Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Parsi Dhanshak

Blogging Marathon #68 Week 3 Day 3
Theme: Entree
Dish: Parsi Dhanshak

Parsi cuisine is one of the most flavorful cuisines in the world. The masalas are bold, the flavors strong and the balance between ingredients is awesome. Though Parsi cuisine is predominantly non vegetarian and they love to add meat in all their dishes, some variations will yield perfect vegetarian dishes that are really flavorful. The recipes in the cuisine that are popular are Sali Boti, Berry Pulao, Sali par Eddu, Chicken Farcha, Patra ni Machhi and Irani Chai.  

From all the vegetarian dishes I have had, Dhanshak is my favorite. And from all the Dhanshak I have ever had, I love the one that my mother in law makes. She is an absolute expert in Dhanshak. She has a cookery file that has the handwritten recipe of Dhanshak among many others. She refers to that recipe each time she makes it and the result is finger licking good! 

Based on the taste and flavor that dish has, I have started making it at home. Now we can relish the taste all year long, instead of waiting to go to India and asking her to make it. Of course we all know that in spite of the same ingredients and proportions, each cook will make the dish slightly different from another. The same happens with Dhanshak. I make it but I add my touch to it and it is slightly different from the taste when she makes it. However, we enjoy this version too and make it enough for two meals, at least! 

Dhanshak is a really easy dish to make. While the traditional recipe would have specific combinations of vegetables and pulses, I use the opportunity to clean out my refrigerator! If I have half a potato, it goes in too. If I have a few carrots or cilantro, I add those as well. Once the masala with all the spices come in, you cannot really taste any vegetable individually. The pulses used can be changed based on which ones you have and enjoy. I made a masala from scratch and that is what adds all the life into the dhanshak. There are ready made masalas that can be used too. Also, the addition of sauteed onions is optional, but it adds a crunch to the curry and tastes really nice. We generally enjoy it with Parsi style Basmati rice or toasted bread. It tastes delicious with plain white rice or parathas as well. 


Tuvar Dal 1/4 cup
Moong Dal 1/4 cup
Masoor Dal 1/4 cup
Pumpkin 1/2 cup, peeled and diced
Eggplants 1/2 cup, diced
Bottle Gourd 1/2 cup, peeled and diced
Onion 1/2 cup, diced
Spinach a handful
Fenugreek Leaves a handful
Tomato 1/4 cup
Ghee 2 tbsp
Salt 2 tsp

For the Masala
Ginger 1 inch piece
Garlic 3-4 pods
Dried Red Chillies 4-5
Cinnamon 4-5 barks
Cloves 4-5
Coriander Seeds 1 tsp
Green Chilli 1-2
Cumin seeds 1/2 tsp

To season 
Onion 1 medium
Ghee 1 tsp


To make the masala

Grind all the ingredients under ingredients for masala to a fine powder. Set aside.

To make the Dhanshak

In a pressure cooker add all the vegetables mentioned above. Also wash and add tuvar dal, masoor dal and moong dal. Add a tsp of salt and pressure cook with a cup of water till soft. It should take about 4-5 whistles or 8-10 minutes. 

Once the pressure in the cooker settles, open and mashe completely with a potato masher. Sieve the mixture into a pan to get a smooth paste. Add some water if needed. In a small pan add ghee and heat it. Once hot, add the ground masala and saute for a few minutes till fragrant. Transfer the mixture into the strained dhanshak. Add remaining salt and mix well. Place the pan on the gas and cook covered on medium flame. The longer the dhanshak cooks, the better the flavors. 

I let the mixture simmer for 40-45 minutes. Keep stirring in intervals to ensure it does not stick to the base. Once it has simmered and thickened, taste and adjust salt if required. In a small pan add the ghee and saute diced onions. Once the onions are translucent add them to the dhanshak. Mix well and serve warm with Parsi Brown Rice, Kachumbar and diced onions. The dhanshak tastes really good with bread slices roasted in ghee. 


  1. That is a really creamy dhanshak. Though I have heard the name, I didn't even know how it looks like. Your version of dhanshak looks so inviting..

  2. I tried Dhanshak long back, now you are tempting to make some soon, delicious dish.

  3. Non veg dhansak has been on my to try list for some time and never got to do it. After reading your post, I am inspired to make it soon. Veg version looks amazing !!

  4. That is one spicy and creamy dhanshak.

  5. Amazing looking dhanshak. These heirloom recipes are the best!!

  6. never tried parsi cuisine.. this is great. looking forward to your other recipes... bookmarking this.

  7. My friend R makes this really well but m yet to try making this at home ! Will give a shot at this recipe !

  8. It has been a while since I had this dish and I am gettig back the flavors reading the recipe. very well made and presented.

  9. Dhansak looks creamy and delicious,never knew vegetarian version of dhansak can be made..

  10. Dhansak looks lovely. I have not tasted this yet, but have heard a lot about it.

  11. I don't know if my earlier comment went through.I always thought that Dhansak was non vegetarian.

  12. Nice to read about your MIL's collections, those are such treasures right..very nicely done Dhanskak...I remember making a parsi meal that included all these..very nice one..

  13. I always wanted to make dhansak and now got a nice recipe.Thanks for sharing.

  14. This is one very spicy and flavorful Parsi dish. Looks so creamy & delicious.

  15. That looks nice and creamy, i remember making it as part of our regular BM themes,long before!