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Type Curry
Place of origin India
Main ingredients Lentils, vegetables, spices, cumin seeds, ginger, garlic, meat (mutton, goat meat), either gourd or pumpkin
Cookbook: Dhansak  Media: Dhansak

Dhansak is a popular Indian dish, especially among the Parsi Zoroastrian community.[1] It combines elements of Persian and Gujarati cuisine. Dhansak is made by cooking mutton with a mixture of lentils and vegetables. This is served with caramelised brown rice, which is rice cooked in caramel water to give it a typical taste and colour. The dal cooked with mutton and vegetables served with brown rice, altogether is called dhansak.

In Parsi homes, dhansak is traditionally made on Sundays[2] as it is a heavy dish to digest and owing to the long preparation time.

Dhansak is also always had on the fourth day after the death of a near one. There is no meat consumed for three days after the death of a near one. And dhansak is used to break this abstinence on the fourth day. Dhansak hence, is never prepared on auspicious occasions like festivals and weddings.


Dhansak is made by cooking mutton cubes with a mixture of four lentils (arhar dal, Bengal gram or chana dal, red masoor dal and brown masoor dal), potato, tomato, brinjal, pumpkin and fenugreek leaves. The dhansak is flavoured with dhansak masala, which is a mixture of fifteen different spices,[clarification needed] ginger, garlic, coriander leaves, green chilli and mint leaves. Within the Parsi community, dhansak usually contains goat meat or mutton; it is rarely made with other meats, or without meat.

International recipe variants for the dhansak sometimes call for pineapple chunks to provide a sweet flavour, [3] but traditional Indian recipes prefer the use of pumpkin, squash or gourd.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tanya M. Luhrmann (1996). The Good Parsi: The Fate of a Colonial Elite in a Postcolonial Society. Harvard University Press. pp. 37–. ISBN 978-0-674-35676-4. Retrieved 28 September 2012. 
  2. ^ Jeroo Mehta (1973). 101 Parsi Recipes. Popular Prakashan. pp. 73–. ISBN 978-81-7991-367-3. Retrieved 28 September 2012. 
  3. ^ Fodor's (3 November 2009). Fodor's England 2010: with the Best of Wales. Random House Digital, Inc. pp. 495–. ISBN 978-1-4000-0861-2. Retrieved 28 September 2012.