Chicken Dhansak

Course : Curry
Serves: 6
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1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
4 piece green cardamom pods
1 piece cassia bark or cinnamon sick -- broken up
4 medium dried red chillies
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 medium bayleaves
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 tablespoon ginger paste
1 tablespoon garlic paste
1 kilogram skinned chicken thighs
50 grams ghee or unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
125 milliliter warm water
75 grams toor dhal or yellow split peas -- washed and soaked for 30 minutes
75 grams masoor dhal -- washed and soaked for 30 minutes
4 tablespoons sunflower or soya oil
1 large onion -- finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
600 milliliter warm water
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate or 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves

Preparation / Directions:

Grind the ingredients until fine in a coffee mill. Add 75ml water to the ground spices and make a paste, then mix with the ginger and garlic. Rub this mixture into the chicken making sure that the spices coat them thoroughly. Cover and leave to marinate in a cool place for 4-6 hours or overnight in the fridge. Bring back to room temperature before cooking. Melt the ghee or butter over a medium heat and fry the chicken, stirring frequently, for 6-8 minutes. Add the water and salt, allow to bubble gently, then cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the lentils and mix them together. Heat the oil over a medium heat and fry the onions for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the turmeric and garam masala, soak for 30 seconds. then add the lentils. Reduce the heat to low and fry the lentils for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, then add the water. Bring to the boil, cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Stir occasionally. Stir in the salt, remove from the heat and cool. Puree the lentils in a blender and pour over the chicken. Cook on a medium heat until it begins to bubble. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook for 20-25 minutes. During the last 10-15 minutes, stir frequently to ensure that the thickened sauce does not stick to the pan. Add the tamarind and stir until dissolved. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then stir in half the coriander leaves. If using lemon juice, add it along with the coriander leaves. Remove from the heat and serve garnished with the remaining coriander leaves.

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