Dhansak (Vegetable And Lentil Curry)

Dhansak is a typical Parsi preparation. It is served with browned rice (as opposed to brown rice) and a tomato/cucumber salad. Dhansak is normally made with mutton, but  does not always have to be so. I was first introduced to Parsi dishes (though did not taste them) by a friend in the early 80’s. But I never had the urge to try them since they were all non-vegetarian. It was only recently that I decided to be adventurous and experiment with not just the vegetarian version, but also WFPB. Thanks to Hari, it turned out to be an unqualified success.
I will post the dhansak (a wet curry) recipe today and follow it up with the salad and the browned rice. The three, in combination, will be a complete Parsi meal.

3/4 cup pigeon peas (tur dal, thuvaram parupu)
2/3 cup red lentils (masoor dal, massor parupu)
400 gms pumpkin (kadhu, pooshanikkai), cubed
1 small bunch of green onion, cut into 1/2″ pieces
2 cups fenugreek greens (methi saag, venthiya keerai), chopped fine
2  eggplants (baingan, kathirikkai), cubed
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
6 flakes garlic (lehsun, poondu), chopped fine
2″ piece ginger (adrak, inji), chopped fine
2 medium sized onions, sliced
4 medium sized tomatoes, chopped roughly
Salt to taste
For The Masala
6 dried red chillies
1 tsp cumin seeds (sabut jeera, jeeragam)
1 tbsp coriander seeds (sabut dhania, kothamalli varai)
2 1″ pieces of cinnamon (dalchini, pattai)
2 green cardamom (elaichi, elakkai)
6 pepper corns (sabut kali mirch, kurumilagu)
Preparing The Masala
Heat a wok and add all the ingredients for the masala
Roast them and cool
Transfer to a blender and grind to a powder
Set aside
Preparing The Gravy
Wash and transfer the pigeon peas and red lentils to a pressure cooker
Add 3 cups water and cook for 1 whistle
Let the steam release naturally and open the lid
Put the pressure cooker back on the flame and cook for 15 minutes (do not use lid)
Set aside
Wash all the vegetables (pumpkin. spring onions, fenugreek greens, eggplant) and transfer to a pressure cooker
Add 1 cup water
Add turmeric powder and salt
Cook for 1 whistle
Lower the flame and cook for 5 minutes
Let the steam release naturally and open the lid
Set aside
Heat a wok and add ginger, garlic and onions
Roast till the onions turn translucent
Add tomatoes and salt
Cook till the tomatoes are done well
Add the powdered masala and cook for 3-4 minutes till the spices are blended well
Mash the cooked lentils and add to this mixture
Mash the cooked vegetables and add to this mixture
Adjust salt
Add 1/2 cup water cook for 5 minutes on low flame
Remove from flame and cool
Transfer to a blender and blend well
Transfer to a serving bowl
Serve with Parsi brown rice and salad

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