Waitrose and Partners
Dhansak with chicken thighs

Dhansak with chicken thighs

Anjula Devi's slow cooker recipe is easy to prepare, nourishing, delicious and energy efficient

5 out of 5 stars(1) Rate this recipe
HealthyHigh fibre3 of your 5 a day
  • Serves8
  • CourseMain meal
  • Prepare25 mins
  • Cook3 hrs 15 mins
  • Total time3 hrs 40 mins
  • Plusovernight soaking

Please note, we take every care to ensure the product, allergen and recipe information displayed is correct. However, should a product be unavailable, alternatives may be displayed and/or a substitution provided. If you have an allergy or intolerance, please always check the product label before use.


  • 300g red lentils
  • 4 clove/s garlic, crushed
  • 4 cm piece ginger, finely grated
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 4 tbsp groundnut oil
  • small whole green chillies, or to taste
  • 2 tsp Cooks’ Ingredients Deggi Mirch Spice Blend
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tbsp dried mint
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • ¼ cinnamon stick
  • 8 chicken thigh fillets, each cut into 2 pieces
  • 2 onions, grated
  • 3 small potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 2 aubergines, cut into chunks
  • 350g Cooks’ Ingredients Sweet Potato & Butternut Squash Chunks
  • 3 tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 25g pack coriander, roughly chopped, to serve

For the dhansak masala

  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • ¼ cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 5 cardamom pods, slightly bashed
  • 1 bay leaf

For the sweet & sour

  • 4 tbsp Cooks’ Ingredients Tamarind Paste
  • 2 tbsp palm sugar (or soft brown sugar)


  1. The night before cooking, wash the lentils, then soak in plenty of cold water. In the morning, put them in a pan covered with water, bring to the boil and boil for 10 minutes, then drain. Set the slow cooker to high, add the lentils, 1 tsp each of the garlic, ginger and turmeric and 1 tbsp oil. Using a cocktail stick or the tip of a knife, prick the chillies a few times, then add them in with the deggi mirch, pepper, bay leaf, star anise, mint and butter, plus 750ml hot water. Place the lid on the slow cooker.

  2. Take a large sauté or frying pan and warm the remaining 3 tbsp oil over a medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and cinnamon. Allow the aromatics to release into the oil. This should take about 1 minute.

  3. Add the chicken thighs and season with salt. Sear and slightly colour the thighs. Add the remaining garlic and ginger, then sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the onions, increase the heat to high and fry for 5 minutes.

  4. Add the potatoes, aubergines, sweet potato and squash mix, plus the tomatoes. Cook on a high heat for 5 minutes, then transfer to the slow cooker. Mix gently, then cover and cook for 1 hour.

  5. To make the dhansak masala, place all the spices in a dry frying pan and gently toast over a low heat. Try not to rush, as you’re trying to entice the aromatic oils from the spices. Transfer the spices to a pestle and mortar or spice grinder, cool, then grind to a powder.

  6. When the chicken has been cooking for 1 hour, stir in the dhansak masala, tamarind paste and palm sugar. Re-cover and slow cook for a further 2 hours, or until the chicken is tender, cooked through with no pink meat and the juices run clear, the vegetables have broken down and the lentils are creamy. Garnish with the coriander to serve.


Typical values per serving when made using specific products in recipe


1,837kJ/ 439kcals



Saturated Fat












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5 out of 5 stars1 rating