Dhansak Spice Blend
So What is Dhansak Masala?
Dhansak Masala is an Indian curry dish that is home to the Parsi Zoroastrian community. It combines both Gujarati and Persian cooking styles to create a curry packed with flavour. It is traditionally cooked with lamb, goat meat or mutton, with a mix of lentils and vegetables, however, with its introduction to western society, it is commonly cooked with chicken too. The dish is served with white rice and caramelised onions.
Combining vegetables and lentils with meat was a common technique used in Persian cooking to make the expensive meat go further. The recipe liberally uses many spices to create a sweet flavour and unlike other Indian curry’s the taste of the dhansak is subtle and aromatic, rather than strong and overpowering. The ingredients commonly used include Paprika, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, bay leaf, star anise, mustard seeds, poppy seeds, nutmeg, caraway, turmeric, fenugreek, mango powder, ginger, cumin, coriander, and garlic.
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Traditionally, dhansak is made on Sunday’s in Parsi homes. This is because of the long preparation time it takes to cook the lentils and vegetables into mush. This was required before the days of electricity and pressure cooking.
The meal is also steeped in sorrow and sadness with it being consumed on the fourth day of mourning, after the death of a loved one. No meat can be consumed for the first three days and the dhansak masala is used to break the abstinence. This is why the meal will never be consumed as part of a celebration such as a wedding or festival.
Dhansak masala truly is a glorious dish to cook and even better to taste. If this is your first Indian meal or you are not entirely confident you can buy a premade dhansak spice mix that has all the ingredients to get you started. Hassle-free cooking that tastes good.