Lamb Dhansak

This is a one-pot dish that just needs rice and a relish to accompany it. You could also make it with chicken instead of lamb. This recipe will need to be started the day before.


  • 1 lb 2 oz/500 g stewing lamb or mutton, cut into cubes
  • 1 lb 2 oz/500 g yellow lentils
  • generous ½ cup red lentils
  • cup mung beans, soaked overnight
  • oil or ghee, for frying
  • 2 red onions, peeled and finely sliced
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 eggplant, peeled and diced
  • 9 oz/250 g pumpkin, peeled and diced
  • salt
  • 1 lb 2 oz/500 g fresh spinach leaves, well washed and drained

For the masala (curry paste)

  • 6-8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 inch/5 cm piece of fresh gingerroot, peeled and chopped
  • 6-8 dried red chiles
  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds


Rinse and drain the lentils and mung beans. Grind all the masala ingredients with a little water to make a smooth paste.

Heat the oil and cook the onions until golden brown, then stir in the masala paste, turmeric, coriander, and cumin and stir-fry gently for about 5 minutes.

Stir in the lamb and cook gently over low heat until the meat is coated with the masala paste and any liquid from the meat has been absorbed. The dish should be quite dry.

Add the lentils, peas, eggplant, and pumpkin and stir in a little water to form a gravy. Season with salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently, covered, for about 30 minutes, or until the meat is cooked.

Remove the meat from the pan and put to one side. Purée the lentils, vegetables and gravy in a food processor and return the meat to this mixture.

Quickly stir-fry the spinach in hot oil, then add to the lamb mixture and serve.