Multi-Lentil Persian Stew with Vegetables (Dhansaak)

Multi-Lentil Persian Stew with Vegetables <I>(Dhansaak)</I>

What apple pie is to an American, this stew (dhansaak) is to a Parsee from the city of Mumbai, India, formerly called Bombay.

Prep Time



Total Time






Clarified Butter, if desired
cups (1 lb) unsalted butter
cup dried split and hulled pigeon peas (toovar dal) or yellow split peas (chana dal), sorted, rinsed and drained
cup dried red lentils (masoor dal), sorted, rinsed and drained
tablespoons dried yellow split peas (chana dal), sorted, rinsed and drained
tablespoons dried split and hulled green lentils (mung dal), sorted, rinsed and drained
medium red onions, cut in half, thinly sliced
package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed (do not drain)
medium carrots, sliced (1 cup)
medium tomato, coarsely chopped (3/4 cup)
to 2 fresh Thai, serrano or cayenne chiles, cut lengthwise in half
6 1/2
cups water
tablespoons clarified butter (ghee) or vegetable oil
tablespoon grated gingerroot
medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
tablespoon coriander seed, ground
teaspoon salt
teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
teaspoon ground cinnamon
teaspoon ground cloves
teaspoon ground turmeric
cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
large lime, cut into 8 wedges
  1. In heavy 1-quart saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Continue simmering over low heat 15 to 20 minutes, occasionally skimming off milk solids that surface, until butter is clear and deep yellow in color. Do not stir (some of the milk solids will turn brown and sink to the bottom of pan). Remove saucepan from heat. Cool 5 to 10 minutes; do not stir. Gently pour clarified butter into an airtight container, leaving the milk solids in the saucepan. Cover and store in refrigerator up to 4 weeks. Makes 3/4 cup clarified butter; use 2 tablespoons for this recipe.
  2. In 3-quart saucepan, place pigeon peas, red lentils, yellow split peas, green lentils, 1 of the onions, the undrained spinach, carrots, tomato, chiles and 6 cups of the water. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered 15 to 20 minutes, skimming off any foam that floats to the top, until lentils are softened and most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat.
  3. While lentil mixture is simmering, in 10-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons clarified butter over medium-high heat. Add remaining onion, the gingerroot and garlic; stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes, being careful not to burn mixture, until mixture is dark brown. Add all remaining stew ingredients except cilantro and lime; stir-fry 30 to 60 seconds or until spices have a nutty aroma.
  4. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup water. Heat to boiling, scraping brown bits from bottom of skillet. Stir spice mixture into lentil mixture. Simmer uncovered 15 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges.
Makes 8 servings
Make the Most of This Recipe With Tips From The Betty Crocker® Kitchens
Did You Know?
Dried split and hulled pigeon peas are heavily consumed in South India. Some spice blends include these peas as a prime ingredient. Almost all of South India’s soups and stews are made with these peas.
Did You Know?
Deglazing is a technique often used by cooks to provide intense flavors in recipes. When ingredients such as onions or vegetables are cooked in a skillet, browned bits tend to stick to the bottom of the pan. Water or other liquid is added to the skillet to loosen those intensely flavored brown bits from the pan.
Serve With
This combination of legumes (dhan) and vegetables (saak) , often cooked with pieces of bone-in chicken, is a meal when served with steamed basmati rice.

Nutrition Information:

1 Serving (1 Serving)
  • Calories 150
    • (Calories from Fat 35),
  • Total Fat 4g
    • (Saturated Fat 2g,
    • Trans Fat 0g),
  • Cholesterol 10mg;
  • Sodium 330mg;
  • Total Carbohydrate 21g
    • (Dietary Fiber 8g,
    • Sugars 3g),
  • Protein 7g;
Percent Daily Value*:
    • 1 Starch;
    • 0 Fruit;
    • 0 Other Carbohydrate;
    • 0 Skim Milk;
    • 0 Low-Fat Milk;
    • 0 Milk;
    • 1 Vegetable;
    • 0 Very Lean Meat;
    • 0 Lean Meat;
    • 0 High-Fat Meat;
    • 1 Fat;
    Carbohydrate Choices:
    • 1 1/2;
    *Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.