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Author Topic: Dhansak spicing  (Read 253 times)

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Offline Sverige

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Dhansak spicing
« on: October 01, 2019, 11:04 AM »
I’m researching dhansak, specifically how a typical BIR spices their dhansak.

Leaving aside the thorny question of whether a dhansak should have pineapple or not, the fact is just about every dhansak I’ve had, across many and varied BIR shops, has a distinctive flavour. I had assumed it came from the dhal, but I cannot reproduce it at home, so I’m wondering if there’s a spice blend which every BIR chef somehow knows about?

I’ve seen chewytikka post in the past about dhansak powder, which I think is a Shan product, but is it really so widely used that this could account for that distinctive taste?  If so, I don’t know why I’ve never seen it on sale in an Indian cash and carry or grocers.

So apart from the dhal, what makes a dhansak different from a madras or a basic chicken curry? What spices apart from mix powder and chilli powder might be added?

Offline chewytikka

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Re: Dhansak spicing
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2019, 03:19 PM »
Are you allowed to attempt BIR cooking again?
The BIR shops, are these in the UK or Sweden?

BIR Dhansak is a Sweet and Sour Lentil Curry, as simple as.
In my recipes, I favour MANGAL Dhansak Masala Powder and Tamarind
as an enhancement to a restaurant basic dish, - Sugar, Lemon, Worcestershire and Pineapple.

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Offline Sverige

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Re: Dhansak spicing
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2019, 07:28 AM »
Thanks Chewy. Total curry exclusion order has been lifted but replaced with a quota system, so I need to cook my curries wisely as I’m limited to about one per month. All the more important that I get my recipes spot on...!

So sugar, lemon, dhal and a splash of Worcester I have tried. Perhaps the sugar could need to be caramelised a bit in the early singe fry stage, maybe that’s the flavour I’m missing?

The dhal I guess is just preboiled with some salt and Haldi powder perhaps, no special spices there? 

Will have another go at the end of the month. We will get there by trial and error in the end. 

 If I ever find the Mangal dhansak powder I’ll pick some up, but I can’t imagine it is used very widely by BIRs, otherwise it would be easier to find. There are no BIR shops in sweden, you’ll find the odd indo-Chinese grocers but they major on traditional rather than BIR ingredients. Lots of African and Middle Eastern grocers around, but that doesn’t help much.

Having said that there is a place in Malmö importing Pataks and a few other brands including Laziza, but sadly no dhansak powder (nor tikka botti paste). Can’t even find Mr Naga over here. A sad situation, but mail order from the UK is possible, but a bit expensive.

« Last Edit: October 02, 2019, 07:40 AM by Sverige »

Offline Secret Santa

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Re: Dhansak spicing
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2019, 09:32 PM »
My preference is for the simplicity of the classic lemon juice and white sugar combination. But dhansak has many variations based on the wide mix of sweet and sour flavourings available. In particular, you might try jaggery or if you can't get that then palm sugar. They both have a sort of toffyish flavour which may be what you're missing. But, as said, there are so many possible variations on the sweet/sour theme it could be any number of other ingredients.
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Offline Peripatetic Phil

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Re: Dhansak spicing
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2019, 08:49 AM »
I would be minded to try one of the traditional dhansak masalas that one can find on the web, perhaps the one at https://www.archanaskitchen.com/home-made-dhansak-masala-recipe

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