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Veg Dhansak / Vegetarian Parsi Dhansak

Dhansak is a delicious Parsi dish made using a mix of lentils (dhan) and vegetables (sakh). My vegetarian version comes with the stamp of approval from my Parsi friends :) You must try this!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6 serving


  • 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.


This recipe makes enough dhansak to serve 6 people. Even if you are just 2 at home, it is worth making and saving half of it for later. It tastes better after the flavours have sunk in for a day or so. It will keep for 2-3 days in the refrigerator, in an airtight container.
*In case you cannot find a ready Dhansak Masala, dry roast the following and grind to a fine powder and use this spice powder instead: 6-7 Red chillies, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tbsp coriander seeds, 2 pieces of 1" cinnamon sticks, 2 green cardamoms, 6 pepper corns
You can easily make this a vegan dhansak by replacing the ghee with any vegetable oil.
I do hope you will give it a try. The flavour of this lentil dish is like no other and I promise you'll totally fall in love with this.
Kachumber - An Indian salsa from Parsi cuisine

Check out a simpler version of a Parsi Dal: Rhea's Parsi Masala Dal, and this one uses Mangal Dhansak Masala as well.
Rhea's Parsi Masala Dal