In this family recipe for a classic Parsi dish, lamb shoulder is slowly tenderized into a rich braise, thickened with pigeon pea dal, and deeply flavored with vibrant green chutney, tangy tomato achaar, and dhansak masala. Use leftover kachumber on fish tacos or grilled pork chops.

Dhansak. Photo: Eva Kolenko
Active Time:
55 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 55 mins
4 to 6



  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • 1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar

  • 2 cups finely chopped cucumber

  • 1 cup finely chopped red onion

  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

Lamb Stew

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 medium-size red onions, finely chopped (about 4 cups)

  • 2 tablespoons Green Chutney

  • 2 tablespoons Brooklyn Delhi tomato achaar

  • 3 tablespoons ketchup

  • 1 tablespoon dhansak masala (such as Badshah)

  • 2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 ¾ cups water

  • 2 cups Dhan Dar prepared through step 3

  • 3 tablespoons hot mango chutney (such as Deep)

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 cup finely chopped red onion

  • 1.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 1 cup uncooked basmati rice (about 6 1/4 ounces), rinsed well

  • 2 cups water


  1. Make the kachumber: Stir together vinegar and sugar in a medium bowl. Add cucumber, red onion, and cilantro; toss to combine. Cover and chill until ready to serve or up to overnight.

  2. Make the lamb stew: Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium. Add onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 20 minutes. Working with 1 ingredient at a time and stirring thoroughly between each addition, add green chutney, tomato achaar, ketchup, and dhansak masala.

  3. Add lamb and salt to onion mixture; stir to coat meat evenly. Add 13/4 cups water, and bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until lamb is almost tender, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens to a gravy consistency and lamb is fork-tender, 30 to 45 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, make the rice: Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add onion; cook, stirring often, until onion is softened and beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add cinnamon and cumin; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in sugar, and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to caramelize on bottom of pan, about 30 seconds. Add rice; stir until evenly combined. Add 2 cups water. Cover pan with a tight-fitting lid, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until water is fully absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes. Turn off heat, and gently stir. Cover pot, and leave it on the hot burner (with the heat off) for 20 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick, if using. Set rice aside until ready to serve.

  5. Add dhan dar to lamb mixture, and stir until the yellow dhan dar is fully incorporated into lamb mixture, creating a uniform milk chocolate color. Stir in mango chutney, vinegar, and sugar. Cook, uncovered and stirring often, over medium-high until mixture has thickened slightly, 5 to 10 minutes. Spoon lamb mixture over rice on plates, and serve with kachumber on the side. 

Make Ahead

Lamb mixture can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in refrigerator.


Find hot mango chutney and dhansak masala at Indian grocery stores or online.

Related Articles