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Nadiya Hussain’s Dhansak Bake

A rich beef and lentil curry topped with onion mash, this Dhansak Bake from Nadiya's Simple Spices is soon to be a classic winter warmer.

From the book


A dhansak is a meat curry cooked with lentils and that is exactly what I want to share with you – a simple beef and lentil curry cooked as quickly as possible but still crammed with flavour. However, this is a dhansak in baked form, with onion mash on top and cooked in the oven.

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For the beef:
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, diced
½ tsp salt, plus extra for the mash and eggs
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp curry powder
1 kg diced beef, cut into 1cm pieces
400g tin of lentils
500ml water
4 tbsp beef gravy granules
For the onion mash:
1kg potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
200g butter
200ml whole milk
3 tbsp mayonnaise
2 cloves of garlic, grated
75g crispy fried onions
Small handful of fresh chives, finely chopped
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
200g Red Leicester cheese, grated
To finish:
4 medium eggs

Essential kit

You will need: a 30cm rectangular roasting dish.

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Let’s start with the beef. Add the oil to a large pan and make sure the oil is hot before adding the onion and salt. Cook the onion till lightly brown and translucent.

Add the ground cinnamon, curry powder and beef and cook with the lid off for 20 minutes. Add the lentils and water and cook over a medium heat for 20 minutes till some of the liquid has evaporated. Add the beef gravy granules, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, making sure to stir occasionally.

Now, on to the onion mash. Boil your potatoes until soft, then drain and pop back into the pan. Warm the butter, whole milk and salt in another pan till the butter has melted.

Start mashing your potatoes or put through a ricer for the ultimate smooth mash. Add the milk mixture, then mix in the mayonnaise and garlic. Add the crispy fried onions and mix through until they begin to soften in the warm mash. Add the chives, leaving just a few for the top, then add the spring onion and half the cheese, leaving the other half for the top.

Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Get a 30cm rectangular roasting dish and pour in the beef mixture. Now dollop in the mash. I don’t like to smooth it out – I prefer to leave uneven dollops in places and create some craters for our eggs.

Bake for 40 minutes, then take out and crack in the eggs where you have spaces. Sprinkle over some salt. Add the remaining grated cheese and chives and bake till the whites of the eggs have gone white, leaving the yolks runny. Take out and serve while still hot.

+ If you are making this for the freezer, flatten out the mash so it’s easier to store and leave out the eggs entirely.

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From the book: Nadiya’s Simple Spices

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