This recipe is for my favourite dhansak - I have modified this dish from my mother's recipe - makes a warming supper for 6.
2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 Medium Onions, chopped
1 tbsp Root Ginger, crushed
2 tbsp Garlic, crushed
1 Red Chili, chopped
1 tsp Red Chili Powder
1 tsp Ground Turmeric
1 tsp Ground Cumin
1 tsp Ground Coriander
1 tbsp Ground Garam Masala
1 x 400g Canned Chopped Tomatoes
75g Red Lentils
1 kg Boneless Leg of Lamb, cubed (or perhaps a non-meat substitute - be creative!)
Handful of Fresh Coriander Leaves, chopped
450g Whole Grain Rice
For the raita
250ml Natural Yoghurt
1/2 Cucumber, grated or finely chopped
Handful of Fresh Mint Leaves, chopped
For the Garam Masala (optional)
10 Green Cardomom Pods
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 tbsp Black Peppercorns
1 tbsp Cumin Seeds
1 tbsp Coriander Seeds
1 tsp Grated Nutmeg
Fry the onions in the olive oil on a medium heat until golden brown.
Add the ginger, garlic and chopped chilli, and fry for a maximum of 1-2 mins.
Add the chilli powder, ground turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground garam masala, and fry for 1 minute, watching carefully to make sure spices do not catch or burn (turn down heat if required).
Add the chopped tomatoes and cook on high heat for 10 minutes.
Add the lamb (or your preferred substitute) and cook for 20 minutes on medium heat.
Turn down the heat to a simmer, add the lentils, and cook for 45-60 minutes until the lamb is tender.
To serve, add the chopped coriander, and serve with wholegrain rice and the raita (mix together the natural yoghurt, grated half cucumber and the handful of fresh chopped mint leaves).
A note on Garam Masala...
A key to this dish (and any curry in fact), is to use freshly made Garam Masala. I always make my own, and if stored in an airtight container, it can be kept for up to a month. If you have the time, it's well worth the effort!
Dry roast all the ingredients (except nutmeg) on a gentle heat until the aroma of the spices is released (watch carefully, as the spices will easily burn which will give a bitter taste!).
Allow to cool completely, then grind to a powder - I use an old electric coffee grinder for this specifically, as the aroma of the spices tends to remain in the grinder.