A Persian influenced Lamb Dhansak recipe

Treat yourself to a delicious Lamb Dhansak, a sweet and savoury Parsi dish that is the perfect weekend family dish. DESIblitz shows you how to cook it.

A slow cook Lamb Dhansak recipe

Understanding how pairings work ensures you treat your taste buds like a king.

Lamb Dhansak is a traditional dish that doesn’t overload your senses.

When you cook South Asian style, you can easily make a good meal out of any combination. The spices from South Asia complement almost any ingredient to create a decent, hearty dinner.

But for the gourmand who wants to take things to the next level, understanding how pairings work is paramount to ensure that you treat your taste buds like a king.

Knowing what meat matches well with what vegetables, and which spice blends, leads to better cooking with little effort.

Dhansak is one of these exceptional dishes.

Lamb Dhansak (serves 4, prep time 15 minutes, cooking time 1 hour 15 minutes)


  • 500g diced lamb shoulder
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 red chilli, de-seeded and chopped
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic and ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 200ml beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons honey


  1. Preheat the oven to 150c/gas mark 3.
  2. Sear off the lamb and put to one side.
  3. In the same pan, cook the chopped onions on a medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until translucent.Dhansak
  4. Add the spices and chopped chillies to the pan and stir well. Cook for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes, honey and beef stock.Dhansak
  6. Return the lamb to the pan and stir through.
  7. Put the mix into your pre-heated oven and cook for 1 hour.
  8. When cooked through serve with rice, garnish with fresh coriander if you want.Dhansak

Lamb is a sweet meat, one that pairs well with the various ingredients of this recipe. The key tones that come through are the sweetness of the meat, the tang of the tomatoes and the short, sharp anis bursts of the cardamom.

Heat fans can supplement the chopped chillies by adding chilli powder into the spice mix, or upping the quantity of the chillies.

The original recipe that this is adapted from also includes red lentils, which help to bulk out the dish and adds to the texture.

Dhansak originates from India’s Parsi community, and contains elements of Persian and Gujarati cuisine.

A weekend dish and a heavier meal, Dhansak is usually prepared on a Sunday, as it takes longer to cook than most dishes.

It is rarely prepared on celebratory occasions, though, because Dhansak has ties to Parsi death culture.

Following the death of a family member, no meat is consumed for three days. Then, Dhansak is prepared on the fourth day to break this abstinence.

A great dish to cook in bulk, this Dhansak will keep in the fridge for up to four days and can easily be frozen in small batches.

Tom is a political science graduate and an avid gamer. He has a great love of science fiction and chocolate, but only the latter has made him gain weight. He has no life motto, instead just a series of grunts.

Photos by DESIblitz. Top Image courtesy of The Happy Foodie

Recipe adapted from Mary Berry c/o BBC food

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