can’t wait to scoop up the remaining curry with a warm naan for dinner tomorrow!
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