This post has the Recipe for Vegetarian Dhansak – a veg version of the Parsi Dhansak
Dhansak is a delicious Parsi dish made using a mix of lentils and vegetables and the classic recipe is Mutton Dhansak. But because we vegetarians shouldn’t deprive ourselves from trying out this utterly superlative tasting dish, of course we need to have a vegetarian dhansak version too! Right?! While the meat loving Parsis will label ‘Vegetarian Dhansak’ an abomination, my meatless dhansak is a tasty dish, with the stamp of approval from my Parsi friends 🙂
Parsis are members of the Zoroastrian community that migrated from Persia to India over 1000 years ago to escape religious persecution. Most of them concentrated in the state of Gujarat, adapting the local language and culture as their own. Their cuisine is a unique blend of the vegetarian Gujarati food and the meaty cuisine of Persia.
My Parsi caterer friends, Kurush and Rhea Dalal highly recommend Mangal Dhansak Masala, so I usually order a batch of masalas from their website. Their chai masala is truly heady! They deliver all over India.
There are 3 parts to this recipe. Prepping and cooking the vegetables, cooking the lentils and preparing the curry paste. It is a little elaborate alright but the complex flavours of the dish are totally worth it.
I recommend trying this for your next dinner party, where you can wow your guests with this Parsi Vegetarian Main Course – Vegetable Dhansak, Brown Rice and Kachumber.
Veg Dhansak / Vegetarian Parsi Dhansak
- 1/3 cup Tur dal (dry split yellow lentils)
- 2/3 cup masoor dal (dry pink lentils)
- 400 grams pumpkin golden
- 1 small bunch Spring onion greens
- 2 cups Methi greens (fenugreek leaves)
- 2 Brinjal eggplant / small
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 - 2 tbsps Ghee
- 6 cloves Garlic
- 1.5 inchs Ginger root piece
- 2 Onions medium sized
- 4 tomatoes Ripe medium sized
- 1/2 cup Tomato puree
- 2 tbsps Masala Mangal Dhansak *
- 1.5 tsps Salt
- Water (as required in recipe below)
- Place the lentils in a bowl, wash thoroughly. Pressure cook with 3 cups water for 1 whistle and for 15 minutes on sim. Once cooker is cooled, open the lid, mash the lentils with a ladle and keep aside. (Watch how to cook lentils in a pressure cooker)
- While the lentils are cooking, peel, deseed and chop pumpkin into large chunks. Slice the stem end of the eggplant and chop into quarters. Slice the spring onions (only greens) into batons. Finely chop the fenugreek leaves. Place in a pressure cooker with 1 cup water, pinch of turmeric powder and salt and cook for 1 whistle and 5 minutes on sim.
- Peel and finely slice the onions. Chop the tomatoes roughly. Peel garlic cloves and crush to a coarse paste along with sliced ginger root and a pinch of salt.
- Heat the ghee in a deep, heavy bottomed pan. Add the freshly prepared ginger-garlic paste and sliced onions. Salute on medium flame until onions turn somewhat golden.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, 1/2 tsp salt and stir continuously on high flame, until the tomatoes turn into a pulp.
- Add the Dhansak masala powder (readymade or see substitute recipe at end of post), and stir well until it is incorporated into the onion-tomato base, for around 3-4 minutes.
- To this add the mashed lentils, coarsely mashed cooked vegetables, add up to 1/2 cup water and bring to a simmer. Dhansak has a thick consistency, so add water cautiously. Taste and add up to 1/2 tsp salt as required. Simmer for 4-5 minutes on a low flame.
- Traditionally, dhansak is served as a smooth puree, so once cooled you can blend this into a puree and reheat when ready to serve.
- Serve hot with Parsi Brown Rice or plain steamed rice and a kachumber (Parsi style onion-tomato-cucumber salad) on the side.
Mmmmhhh! Nandita, that looks so deliciously creamy and healthy. If I ever come to Bombay to visit you, please make this for me OK dearie?
Looks mouth watering. I am definitely going to try this. Have a pumpkin sitting in my refrigerator.
I like Dhansak, Nandita. Also because it is healthy. With various lentils and vegetables put together, it is nutrition and taste going hand in hand. 🙂
Hi Nandita,Dhansak looks yummy. Thanks for visiting my blog.
A new recipe to me. Will try next time i pick up pumpkin.Gonna try the potato chips today.
nandita, your dhansak is a must try …a combo of dhals is definitely my kind of a dish! btw, just saw your profile pic,you look beautiful.
Great, one more way to cook pumpkin! And one that looks absolutely delicious. This will be cooked tom for sure. I have that whole pumpking (I picked up on the way from the VOF trip!) sitting in the fridge. Perfect. Shall report back.
I have heard this name before but never tried it. Will try it soon. thanks.
Ooo thanks a lot dear ladies. I’m drowning under your kind words :)I can vouch for this wonderfully healthy yummy dish. If you ever make it for guests, make sure you have print outs of the recipe to make your life easier ;0
Meeta dear- you have my word, I shall make this for you ..Muah!
Looks sooo delicious I am going to move in with you, N!! Yo N’s husband! start looking for another pad Man!! :))))
This is so rich way beyond the regular pumkin sambar. With so many pumpkin dishes around I can sure store a big one now. Thnx for the yummy Dhansak….
hi nandita ,this is the first time i am seeing your blog – it is awesome…I live in canada and Mmmm..looking at all those pictures ,makes me miss home and family more than ever..Thank you for sharing your recipes.
