Dhanshak

I am blogging after a big long gap. All this while however, I was not away from food. I cooked many new dishes and also cooked the same ones many times over. I was plain lazy, sometimes busy and most of the times too hungry to click pictures and upload on the web.

I must have cooked Dhanshak at least 5-6 times in the last few months and I still don’t have a single picture of the final dish. With the realisation that taste is all that matters, I am going to share the recipe with the work in progress pictures I have.

‘Dhan’ means grains and ‘Shak’ means vegetables. Dhanshak is a pure non-vegetarian, Parsi dish cooked with Lamb, lentils and vegetable. Ironically, I tasted it the first time in a Gujrati household as a pure vegetarian food (i.e. without the lamb).

 

There are 3 preparatory parts to the recipe;

1)      Marinate the meat (lamb / chicken).

2)      Cook lentils and vegetables together  in a pressure cooker

3)      Prepare the spice paste

 

Washed lentils

Washed lentils

 

Ingredients;

A.  Marinate;

½ Kg of Lamb / Mutton / Chicken – with bones

½ tsp Turmeric powder

1 tsp alt

 

B.  The lentil and vegetable mixture;

1)      Lentils

½ cup Tovar dal (Split red gram)

1 tbsp of whole Green Moong dal (green gram)

1 tbsp Urad dal (white lentil / Black gram skinned and split)

1 tbsp Whole Masoor dal (Brown Lentil)

 

2) Vegetables

1 medium Potato

1 medium Tomato

3/4th cup of Methi leaves (Fenugreek)

4 sticks of Spring onions

½ cup of Dudhi / Lauki (Bottle Gourd)

 

Lentils and the veggies

Lentils and the veggies

 

 C.  The Spice paste;

2 medium size Green chillies (not too dark in colour)

1 ½ tsp Ginger Garlic paste (blend together ginger and garlic in equal portions)

4 cloves

1 tsp of Pepper corns

1 tbsp Coriander seeds

½ cup of Fresh Coriander with the stock

 

The spice paste

The spice paste

 

D. Tampering and Miscellaneous;

1 sliced Onion

Juice of a Lemon

1 tsp Cumin seeds)

¼ tsp Cinnamon powder

½ tsp Cardamom powder

4 tbsp of Ghee / Clarified butter

 

Procedure;

  1. Wash chicken / lamb clean. Apply turmeric and salt and let it marinate for about 30 mins.
  2. In a bowl, wash all the lentils together- B 1).
  3. Peel potato and pumpkin. Wash and roughly chop all vegetables – tomato, potato, pumpkin and spring onions.
  4. In a large tin, add washed lentils (2), chopped vegetables (3) and methi leaves. Add 2 glasses of water and let it pressure cook for about 15-20 minutes. Lentils take longer than vegetables to cook. Make sure that the lentils are fully cooked.
  5. Once the mixture cools, grind to a fine paste.
  6. While the mixture cools, prepare spice paste by grinding all the ingredients (C) together in a blender.
  7. In a separate bowl, heat ghee, add cumin seeds. Let it crackle. Add sliced onions and cook till limp. Add cinnamon, cardamom powder.
  8. Add spice paste and meat and let it cook with the lid on till meat is nearly done. (You can add a little water – half a cup or so to help the meat cook)
  9. Once meat is nearly cooked, add lentil and vegetable paste to it. Mix well.
  10. Add salt to taste and some water if the mix is too dense. Cover and simmer for 5 mins.
  11. Top it with a dollop of ghee while serving.

 

While Dhankshak tastes the best with Lamb/chicken, you can try it without meat. Reduce the quantity of spice paste to half. Serve with steamed brown rice or lachha paratha. Makes it a perfect Sunday lunch.

You can also enjoy it as a stew in winters. Reduce the spice paste to 1/6th of the quantity and make the dish more watery. Serve with Brune.

 

 

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Go green with sweets | Doodhi Halwa

 

 

India’s love for sweets is not unknown. There is a sweet for every time of the day, every mood and every occasion. Even if you are the odd one like me who doesn’t have a weakness for sweets, you can’t escape from it for long.

The recipe I am going to share today is an Indian dessert made from a vegetable ‘Lauki’ / ‘Doodhi’ (Bottle gourd).

I know several methods of cooking Doodhi the savoury way. But I haven’t come cross anything except ‘Doodhi-halwa’ for Doodhi in its sweet avatar.

I am not sure what ‘Halwa’ means, but there are many variants of Halwa – Gajar (Carrot) Halwa, Suji (semolina) Halwa, Moong daal halwa, Aate ka (wheat flour) halwa and Badam (almond) halwa. They are all made more or less the same way.

 

Note down the recipe

Ingredients;

350 grams grated Doodhi (bottle gourd)

350 ml Milk

200 grams of Sugar

½ tsp of Elaichi Powder (Cardamom)

A few blanched Pistachios

2 tbsp of Ghee (purified butter)

2 drops of green food colour (optional)

 Preparations before you start

  1. Soak pistachio in a cup full of luke warm water for 30 minutes. Peel and cut into fine pieces.
  2. Wash Doodhi and peel the skin off with a peeler. Then grate.

Procedure

  1. Heat ghee in a think bottomed vessel on a low flame. Careful not to burn the ghee.
  2. Add grated Doodhi to ghee and sauté it for 5 minutes.
  3. Add milk and stir. Keep stirring till the water content in the milk evaporates. This should take around 15 minutes. You can keep switching between low and medium flame as needed.
  4. Add 150 grams of sugar to begin with. Taste and add remaining 50 grams if you want it sweeter.
  5. Sugar will make the mixture a bit thin as sugar will release water.
  6. Mix till the water dries completely.
  7. Add 2 drops of green food colour. This is an optional step. Doodhi after cooking turns to a shade of pale green-brown. Food colour will add visual appeal if you are cooking for an occasion.
  8. Add Elaichi powder.
  9. Once water dries completely, the mixture will become shiny and will come off the vessel smoothly. Switch off the burner and let the halwa cool.
  10. Mix pistachios.

Serve hot or cold.

You can replicate this recipe for Gajar halwa simply by replacing doodhi with Gajar and don’t forget to replace the green color!

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