Varan ~ Maharashtrian Dal

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Maharashtrain Food, Maharashtrian Cuisine, Indian Food, Varan, varan maharashtrian da,  Maharashtrian Dal, Toor Dal,

Varan is Maharashtrian dal. I came across many varan recipes online. There were recipes with onion and tomatoes, some with only onion and some with just tempering with no onion and tomatoes. A plain dal with no onion no tomatoes with simple tempering is also called sadha varan.

I usually make dal with either onion & tomatoes or with only onion. For seasoning I use green chilies or some green chilies and chili powder. No onion, no tomatoes, no green chilies dal is something I do not make at home. Thus, I chose this simple sadha varan. A tiny piece of jaggery is added to varan and since we do not prefer sweet in savory food, I left it out. I made varan as part of the Maharashtrian thali.

Maharashtrian Thali, Maharashtrian Food, Maharashtrian Cuisine, Prawn Koliwada, Varan, Thali, Kosimbir, Egg Rassa, Basundi, Dudhi ki sabzi


  • ⅓ cup Toor Dal
  • 2 cup Water
  • ½ – ¾ tsp. Salt (adjust to salt)
  • 1 tbsp. Oil
  • 3-4 Curry Leaves
  • ¼ tsp. Mustard Seeds
  • ¼ tsp. Cumin Seeds
  • ¼ tsp. Turmeric Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Hing ~ Asafoetida
  • ½ tsp. Chili Powder (adjust to taste)
  • Fresh Coriander Leaves for garnish


  • Wash dal and cook in a pressure cooker with 1 cup of water. In my pressure it takes 7 whistles on high and 5 minutes on low.
  • Let the pressure dissipate naturally.
  • Open the cooker, mash the dal with back of the spoon, add water to desired consistency and bring it to a boil. Add salt and boil for few minutes.
  • In a separate pan heat oil for tempering. When oil is hot, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and let the seeds crackle.
  • Add hing, turmeric and give a good stir.
  • Add chili powder and turn off the heat.
  • Pour tempering over dal, garnish with coriander leaves and stir.
  • Turn of the flame and serve hot with bhaat/rice.

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