The Dhansak sounds and also looks realy yummyyy….I so want to ruch to the grocery store and get a nice lil pumpkin to try it out 🙂 Lovely pics too…
Asha- your comment really cracked me up! Actually there are several ppl in waiting list before you- Hahaha ! Veggiedelight- I always feel that we veggies dont really miss out on much, all it requires is a little adaptation and we can convert any non veg recipe into veg-with a vengance! Non veggies there- no ill feelings please 🙂 After all, you too can make this into a meaty dish…Sandhya- a warm welcome to you on saffron trail…I’m sure you miss family, but you can always create a homey feeling wherever you are…Do you have a blog too? I don’t see a link here. Catch you soon!Priya- fortunately in India the vendor gives us as small or big a slice of pumpkin- I end up buying not more than 1/2 a kg. But with the cakes, muffins and other goodies, looks like I wont mind buying a whole pumpkin myself !
you mayn’t believe it, nandita, but i bought pumpkin yesterday after seeing your pix. i’m a regular visitor to your blog, will link soon. Thanks for noticing the doodle – that’s supposed to be a self-portrait 🙂
Your Dhansak looks reaaally yummy and very nutritious as well…. surely will try it soon and let you know how it came out.
SRA-thanks, I’m flattered girl! And do show your real pic someday so that I can tell you how good you are at doodling-hahahaDarshini- Will wait to hear from you!
Looks good Nadita! I’ve had vegetarian dhansak once before, but don’t recall it having any veggies. It pretty much tasted just like dal. Your version sounds yummm!cheers!
Hi Nandita -Pumpkin Dhansak looks delish – your recipe is in perfect time for all the bright orange pumpkins that will be greeting us in the supermarket, now I’ll have a recipe in mind for them !
Your recipe looks like a winner! Looks great!xxooPaz
Saffron- Most places make it with Meat or atleast chicken. The veggie version is reallyhealthy and wholesome! Thanks.Monisha- Yes dear, do let me know if you liked it.Paz- Thanks and hugs to you to :X
I tried this last night. Tasted fabulous ! Thanks so much for this recipe, N.
Hi nanditha,lovely colourful pics.. must try one . thanks for the recipe.
can’t wait to try this. one question though, how much water goes in with the dals & pumpkin in the pressure cooker? forgive me if this seems like a basic question, but i’m just starting to learn indian cooking … thanks to wonderful blogs like yours!
Krithika- That was fast- wonderful enthusiasm for good food dear girl! Prema- You welcome!Maltese- Well, it’s 1 cup of dal in all and around 2 cups of chopped pumpkin. After washing dals thoroughly, you may pressure cook them in 3 cups of water as the pumpkins will release their water content too. It also depends on the type of cooker you have. Please try cooking with 3, and feel free to add some more if you feel it will burn. Pressure cooking is mostly by trial, so you’ll definitely figure out. It’s nice to find people interested in Indian cooking. Makes blogging worthwhile 🙂
this looks soooo delicious! it just shows me what we missed out on when our indian cooking in london didn’t materialise – well, there’s always a next time, right?
Im still so sorry about that Johanna! But there’s always the internet, until we do meet up in real- I’ll be there soon- there’s still a lot to explore in London and around!
tried ur dhansak. was really great. it served as a wonderful accompaniment with chapathis too. thanks for the Recipe.
Hi Fiery…Im so happy you liked the dhansak and thanks a ton for that lovely feedback!
nandita, thanks for the guidance on the water (i think three cups was just about right) and for sharing this recipe. i tried it tonight and loved it! check it out on my blog: peanut butter etouffee.
Hi Nanditha,I tried ur parsi dhansak and it turned out great. I dont cook pumpkin at all and now this dish is going to be in my regular cooking.thanks for sharing a wonderful recipe..
Hey NanditaLove ur blog, You have wonderful notes for each and every dish. I have ur blog visited few times, finally I got time to leave comment:). This dish looks tempting and really healthy. BTW are you still accepting breakfast entry’s. If so please lemme know.
Hey – i just finished making and eating this – it was delicious!!! i absolutely love dhansak and this was easy to make too. i always thought it was tough! thank you! 🙂 If you dont mind, I’ve linked to this recipe in my blog http://www.arundathi-foodblog.blogspot.com
hi Nandita,I just made my dhansak masala and tried various recipes. Yours was super delish. I hope you dont mind I linked mine to yours :-)http://www.burntmouth.com/2007/09/dhansak-masala.html
Hi,Made ur pumpkin dansak today. Loved it. Had one full pumpkin to be used. Was searching for a pumpkin recipe and found in your blog. This yummy dish is going to be a regular in cooking. Thanks for the recipe
Made the dhansak yesterday, it was super delicious. I make the south indian kootu often and this dish surely is a great variation.Love your blog, I have tried quite many of the tambram recipes from here, liked all of them. Thank you so much.
hi nandita,i am a south indian married to a south indian raised in mumbai..i tried this recipe today,my hubby was in all praises for this recipe when he tasted it..it was really yummy and your blog is such a gift to me…cos it has both north and south indian recipes..thank you..i am glad i found your blog!Roopa
hi,first time on your blog and loved it. The Dhansak looks perfect and so does the colours on the plate. Lovely…Shobha
Nanditha,Thanks for this wonderful recipe. I made this dhal today and hubby dear loved it. The dhal came out exactly like the one in your picture. I wanted to send u a pic of my dal as a note of thanks.
Hi,Id love to try this recipe but I cant get fresh fenugreek leaves anywhere.Ive got dried fenugreek though.Can I use it as well? And how? thanks for your answer…
Hi,I made this today n it turned out super yummy…..even my neighbor was all praises for it.Next on list is pumpkin spiced coffee cake. Will let u know.Thank for posting such nice recipe.
Turned out yum…will be making it regularly. Tasted just like you get in the restaurant.
I have one question…when do you add the tomato purée?