Dhansak Inspired Lentil Chicken Soup

Dhansak is a fusion of Indian and Persian cooking where lentils are cooked with a special blend of spices along with meat and some vegetables. This is my take on it using bones instead of meat and is slow-cooked to extract nutrients from bones! I saved the bones from the Berbere roast chicken and used them here. The roasted bones definitely add extra flavor too!

Photography By Anisha Anand | March 28, 2018

Ingredients

  • 1 cup soaked mixed lentils: 1/3 cup yellow split, 1/3 cup yellow mung and 1/3 cup red lentils (soak lentils for 6 to 8 hours)
  • 4 to 6 chicken leg bones and/or other chicken bone scraps
  • 2 to 2½ cups water
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch ginger, minced
  • 1 pinch each of cinnamon, clove, cardamom, fenugreek, fennel and nutmeg powders
  • 2 pinches black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon each fresh fenugreek and mint leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup chopped carrots (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes, cucumber and cilantro (optional, for garnish)
  • 1 lime
  • salt to taste

Preparation

If you are missing a few spices it will still be OK! Cook the onion in ghee until it is soft and slightly brown; this should take about 15 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook a few minutes, until fragrant and soft. Next add all the spices, cook a few more minutes till spices are fragrant. Then add the apple cider vinegar, water (start with 2 cups water but ensure bones are covered; add more if needed to cover bones or if you prefer thinner soup), bones and soaked lentils and herbs. Slow-cook for 6 to 7 hours (in slow-cooker or on low heat). Add the salt and vegetables now. Slow-cook for another hour, or until lentils are cooked and creamy and vegetables are soft but not mushy. Remove the bones when cooled. I find that this dish is best served the next day for even a richer and creamier texture and flavor. Serve hot topped with fresh chopped onion, tomatoes, cucumber and cilantro and a dash of fresh lime.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup soaked mixed lentils: 1/3 cup yellow split, 1/3 cup yellow mung and 1/3 cup red lentils (soak lentils for 6 to 8 hours)
  • 4 to 6 chicken leg bones and/or other chicken bone scraps
  • 2 to 2½ cups water
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch ginger, minced
  • 1 pinch each of cinnamon, clove, cardamom, fenugreek, fennel and nutmeg powders
  • 2 pinches black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon each fresh fenugreek and mint leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup chopped carrots (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes, cucumber and cilantro (optional, for garnish)
  • 1 lime
  • salt to taste
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