Dhansak is a delicious and popular Indian hot, sweet and sour dish, especially popular among the Parsi Zoroastrian community. It combines hearty comfort elements of traditional Persian and Gujarati cuisine with different lentils, freshly ground spices that makes it fabulously fragrant traditionally served with a pulao.
In Parsi homes, dhansak is traditionally made on Sundays with lentils, pineapple chunks, vegetables, chicken or lamb, spices, cumin seeds, ginger, and garlic together with meat and either gourd or pumpkin owing to the long preparation time with a fruity sweetness absorbed by the lentils.
From ancient Persia rice according to an old tradition. Persian gastronomy has ancient origins. As early as the ninth century BC, the ancient Nimrud, we hear of a king's feast Ashurnasirpal II for 47,074 guests and lasted ten days with a menu that included animals of all kinds including gazelles, rivers of beer and wine and food still now used on the table Iranian bread, onions, garlic, lots of fresh herbs, dried and fresh fruit, including grapes and pomegranates in abundance.
With the reign of Darius (522-486 BC) agriculture takes big boost thanks to the sophisticated system of underground irrigation (qanats) that allowed him to bring water from the mountains to the dry plains. At that time, Persia was one of the largest empires that traded with the lands of the new achievements seeds, fruit plants and animals and traded with all other kingdoms that he could not conquer, in particular China, in which he introduced screws and Persian horses.
Then the Parsi merchants and Sasanian you brought pomegranates, walnuts, pistachios, cucumbers, peas, basil, cilantro and black-eyed beans and it received in exchange for peaches, apricots, rhubarb and tea then, by the Persians, came up to greek world and the Roman Empire.
And it is the Greek authors especially Herodotus that speak of refined gastronomy and the Persian particular penchant for sweets this people. They eat many sweets, not all served at the same time to say that this the Greeks are at the table when they rise again with hunger, because after the real meal, you do not need anything that is truly worthy of the honor, ie sweets.
Indeed, even now the pastry which owes its sophistication to the dynasty Qajar of the nineteenth century holds an important place on the table Persian. It is sweet with a delicate taste, but very sugary and preparation relatively simple, often perfumed with rose water and flavored with fresh fruit and nuts especially almonds and pistachios.
Persians made extensive use of alcoholic beverages such as beer, but especially grape wine or even of palms depending on the climate in different regions, while today, due to the dictates of Islam, the main drink is tea, but also the dough lightly salted drink made of yogurt and similar the Indian lassi, but is also widespread coffee, often flavored with spices especially cardamom and cinnamon.
Even today, the Persian-Iranian cuisine is decidedly traditional, and is characterized by loyalty and respect for custom and tradition, to This recipe may vary in each family, a little as in and there is a regional differentiation which in the northern regions influenced by Turkish and Armenian, while those in the north-east influenced by Indian and spicy (but not too much) is characteristic of the south.
Who wants to try the Persian food should know that it is delicately spiced, but not too much, which is characterized by red meat and white, except for the pork, sometimes the fish including even the famous Iranian caviar, but also with vegetarian options. This kitchen has the advantage of being lightweight because the main ingredient is rice (today almost all imported), steam cooked and processed in such a way as to lose the most starch and make it easier to digest.
Accompany with rice dishes marinated meats and then cooked on the grill, as well as kebabs, but also sauces and stewed vegetables and legumes in addition, towards the end of cooking, meat or fish, so that it can be easy to get even vegetarian dishes. Sometimes they can be served first the Mazeh or snacks consisting of omelettes and sauces in which it is dipped bread. Typically an Iranian meal consists of several courses, but all dishes are served together and diners use them according to their own preferences and the desired order. Sweets and fruits are served together at the end.
A traditional lunch is served on a sofreh, a tablecloth of cotton lying on the ground over various overlapping carpets; main dishes are surrounded by bread, rice and various sauces and salad bowls with fresh vegetables. The guests gathered in a circle, squatting on rugs, cutlery fork and spoon is used especially for use on your plate from the tray municipality, to the extent that each is right for himself and the food is brought to the mouth with the bread naan, similar to the Indian, except for the soups for which, of course, is used the spoon.
The knife is not needed, because the dishes are prepared with vegetables and meat cut into small pieces, as well as fruit. Today, almost always, families sit around a table and use the cutlery as in the West. If you have never tried this rice so special you have to do this: not because the rice is exceptionally good - yes, it is but to experience the thrill of with other diners the best part of the dish, the tahdig, ie the bottom of crispy rice and charred at the base of the pot.
Prep Time: 30 mins ♥ Cook Time: 50 mins ♥ Total Time: 1 hrs 20 mins ♥ Yield: 4 servings
Nutrition facts per serving: 180 calories, 4.6 grams fat
1 cup green peas
3 tbsp oil
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp ginger paste
2 green chillies
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp coriander seed
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup red lentils
1 tbsp tamarind powder
5 cups water
1 tsp coriander leaves
1 tbsp dried coconut
2 tsp mango chutney
Salt to taste
In a saucepan, pour in the lentils, 2 cups water, tamarind powder and the sliced onions. Cover and boil for 30 minutes over medium heat.
Boil the squash pieces in the other half of the water for 10 minutes. Throw the coriander with the squash. Drain the water away, and mash the squash and coriander.
When the lentils are soft, mash them a bit. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the squash and coriander mixture. Add the salt, turmeric, cumin, coriander garlic, green chilli and ginger. Stir thoroughly and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the vegetables, coconut, tomato puree and the chutney and stir well. Allow to simmer together for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
Serve with rice or naan.
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