Lamb Dhansak

Dhansak is a popular Indian curry made with meat and flavoured with ginger and spices. It is sweet and mild making it suitable for even the most sensetive palates. Pippa Mattei uses lamb for this delicious curry. 

Serves 6


  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1kg diced lamb – (shoulder, or leg, or a mixture)
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 25g fresh ginger, peeled (with a teaspoon), left whole
  • 4 cloves garlic, also peeled and left whole
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 10 green cardamom pods, or 1.5 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1.5 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1.5 tbsp ground coriander
  • ½ tbsp ground turmeric
  • 400g tinned, chopped tomatoes (1 tin)
  • 200ml beef stock
  • 75g dried red lentils
  • 3 tbsp clear honey
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven 150°C.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan. 
  3. Add half the lamb and fry until browned. 
  4. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside, then brown the other half of the lamb and set aside.
  5. Add the remaining oil to a casserole pot, add the onions and fry for 4-5 mins until beginning to soften. Meanwhile, place the ginger, garlic and chilli into a small food processor and whizz until finely chopped.
  6. Bash the cardamom pods with the end of a rolling pin to split the husks, then remove the seeds and grind them to a fine powder in a pestle and mortar (or use 1 ½ ground cardamom) if you don’t have a pestle and mortar). 
  7. Add to the pan along with the remaining spices and the garlic and ginger mixture.
  8. Add the remaining ingredients to the pot and add the lamb. Bring to the boil, then cover and place in the oven to simmer for 1-2 hours till tender. Check the seasoning and serve. 
  9. Serve with pilaf rice, cucmber raita and fresh tomato salsa.

This recipe first appeared on Gourmet Today, March, 2016.

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