Dhansak is Parsi in origin and Parsis are a Zoroastrain sect of people orignally from Iran. A small number of them also migrated to the North Western part of India around the 10th century and settled there. I had a Parsi friend in college many years ago but we lost touch a few years back. Kermeez if you are reading this please get in touch with me!!
Although Dhansak is made with lamb or chicken I left the meat out and converted it into a vegetarian dish with an eggplant and pumpkin. Similar to South Indian Sambar the dhansak is a glorious golden dal with softened vegetables. While I was on my Navrathri fast, it was a warm welcome and a comfort food that I enjoyed. Navrathri is a festive occasion for the Hindus of India and celebrated for ten days and nine nights. Most often people observe fasts and vegetarian food is served to the family and the tenth day
is Vijaya Dashami, 'the tenth day of victory of good over evil' is considered auspicious to start new ventures especially in the field of education. In Kerala, an auspicious time for a young child between the ages of 3-5 to start up the beginning of formal education. By tradition Durga Puja starts off with children learning to read and write on a platter of rice either at the temple or their home.
On Ashtami tools are not used and Goddess Saraswati is honored by worshipping books on Navami. This year Vijaya Dashami or Dussera was on October 6th, after my Saraswati puja I slipped away to make this dal dish. I wouldn't call it quite the traditional Vijaya Dashami fare, but after the fast the creamy dhansak was very welcome to our palate. Navrathri starts off a very festive string of events in our home and the celebrations will continue on. Before I know its a Birthday, a Blog anniversary, Deepavali, Halloween, our wedding anniversary, followed by Thanksgiving, the Holiday season and I will be concocting new recipes in succession to celebrate -so watch out!!
1/3 cup tur dal
1/3 cup masoor dal
1/3 cup moong dal
Pumpkin- 1 cup skin removed andcubed
Asian Eggplant- 1 cubed
2 medium onions-sliced
1 Tblspoon Kasuri Methi(dried fenugreek leaves)
Today's Mystery Ingredient is Kasuri Methi grown from fenugreek or methi seeds. The leaves of the fenugreek seeds can be eaten fresh or dried.
The Kasuri Methi is the dried version, and more information about it is available at this website
For dhansak masala:
6 cloves garlic
1" piece fresh ginger
6-7 red chillies
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1" cinnamon stick
juice of a lime
2 green cardamoms
4 pepper corns
1. Pressure cook all the dals together.
2. Saute the masala ingredients other than ginger and garlic, on a low flame until fragrant, about a minute or two. Cool for a few minutes and grind to a fine paste along with ginger-garlic adding water
as needed to form a smooth paste. Keep the masala aside.
3. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large pan. Fry the onion slices with a few grains of sugar to caramelize the onions. Saute for 3-4 minutes until browned.
4. Add the masala paste and saute for 3-4 minutes, it lets out a rich aroma.
5. Add the chopped tomatoes, fenugreek leaves. Saute for 3-4 minutes, allow the tomatoes to cook.
6. Now, add the boiled dals, eggplant and pumpkin. Add salt. Stir well and test if it is well seasoned. Finally add the lime juice.
Serve hot with rotis or Brown Rice.