Varan bhaat Maharashtrian dal rice recipe
Ganesh chaturthi festival naivedya

This sadha Varan bhaat, Maharashtrian dal rice recipe, is a simple and easy recipe. It is a comfort food. Varan bhaat is a Maharashtrian name for 'dal rice'.

It is a Ganesh chaturthi or any other festival item when this is made as an offering - naivedya to the deity.

Toor dal /arahar dal or pigeon peas are cooked soft, which is known as 'varan' in Marathi. It is commonly made in Maharashtra as well as Karnataka.

It is served in the beginning of a wedding feast as well as any traditional meal too.

You may use pressure cooker for cooking dal for making varan as that really saves time.

You can also cook it on the stove top in a pot/pan if you wish.

Washing and soaking toor dal for 15-20 minutes before cooking reduces cooking time.

This toor dal varan goes well with plain steamed rice or with chapati.

How to cook dal varan using pressure cooker

Ingredients to cook dal for 4 servings:

  • Toor dal - 1/2 cup
  • Water - about 2 cups, depending on the consistency you want.
  • Turmeric powder -1/2 tsp
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp or according to taste
Ingredients for serving
  • Ghee - 1 tsp

Method to cook pigeon peas - arhar dal - toor dal varan

Wash toor dal and soak it for 20-30 minutes.

Add to the pressure cooker directly, along with 2 cups water, if you are cooking only dal . Or you may use a stainless steel separator and cook dal in it along with plain rice in another seperator. I usually use seperators as I cook rice too with dal in a pressure cooker.

Add turmeric powder to the toor dal in the pressure cooker.

Close the pressure cooker and let it cook till 2 whistle.

Switch off and let cool.

When the cooker has cooled, stir the dal mixture, check for consistency.

Add more water if needed.

Add salt and let cook for 2-3 minutes.

Adding tempering / phodni is optional.


  • Heat a teaspoon ful oil/ghee in a small pan.
  • Add 1/4 tsp mustard seeds, 1/4 tsp cumin seeds and a pinch of hing (asafetida).
  • Let the seeds splutter and then take off the flame and add to the hot varan/dal.
  • Cover and keep covered for 4-5 minutes.
Toor dal - Arhar dal - pigeon peas varanToor dal - Arhar dal - pigeon peas varan

For serving varan/dal with plain rice

  1. Take hot rice in a plate. add one or two laddelfuls of varan on the rice.
  2. Put a teaspoonful of ghee over the rice and varan.
  3. Enjoy the heavenly satisfaction.
  4. You may add a few drops of fresh lemon juice over varan - bhaat but it is not a must.

For serving varan/dal with chapati

  1. Take hot varan in a small bowl. Add a teaspoonful of ghee.
  2. Break a chapati piece, dip it in varan and then in your mouth.


Take hot varan/dal in a big bowl. add some ghee and a few drops of lemon juice if you wish.

Break chapati into small pieces and dump them all in the varan bowl.

Enjoy them while they continue soaking in the varan/dal.

Cooking dal on the stove top

If cooking dal on the stove top without using pressure cooker, wash and soak dal for 15-20 minutes before cooking. This will reduce cooking time.

  1. Add 2 cups water to the pan along with soaked dal. Bring to boil. Reduce the flame and cook till just done.This may take 15-20 minutes.
  2. Then add salt, tempering (if adding) as given above.
  3. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Take off fire.

Serve hot with rice, roti etc.


Wash and soak dal.

Add turmeric while cooking dal or later while boiling with salt.

Serve hot dal with hot plain rice and ghee.


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