Tuesday, March 29, 2011


After a lot of requests for typical Maharashtrian Daals and Amtis, I thought I should start from the basics.
Moreover if I don't include "Varan" in the Soul Food tab, the whole concept of "Soul Food" gets challenged..:)

Varan is a real basic maharashtrian style daal. It is always a part of a traditional maharashtrian thali. Any offering given to God, has to have Varan in it's menu. It is also a regular in traditional maharashtrian style weddings. (Lagnachi pangat).

The most authentic way to eat this Varan is "Varan-Bhaat-Tuup-Limbu". Which translates to "Varan-rice-clarified butter(ghee)-lime".
So you take some hot fresh rice on your plate. Laddle in some Varan. Add about a teaspoon (or more if you dare) of ghee and squeeze a little lime. Mix it all together and gobble away.
The most important step to remember is to eat this while it is hot!

Level: Easy
Serves: 4 - 6 people

1 cup tur daal
3 pinch asafoetida (hing)
3/4 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1 large marble sized jaggery (or to taste)
Water as required

Step 1 - In a pressure cooker safe bowl, add the tur dal and wash well till the water runs clear.

Step 2 - Add 2 cups of water to the bowl, the asafoetida, turmeric powder and 3/4th tsp of salt. Pressure cook for 3 whistles or for as much time your pressure pan takes to cook lentils. You want to overcook the lentils here. They should all just mash and blend in together.

Step 3 - Once the pressure is all released, take out the bowl carefully from the pressure pan and mash the daal to a smooth puree like consistency. You could use a masher or a whisk here. The lentils being over cooked don't take long to break down.

Step 4 - Pour this puree into a larger pot and start heating it again. Add water till it reaches the consistency you desire. Generally Varan is supposed to have a thicker consistency. But you can add water based on your personal preferences. Add the jaggery and adjust salt. Boil for just 5 more mins.

Serve hot with some rice, tuup and limes.


Varan is supposed to have a thicker consistency than the other maharashtrian daals you will come across.

When you are pressure cooking the tur daal in the pressure cooker/pan, make sure you cover the bowl. You don't want the daal to boil over and mess up the entire pressure pan.

Some families like to have a bit of tur daal in the varan and do not enjoy it completely pureed. In this case do not overcook the lentils and just slightly mix them together once they cook.

Rack your brains:
In India split pigeon peas (tur daal/toor daal) is one of  the most popular pulses.
They are an important source of protein in a mostly vegetarian diet.

Along with high levels of proteins, they also contain the important amino acids methionine, lysine and tryptophan.


  1. real comfort food! sadha varan and bhat with mango pickle :))

  2. yea...how about with some lasanachi chutney....sluurrpp! :)