Varan (Maharashtrian Daal)

Varan is a Maharashtrian style no-frills daal that is made in every home in the region and completes every meal. It’s a very comforting dish and is usually served with plain white rice. The classic combination of the two – the Varan (dal) and Bhaat (rice) is usually said together and is considered one word – Varan Bhaat. There is no hard and fast rule that you cannot enjoy this Dhal with Chapatis or parathas. The simplicity of this Dal is what is just so satisfying.

This amazing recipe was given to me by my Mother-in-Law.

Scroll to the bottom for video

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 min
Serves: 4-6


Toor Dal – 1 cup
Water – 3 cups
Ginger – 1 tsp, grated
Methi Seeds (Fenugreek) – 1/4 tsp
Green Chilies – 1 or 2 (to taste), slit lengthwise
Onion – 1/2 medium, finely diced (optional)
Salt – ½ tsp (to taste)
Lemon Juice – ½ tsp (to taste)
Cilantro – 5 sprigs, chopped (for garnishing)

For Vagar (Seasoning):
Oil – 4 tsp
Jeera (Cumin Seeds) – ½ tsp
Haldi (Turmeric) – ¼ tsp
Hing (Asafoetida) – pinch
Curry Leaves – 1 sprig
Garlic – 5 large cloves, roughly smashed
Tomato – 1 medium, diced


1. Wash Toor Dal with water until water runs clear.
2. Add 3 cups of water to the Toor Dal and let it soak for about 15 minutes.
3. In a pressure cooker, add soaked Toor Dal with Water, Ginger, Methi Seeds, Green Chilies, and Onion.
4. Pressure cook for 3-4 whistles.
5. In a separate small pan, heat Oil.
6. Add Jeera and allow it to sputter.
7. Add Haldi, Hing, Curry Leaves and Garlic.
8. When Garlic is slightly brown, add tomatoes, stir and cook for 1 minute.
9. Mix the garlic/tomato seasoning with pressure cooked daal.
10. Add Salt and Lemon Juice to taste.
11. Allow it to boil for 4-5 minutes.
12. Garnish with Cilantro.
13. Serves 4


1. If you don’t have time to let the Toor Dal soak, just let the pressure cooker whistle 3-4 more times.
2. If you like your daal with a thinner consistency, you can add more water at the end before you allow the daal to boil.
3. Don’t overcook the Toor Daal. The texture of the daal should be seen.

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0 thoughts on “Varan (Maharashtrian Daal)

  1. Okay! So this is your 1st video… It is soooo cute, you girls seems so professional now and naive then.
    Oh soooo cute!!!

  2. hehe.. jus saw this older vid of yours and it seems soo funny 😛 . a loyal visitor to ur website and a follower of ur recipes. thanks for making our lives easier thru ur videos 🙂

  3. It is indeed a pleasure to go over yr receipes of various Vegetarian delights.Being a vegetarian I really learned a lot of cooking from yr site.Often wanted to eat few delights which my mother use to cook but use to miss them after her Moksha.

    Thank u both for the good work and both of ur so beautiful and fabulous.
    LOL, may the lord grace U and family with good health and peace.

  4. Hi Hetal & Anuja,

    I was wondering, if this will coincide with the gujarati daal receipe. What is the difference between the two version, I believe most of the ingredients are the same. Please advise.


  5. Hello master chefs,I enjoy your explanation of the recipes and from time to time i cook and check the reaction at the dinner table .TTFN.

  6. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    Thanks for this recipe.
    I love this simple dish and make it when I feel homesick but my version is usually without garlic as I like to taste the actual vegetables.
    For a slightly different flavor you can also try cooking it with these chopped vegetables (along with tomatoes) – cucumber, coyote squash, ridge gourd or dill. It tastes best when only one extra vegetable is added to the above recipe.

    Keep up the good work!

  7. Hi this looks delicious and I want to make it however we do not have an Indian store close by so I bought red lentils. Will these work, are they the same thing? They look the same color. Thank you, Cindy

    1. Hi Cindy,

      The taste and texture will be a little different but it will still work. When you cook red lentil (masoor), the bright orangish color will turn yellow.

  8. Hello Anuja/Hetal,
    This dal was just too good and delicious!. My husband and I relished it with hot chappathis . I think its very creative way of getting proteins into your body. I am very inspired by your ideas and of course amazing receipes!

  9. Thanks for your feedback. We agree with you. The latest research shows that using non-stick cookware on high heat for extended periods of time creates harmful fumes. Using it for short periods at under 400 degrees Fahrenheit is generally considered safe. We recommend that our viewers use their own judgment.

  10. I liked all your recipes. However, when Hetal says that non-stick is much healthier to use is not a right statement to make. Non-stick actually results in leaching out a lot of chemicals which may interfere with our physiological functions. Still, keep up the good work !

  11. Both me and hubby have always enjoyed Arhaar or Toor Dal, but I would cook it the punjabi way…yesterday I cooked Varan and we absolutely loved it…Thanks for the easy and very sumptuous recipe.

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