Mallika Basu’s Parsi Lamb Dhansak

mallika_basu_home.jpgA classic, traditional lamb roast with mint jelly is always a beautiful thing. But, if you’re looking for something different and want to take advantage of delicious spring lamb, look no further than Mallika Basu’s outstanding Parsi Lamb Dhansak.

Mallika was born and raised in Kolkata before moving to the UK to attend university. Away from family and unimpressed with British curry houses, she was faced with either learning to cook or going without the delicious food she grew up with, In 2006, Mallika created a blog for her quick, healthy, simple Indian dishes, many of which use clever shortcuts for the ease of the busy modern cook.

Last year Mallika decided to stop working as an executive in corporate PR to pursue her cooking career full time, she now has more time to focus on creating wonderful recipes as well as look after her two small children. After you taste her spicy, sweet and sour dhansak with fall-of-the-bone tender lamb, we know you’ll want to visit her website,, or head to your nearest bookstore to pick up a copy of Miss Masala.

Parsi Lamb Dhansak


Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
Serves 4 hungry people


600g lamb, diced into large chunks
(keep the bone for extra flavour if using a shoulder or leg)
2 small tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
1 tsp tamarind paste
2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste

Lentil mixture
One-third cup toor dal
One-third cup masoor dal
One-third cup urad dal
1 small aubergine, chopped
1 small sweet potato, chopped
10 mint leaves
Handful of coriander
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp oil

For the paste
6 cloves garlic
1″ ginger
2 red chillies
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1″ stick cinnamon
4 green cardamoms
4 whole black peppercorns
1 tbsp kasoori methi or 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
Half a star anise
Half tsp freshly grated nutmeg


1. Wash the lentils with cold water until the water runs clear. Leave to soak covered with fresh water.

2. In a frying pan, dry roast the spices on a medium heat for 20 seconds. Then grind into a paste with the ginger and garlic using a tablespoon or two of water. Coat the meat pieces in this marinade and leave to sit.

3. Next, bring the oil to heat on high and when it’s hot and sizzles when touched with a wooden spoon, sauté the chopped onions. In 10 minutes, when the onion is golden, drop in the lamb along with its marinade and saute for another 10 minutes until brown all over.

4. Now mix in the tomatoes, and as they melt away, spoon in the lentils and the other ingredients for the lentil mixture. Pour water in to cover, bring to the boil and cook on a gentle medium heat for another hour to hour and a half. You could use a pressure cooker or a slow cooker to do this for you.

5. Now mash the lentils up so you get a smooth mixture towards the end of cooking time.

6. Finish by stirring in the tamarind paste, check for salt and add more if you prefer. Serve Parsi Lamb Dhansak hot with ghee (or butter) dropped on top.

Thanks Mallika for your delicious recipe!

Parsi Lamb Dhansak

(© 2016 Mallika Basu All Rights Reserved)


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