Lamb Dhansak

By Mary Berry Mary Berry From the book Mary Berry Cooks
Lamb Dhansak

Dhansak is a popular Indian curry made from meat and lentils, flavoured with spices including cumin and ginger. It is mild, sweet and rich with just enough heat to satisfy most tastes. And best of all it benefits from being made a day in advance as it tastes even better the next day. I like to serve this with Raita and Fresh Tomato Relish, as well as hard-boiled eggs, poppadoms, rice and, of course, mango chutney.

For how many? Serves 6


  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1kg (2lb 2oz) diced lamb (shoulder or leg, or a mixture)
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 25g (1oz) fresh ginger root, peeled but left whole
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 10 green cardamom pods
  • 1½ tbsp ground cumin
  • 1½ tbsp ground coriander
  • 1½ tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 200ml (7fl oz) beef stock
  • 75g (3oz) dried red lentils
  • 3 tbsp clear honey
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Raita:
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled
  • 350g (12oz) Greek yoghurt
  • 5 tbsp chopped mint
  • For the Fresh Tomato Relish:
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 6 ripe tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ red chilli, chopped (optional)



Make 1–2 days ahead, keep in the fridge, then reheat thoroughly.


Transfer to a freezer-proof container and freeze for 1 month. Don’t freeze for longer as the flavours will intensify and the dish may become too spicy.

1 Preheat the oven to 150°C/130°C fan/Gas 2.

2 Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan. Add half the lamb and fry until browned. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside, then brown the other half of the lamb andset aside.3 Add the remaining oil to the pan.Add the onions and fry for 4–5 minutes until beginning to soften.

4 Meanwhile, place the ginger, garlic and chilli into a small food processor and whizz until finely chopped.

5 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.Add to the pan along with the remaining spices and the garlic and ginger mixture.

6 Add the remaining ingredients to the pan and add the lamb. Bring to the boil, then cover and place in the oven to simmer for 1–2 hours until tender. Check the seasoning and serve.

Keeps for 2 days in the fridge.1 small cucumber, peeled350g (12oz) Greek yoghurt5 tablespoons chopped mint



Keeps for 2 days in the fridge.

1 Cut the cucumber in half lengthways, scoop out the seeds and cut the flesh into small cubes. Place in a bowl with the yoghurt and mint and chill for up to 2 days before serving.



Keeps for 2 days in the fridge.

1.Mix all the ingredients together and chill for up to 2 days before serving.

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