The canonical FiveGeeks version of this sharp lentil-and-chicken curry is Mark's Chicken Dhansak à la MrTea. Here's an updated version for 2014, with some inspiration from a Madhur Jaffrey dal recipe.
Makes about 12 portions.
Put the following in a pressure cooker:
- 1kg dried red lentils
- 2 bay leaves
- The cloves from one head of garlic, peeled (you don't need to chop them, they'll dissolve anyway)
- 2tbsp dried ginger
- 2tbsp garam masala
- 2tbsp cumin seed
- 3l water
Bring up to pressure and cook for 20 minutes. Get on with the other stuff below while it's cooking.
Once the cooking time's up, reduce the pressure by putting the pan in cold water, rather than by venting (else you'll wind up with lentils everywhere).
You basically want lumps of well-flavoured chicken in not too much sauce. I tend to cheat and use curry paste for this (e.g. Patak's).
For a vegetarian version of this, I'd make a paneer madras here. (I don't think mushrooms would work very well.)
- oil (I use rapeseed oil)
- 1tbsp mustard seed
- 4 large onions, chopped
- 8-12 chilli peppers, chopped
- 280g (1 jar) madras paste
- 800g chicken, diced
- 400g (1 tin) chopped tomatoes
In a heavy-based pan, heat the mustard seeds in enough oil to cover the base until they start to pop. Add the onions and chillis and fry until soft. Add the madras paste with enough water to clean out the jar, stir, add the chicken, cook until no longer pink. Add the tomatoes and a bit more water, and cook over a medium heat for another five minutes.
The lentils should be ready by now. Stir them into the chicken, or the other way around, depending on which of your pans is bigger. Add lemon juice to taste — I use about 100ml — and salt if you'd like it (I don't). Stir thoroughly and simmer over a low heat for fifteen minutes.
Serve with chopped coriander leaves, naan and lime pickle.