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 FreshTomato Relish as well as hard-boiled eggs, poppadoms, rice and, of course, mango chutney.

Lamb-DhansakSERVES 6


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.


3 tablespoons 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 tablespoons ground cumin

1½ tablespoons

ground coriander

½ tablespoon ground turmeric

1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes

200ml (7fl oz) beef stock

75g (3oz) dried red lentils

3 tablespoons clear honey

salt and freshly ground

black pepper


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 and

set 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, peeled

350g (12oz) Greek yoghurt

5 tablespoons chopped mint



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 red onion, finely chopped

6 ripe tomatoes, skinned,

deseeded and chopped

2 tablespoons chopped

coriander leaves,

juice of ½ lemon

½ red chilli, chopped (optional)



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