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Multi-Lentil Persian Stew with Vegetables (Dhansaak)

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Multi-Lentil Persian Stew with Vegetables (Dhansaak)
  • Prep Time 40 min
  • Total Time 1 hr 45 min
  • Servings 8
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What apple pie is to an American, this stew (dhansaak) is to a Parsee from the city of Mumbai, India, formerly called Bombay.

Ingredients

Clarified Butter, if desired

2
cups (1 lb) unsalted butter

Stew

1/2
cup dried split and hulled pigeon peas (toovar dal) or yellow split peas (chana dal), sorted, rinsed and drained
1/4
cup dried red lentils (masoor dal), sorted, rinsed and drained
2
tablespoons dried yellow split peas (chana dal), sorted, rinsed and drained
2
tablespoons dried split and hulled green lentils (mung dal), sorted, rinsed and drained
2
medium red onions, cut in half, thinly sliced
1
package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed (do not drain)
2
medium carrots, sliced (1 cup)
1
medium tomato, coarsely chopped (3/4 cup)
1
to 2 fresh Thai, serrano or cayenne chiles, cut lengthwise in half
6 1/2
cups water
2
tablespoons clarified butter (ghee) or vegetable oil
1
tablespoon grated gingerroot
5
medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
1
tablespoon coriander seed, ground
1
teaspoon salt
1/2
teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1/2
teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2
teaspoon ground cloves
1/4
teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4
cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1
large lime, cut into 8 wedges

Directions

  • 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.
Tips  

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 Information 

NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING

Serving Size: 1 Serving
Calories
150
(
Calories from Fat
35
)
Daily Value
Total Fat
4g
6%
(
Saturated Fat
2g
10%
,
Trans Fat
0g
)
Cholesterol
10mg
3%
Sodium
330mg
14%
Potassium
540mg
15%
Total Carbohydrate
21g
7%
(
Dietary Fiber
8g
33%
,
Sugars
3g
)
Protein
7g
Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
110%
110%
Vitamin C
10%
10%
Calcium
8%
8%
Iron
15%
15%
Exchanges:
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 Choice
1 1/2
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
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