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melons

Ranjits Chicken Dhansak recipe

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C+P'd from VD PM's for posterity, just incase it all goes tits up over there

Part 1:

I normally cook this by eye, I've tried to put what I think are the right quantities - you should get a decent dansak first try and you can tune the ingredients after that to taste. Let me know how you get on.

Cheers, Ranjit

• 2 oz split red lentils, picked over for little stones and washed in a sieve
• Large knob of butter, bit of oil
• 2 chicken breasts, skinned and cut into bite sized cubes
• 4 cloves of garlic, skinned and chopped
• 4 cloves
• 1 tin of chopped tomato’s (or passata)
• the seeds of 2 whole green cardamom pods - just cut the pods open with a knife and take out the seeds
• for a hot curry 4-8 whole small dried chillies (Bird's Eye or Thai Hots) or the equivalent in chopped green chilli (don’t de seed) – use more or less depending how hot you want it.
• half teaspoon ground cumin
• one teaspoon turmeric
• half teaspoon ground coriander
• one teaspoon of garam masala
• half teaspoon hot chilli powder
• 1 teaspoon paprika

Method
1. Put the lentils into a pan with about a pint of cold water, bring to the boil and boil vigorously for 10 minutes. During this time skim off any scum that comes to the top. Then reduce the heat and cook with the water bubbling for a further 20 minutes. There should still be a little water left at the end so add a little more boiling water if the pan runs dry. Cover and set aside.
2. Grind the cloves and cardamom seeds as finely as you can in a pestle and mortar.
3. Heat the oil in a large heavy frying pan then fry the chicken pieces over moderate heat until they are sealed and have turned white. Remove them from the pan and set aside.
4. Heat the butter in a heavy pan over a moderate heat.
5. Add the onions and fry until translucent. Add the garlic and chillis, stir in.
6. Continue cooking the onions for another 5 minutes until the onions are golden and then add the ginger. Turn the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes making sure the ginger does not stick.
7. Add the ground cloves, cardamom seeds, turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, chilli powder, paprika and garam masala. Stir in so the spices coat everything.
8. Keep stirring to make sure the mixture does not stick and the spices do not burn until the spices are well mixed in and warm (couple of minutes).
9. Add 1 tin of chopped toms; stir them into the mixture so every thing is well mixed.
10. Leave this cooking on a low heat for about 15/20 mins until it has reduced. At this point I normally put this in a liquidiser and get it smooth, up to you if you want to do this; you could use passata instead of chopped tomatos for a smoother consistency.
11. Add the chicken pieces, the lentils and their remaining cooking liquid, some salt and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the chicken is done. Add a little hot water if the sauce starts to catch on the bottom of the pan but the idea is to finish up with a thick lentily (is this a real word?) sauce.
12. Simmer gently for the last 10 minutes stirring frequently as the sauce should now be nice and thick.

Part 2:

Glad your happy with it, let me know how you get on. I had time at work so I thought I might as well put it to good use

If you dont have a pestle and mortar then use a rolling pin, that does the crushing job just fine - you are just looking to bruise rather then crush really so all the flavour comes out.

Electric oven into a tandoor you say - funny you should ask that - i do as it happens I do. Do a google search for chicken brick, its a unfired tight fitting terracotta pot, should be no more then £30 for a big one. Not the real thing but much better then just marinating food and then cooking it in the oven. You end up cooking the food in its own juices, ideal for tandoori chicken, fish etc. Havent tried it with bread I must admit but as I said the chicken and fish I have done tastes really great, well worth the investment. Let me have your address and I'll send you a couple of packets of tandoori mix, that should get you started (mix it with yogurt, marinate the food overnight and then just cook).

Cheers, Ranjit

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Updated 03-02-08 at 17:39 by melons

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