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Member recipe

Meat or Tofu Dhansak

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(3 ratings)

Member recipe by

Cooking time

15 minutes


Serves 4

Dhansak is a hot, sweet, and sour Bangladeshi Dish.

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  • 125 ml uncooked red lentils
  • 3 tbsp oil (I use olive oil)
  • 1 large onion (finely chopped)
  • 600 g chicken, beef, or tofu cut into cubes
  • 65 ml tomato paste or 125 ml crushed ripe tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp crushed dried fenugreek (methi) leaves
  • 250 ml chicken or meat stock (175 ml, if crushed tomatoes used)
  • 125 ml yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp sugar (I use a sugar substitute)
  • salt taste (I do not use salt)
  • -------------------------------------------------
  • Spice Mix:
  • 4 tsp *Dhansak Masala (see below)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp of ground ginger (mixed with water to a paste)
  • 1 tsp chilli powder, or to taste
  • (Mix these spice spices together, add a little water, and make into a thin paste)
  • -------------------------------------------------
  • *Dhansak Masala Mix:
  • 20 tsp cumin (ground)
  • 12 tsp coriander (ground)
  • 8 tsp turmeric (ground)
  • 8 tsp garam masala
  • 8 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 tsp chili (ground)
  • 4 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon (ground)
  • 1 tsp cardamom (ground)


    1. In a small thick bottomed saucepan (with a lid), rinse and cover the lentils with water to twice their depth. Bring to a simmer, and cook on very low heat until all the water has been absorbed and the lentils can be crushed into a paste.
    2. After starting off the lentils, place the oil in a large heated frying pan (with a lid). Add and fry the onion on medium-high for 5 minutes, stirring frequently until glassy. Add the spice mix, stirring it into the onion, and continue to fry until the oil is seeping out of the spices (add a little water if sticking).
    3. Add chicken, lamb, or (partially pre-fried) tofu pieces and fry until lightly browned. Add the tomato paste or crushed tomatoes, and stock, and stir them in. Put the lid on the pan, bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for about 15 minutes.
    4. Now add and stir in the mashed lentils and the yoghurt, and continue to simmer with lid on for 10 minutes.
    5. Finally, add the lemon juice, sugar (or sugar substitute), and crushed fenugreek, mix in well and simmer for 15 more minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving with boiled Basmati Rice.

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Lynee's picture
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This is the best Dhansak I have had since leaving the UK 4yrs ago - looks difficult but is really easy to follow. I only made a quarter of the masala mix this is enough for two to three curries - so good it promoted me to join, I look forward to trying other recipe.

Look forward to making it next week with the left over masala mix - will be even easier.

Queenie75's picture

Cooked this yesterday - it was so lovely it prompted me to create an account and leave a review. Dhansak is my favourite takeaway choice and there seem to be very few recipes for it on the main cookery sites. Thank you to whoever contributed this one!
Don't be put off by the "for a keen cook" tag, although the ingredients list initially looks long, it's actually very simple to make. Like another poster I made a smaller amount of the masala powder (approx 1/4) - and there's enough left for another 2 or 3 curries. We also didn't have some of the dried spices to hand so swapped ground ginger for fresh, chilli powder for dried flakes and ground cardamon for lemon salt. I also ended up using toddler fromage frais instead of yoghurt and had no fenugreek so omitted that entirely! Despite all our improvisations, it was lovely, with a thick texture and very tasty with a nice warm "afterburn" - will definitely be making again soon!

liferiley's picture
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One of the tastiest curries I've ever made!! Loved it, but as mentioned, could do with a touch more heat for me. The flavour is amazing though. I reduced the quantities of the Dhansak Massala Mix that I made, as this makes an awful lot, and you only need 4 tsp's of it, but will definitely be making again, soon.

suemumd's picture
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This was a simple dish to prepare and cook. It was delicious, and the cooking smells were delightful. I would add a little more chilli powder, or some fresh chilli, to make it a hotter dish. It was loved by all the family and I will definitely be cooking it again, especially as I now have the Dhansak Masala ready prepared in the cupboard.

I didn't have any fenugreek leaves, but it was still very tasty.