Dhaansaak part 3: Accompaniments

Dhaansaak part 3: Accompaniments

To finish the dhaansaak

Mr Todiwala's Bombay
Helen Cathcart

The best known recipe of great Parsee cooking – it’s the traditional Sunday roast. Dhaansaak is made up of two main parts: lamb with lentils, and rice. Each one can be used as an independent dish as well so I have kept each part separate. This will not only simplify things but make you understand the depth and intricacies of Indian cooking. Both masalas in the recipes can be prepared in larger quantities and kept for the future in sealed containers: the paste in the refrigerator, the dry mix in a dark store cupboard. The browned rice is good with other meat and poultry dishes too.

To a Parsee, dhaansaak is always made with lamb unless someone in the family does not eat lamb, or is a vegetarian. The accompaniments – the little lamb kebab balls and the kachumber (onion salad) are as important as the main part – a bit like having Yorkshire puddings and horseradish sauce with roast beef! Cooking dhaansaak is a painstaking affair but very straightforward if you follow each section methodically and it can be started the day before to enjoy the Sunday lunch (which is what we Parsees do). The end result can be a sheer achievement and if done well with go down as a masterpiece.

This recipe is part 3 of the dhaansaak: to finish the dhaansaak.

You'll find part 1 of the dhaansaak recipe under 'Dhaansaak part 1: 'Masala ni daar saathy gos', as well as part 2 under 'Dhaansaak part 2: Vagharaela chaawal'.

Kebab balls


Quantity Ingredient
1 quantity Seekh kavaab
a few coriander leaves, (optional)


Quantity Ingredient
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons coriander leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons mint leaves, chopped
1 green chilli, seeded if liked, and finely chopped
1 small tomato, seeded and finely chopped
1 teaspoon vinegar
salt, to taste


  1. Make the kebab mixture as in the original recipe but shape into 2.5 cm balls. Either deep-fry in hot oil for 3–4 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
  2. Drain on paper towels or put on a baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at 200°C 6 for about 20 minutes. Arrange on top of the pulao or put in a separate dish and garnish with coriander leaves.
  3. For the kachamber put all the ingredients in a serving bowl and toss together well. Taste and adjust vinegar and salt if necessary.
  4. To serve the dhaansaak, assemble all the dishes on the table with the family seated around, and allow everyone to help themselves. You may also like to serve some crisp lentil papadums (not the Madras type) and some fruity chutney along side the meal.
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