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Multi-Lentil Persian Stew with Vegetables (Dhansaak)

Multi-Lentil Persian Stew with Vegetables (Dhansaak)

A delicious fusion of Persian and Indian cooking
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Indian, Persian
Keyword: Dhansaak, Multi-Lentil Persian Stew with Vegetables, Persian
Servings: 8
Calories: 150kcal


Clarified Butter, if desired

  • 2 cups Unsalted butter 1lb


  • ½ cup Dried split and hulled pigeon peas (toovar dal) or yellow split peas (chana dal), sorted, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup Dried red lentils (masoor dal), sorted, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp Dried yellow split peas (chana dal), sorted, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp Dried split and hulled green lentils (mung dal), sorted, rinsed and drained
  • 2 Medium red onions, cut in half, thinly sliced
  • 10 oz Frozen chopped spinach, thawed (do not drain) 1 Package
  • 1 cup Medium carrots, sliced (1 cup)
  • ¾ tomato Tomato, coarsely chopped
  • 1-2 Fresh Thai, serrano or cayenne chiles, cut lengthwise in half
  • 6 ½ cup Water
  • 2 tbsp Clarified butter (ghee) or vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp Grated ginger root
  • 5 Medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Coriander seed, ground
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • ½ tsp Ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp Ground turmeric
  • ¼ cup Finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Large lime, cut into 8 wedges


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Facts

1 servings per container

  • Amount Per ServingCalories150
  • % Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 4g 7%
    • Saturated Fat 2g 10%
  • Cholesterol 10mg 4%
  • Sodium 330mg 14%
  • Potassium 540mg 16%
  • Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
    • Dietary Fiber 8g 32%
    • Sugars 3g
  • Protein 7g 15%

  • Vitamin A 110%
  • Vitamin C 10%
  • Calcium 8%
  • Iron 15%

* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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Written by Lisa Yarde

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