Murg Dhansak (Chicken Cooked with Lentils)

Murg Dhansak (Chicken cooked with lentils) | Playful Cooking

I seriously didn’t imagine taking such a long break. With so many recipes in the backlog, I was planning on sharing something with you much earlier. But then, days went by and with few items on my plate; I didn’t realize that almost a month passed by. Some of you emailed me asking if my health was fine or if I moved back to India. Thank you for your emails! My health is absolutely fine and I am still in sunny California. With all the workload of organizing the new apartment and entertaining a few guests in between, I somehow lost my mojo to blog. I never thought that could ever happen, but it did. I have been told, such chapters come in every bloggers life and eventually, we all get back to zone. I am hoping for that to happen soon.


Until that materializes, I will share with you some of the recipes that have been sitting in the draft folder for a while now.


Murg Dhansak (Chicken cooked with lentils) | Playful Cooking


The other day, as I marinated the chicken with salt, pepper and few other spices, I started wondering if I could prepare it differently than how I have been always eating. So I googled! At first, there were the common results that I tried and tasted numerous times and then, I read ‘Murg Dhansak’ – chicken cooked with lentils. That’s new and something I would have never thought of. After reading several recipes, the curiosity only doubled and my palate got tempted. So, I gave it a shot.


Murg Dhansak (Chicken cooked with lentils) | Playful Cooking


Dhansak is a popular Parsi dish, which is prepared with lentils (mostly red or yellow), vegetables and spices. The non-vegetarian version typical uses goat meat and the vegetarian version uses gourd or pumpkin. I decided to go with chicken.


Slow cooking is not really my thing, but with this specific curry, I didn’t have much of a choice. At the end, it was certainly worth the effort. There was the flavor, the texture and a comfort feeling. It was a hearty mouthful dish. And just like many other chicken curries, this too tasted a lot better next day. Allowing it to rest overnight gives it enough time to fuse the flavors, making it more robust.


Murg Dhansak (Chicken cooked with lentils) | Playful Cooking


Murg Dhansak (Chicken cooked with lentils) | Playful Cooking


Murg Dhansak (Chicken Cooked with Lentils)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 6 hours, 10 minutes

Serving Size: Serves 2

Murg Dhansak (Chicken Cooked with Lentils)


  • 1 lb chicken (bone or boneless, skinned and cut in bite size)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 4 green cardamoms, crushed
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 dry red chilies
  • 2 dry bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 1 cup lentil of your choice (soaked overnight)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • fresh coriander, finely chopped for garnish
  • oil
  • salt


  • Marinate the chicken pieces with salt, ginger, garlic, cumin powder and coriander powder. Let it rest for minimum five hours or preferably overnight.
  • In a wok or deep saucepan, add 2 tablespoons oil, cinnamon sticks and crushed green cardamom. Let it infuse the oil for a few seconds. Now, add chopped onion, season with salt and allow it to cook until translucent. Next, drop the marinated chicken, add 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder and give a stir. Allow it to cook at low heat for about 20 minutes.
  • In the meantime, heat 2 tablespoons oil in another deep saucepan and add dry chilies along with bay leaves. After a couple of seconds, drop the soaked lentil and season with salt. Add enough water to bring it to a boil and allow it to cook until it’s soft. It should take about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Once lentils are done, mash it partially with the back of the spoon and drop it to the pan containing chicken. Give it a good mix. Add garam masala powder and chili powder. Check for salt and add any, if required. Depending on how much gravy you want, add some water and let it cook for five more minutes.
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve.


Murg Dhansak (Chicken cooked with lentils) | Playful Cooking

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Rosa says:

A delightful combination of ingredients! I love everything about this dish and your photography is just stunning.



Rochelle says:

I adore lentils and this sounds delicious. I can’t wait until the heatwave passes and I can get into the kitchen with the intention of making something like this 🙂

Was missing your posts and lovely clicks. Happy to see you back. And thanks for such a great post and gorgeous click. Now the dhanshak is on my to do list

Nupur says:

Kankana, I am a vegetarian and would you believe if I say I am so tempted to try this murg dhansak after looking at your pics right now !

such stunning pictures dear 🙂

Such a tasty dish, I love the spices and yellow lentils!

papori says:

Lovely as always (y). Have tried Masur dal wit mutton but never chicken. Will defintely try this out.

