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The MBRB Test Kitchen: Making Dhansak With The BawiBride

Ahh well, at least it tastes good!

An amateur cook and BawiBride’s recipe of the classic Dhansak

MBRB Test Kitchen

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)

Soaked Dal

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.

Dhansak Masala

Step 5: This happens. I smell like the Spice Souk now

Kitchen Disaster

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?

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!


My Big Red Bag brings original content inspired by life’s joys and passions. Check out other articles from our Food issue, and stay tuned to our latest content by following us on Twitter and FB. See you on the other side!

Photo Credit: Anton Novoselov via Compfight cc

2 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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