Chicken Tikka Dhansak

If I told you a curry with lentils and pineapple in would taste amazing then you would be skeptical. I was, until I tried this Dhansak.

It’s been one of the most requested recipes I’ve received over the last few months so I had to give it a go.

I’ve had many Dhansak’s before and one thing I’ve noticed is that the sweet and sourness of the dish varies from chef-to-chef. Some chefs will use tamarind extract to achieve a real sour taste but for me, it doesn’t need it. Lime juice and pineapple juice from the can of pineapple that is used is more than enough for me.

I’ve noticed that sometimes chefs may omit lentils from the dish. Again, this is personal preference but I feel this adds more depth to the flavours and leaves a nice texture.

Give this one a try and let me know what you think. I must say I was really impressed with it considering it takes under 30 minutes to cook.

Key Points

  • If you don’t want to use tikka, you can replace this with plain cooked chicken. If you need a super simple Chicken Tikka marinade, check out our webstore.
  • Don’t worry if you feel your lentils have turned to mush after cooking – that’s how we want them!
  • You can omit lentils if you like but would recommend including them for more flavours and a better consistency.
  • Please give the pineapple pieces and juices a go – it’s what makes a Dhansak.
  • These 4 portions may seem small but they are very filling when the lentils are included.
  • When adding the chicken stock, it’s important you leave the curry to soak up some of the stock before adding more. The lentils and onions will absorb this.

Chicken Tikka Dhansak

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Servings 4


  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp ginger and garlic paste frozen Taj brand cubes are the best, defrosted in the microwave for 30 seconds
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 0.5 tsp paprika powder
  • 0.75 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp kasuri methi dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp brown sugar caster sugar is a suitable substitute
  • 10 tbsp tomato concentrate mix 2 tbsp tomato puree: 8 tbsp water
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 500 ml chicken stock
  • 500 g pre cooked chicken tikka
  • 160 g pre cooked red split lentils
  • 1 small tin ringed pineapple keep the juice for the ingredient below
  • 1 small tin pineapple juice
  • 2 tsp lime juice lemon juice is a suitable substitute
  • Bunch fresh coriander optional garnish



  • Pre-cook your marinated chicken tikka. I suggest using 0.75 breast / 1.5 thighs per portion. Use the Matt Cooper Bites Tikka Spice Blend for best results.
  • Pre-cook your lentils by adding 160g of lentils to 320ml of water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 8 minutes, then drain.

Cooking the Dhansak

  • Add your vegetable oil to the pan on a high heat for 1 minute and then add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add the garlic and ginger paste and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add salt, coriander powder, cumin powder, chilli powder, turmeric powder and paprika powder and cook for 30 seconds. Feel free to add 50ml of the chicken stock to ensure the spices don’t burn.
  • Add the tomato concentrate mix and turn the heat up high. Cook for 2-3 minutes and keep stirring frequently.
  • Add 200ml of the chicken stock and cook on a high heat for 3-4 minutes.
  • Repeat previous with another 200ml of chicken stock and cook until the curry has absorbed most of the stock and isn't watery
  • Add the cooked lentils, pre cooked chicken tikka, pineapple pieces, mango chutney, sugar, pineapple juice and lime juice. Turn to a medium heat and cook for 5-6 minutes.
  • Garnish with kasuri methi, garam masala, freshly chopped coriander and then serve.

2 thoughts on “Chicken Tikka Dhansak

  1. Owen says:

    Hi, I’ve bought your spice mixes and want to try this recipe. Im out in Kazakhstan though, and we can’t get small tins of pineapple the same as in the UK. Would you perhaps have a more specific measurement for the amount of chunks and liquid to use? Thanks v much.

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