Reem says:

I’m so happy to see new post here… I have been waiting!!!! N now I will be craving this all night 🙂
Gorgeous shots dear

Yep, did miss your wonderful recipes and stories.
The dhansak does look like a comfort dish. Yum yum!

Joyti says:

I get nervous when I have posted/updated for a while. Like right now. But I’m so happy to “see” you back in your space. The dish looks great, light but filling and hearty and full of healthy protein! The photography is STUNNING!

Glad you are back with your stunning photography and a great recipe. Hope you are settled down.

Moving and settling into a new house is certainly exhausting. Great to see a new post here. Beautiful styling.

Liren says:

So glad you are well and that you were able to take some time away as you get settled. This dish looks simply delicious, just what I’m craving these days. I must try it!

Vishakha says:

I can absolutely relate to that period of lull with regards to blogging that you are going through. I had a very long one which lasted almost a year. Let’s just hope it’s over for me and for you too! You are doing really good work and there are so many of us who look forward to finding out what’s cooking in your kitchen, your photographs which are full of inspiration. For all the years that I have known of your blog, this is probably the only time you have been away. A well deserved break, but come back soon! 🙂

Rafeeda says:

this is really interesting… got to try this soon… 🙂

Beautiful moody clicks…this looks mouthwatering!

How did you do the moody photos? Did you have to use any filter? They look cloudy and really beautiful.

Good to see you back in action. The stew looks really good. And your photographs are awesome too.

Me too bunking from the blog and I’m glad you’ve managed to get back and how! Stunning! LOVE that bg too.

nipponnin says:

I’m so glad to heard from you. I think your blog is exceptional! With gorgeous photos and all…you’re talented (I’m so jealous) and I hope you continue with this journey.

I am so glad you are back. Dhansak is probably one of my favorite Parsi dishes from Bombay!

Archana says:

Glad to see you back! Missed seeing your posts! 🙂 Lentils and Chicken combo is definitely new to me…..looks like a must try! Gorgeous clicks!

Eha says:

Lovely to see a post from you again! Have made this Parsi dish for decades and absolutely love it: next time around and very soon shall try your version!

This dish sounds sooooooooo delicious! I love your recipe… and I hope your mojo for blogging returns.

Welcome back!
And thanks a bunch for another rocking recipe!
Let’s not talk about your pictures; they make my brain numb. And they make my head spin.

Nami | JOC says:

I’m just happy that you are well, Kankana. Everyone is busy or away during the summer time so it’s great that you took some time off during this time. 😉 Welcome back! I’m excited again to receive your new posts! Beautiful photography and delicious dish!

Welcome back, Kankana!

I love this dish. Often make it with beef as well. Beautiful photography as always.

this looks delicious and simply stunning in the photographs. I love cooking with lentils especially with chicken

Pia says:

That’s exactly how blogging is for me – ebbs and tides. And sometimes, you just need time off. It’s good to have you back here, Kankana. The dhansak brings back memories of Parsi meals in Bombay 🙂

Kiran says:

I’m sure you’d find your blogging mojo back soon. I’m in the rut myself and have find spending less time on social media can be a breather and refresher.

Love murg dhansak — delicious comfort food!

Aww girl! I hope you get your creative juices going again. I miss seeing your wonderful pictures! Sending hugs all the way from Australia. xx

Ah yes, I know the feeling of needing a break. Go for it! I bet you’ll come back to us totally refueled. In the meantime, I can’t believe you’ve got such great recipes in your draft folder!
Take care Kankana,

Your photography is AMAZING.

athena says:

Hi Kankana, I’ve been so out of the loop and not blogging anymore… had no idea you were taking a break from blogging. Hope all is well and just want to let you know that I’m thinking of you! I’ll be in the area soon (well, San Francisco) to run a half marathon NEXT MONTH… crazy, I know! Explains the non-blogging for me 🙂

Ilaria says:

Amazing blog and wonderful contribution to Threef ! Nice to “meet” you on the web !

Jessy says:

I’ve just stumbled upon your blog and I have to say that your photography is amazing!! I already bookmarked a bunch of recipes! 🙂