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Bowl of Varan, rice, bhaji, pickle, salad and ghee on side

Varan Bhaat | Varan Recipe

Shweta Arora
Varan Bhaat is a simple and quick Maharashtrian style dal (lentils curry) and rice recipe. This nutritious and comforting meal is a staple in Marathi homes as well as part of many festive and auspicious occasions like Ganesh Chaturthi and Gudi Padwa.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4
Calories 357 kcal



To pressure cook the Varan (dal)

  • 1 cup toor dal tuvar dal, arhar dal, split pigeon dal
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups water

For tempering (tadka) the Varan (dal)

For Rice (Bhaat)

  • 1 cup rice using basmati rice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt adjust to taste
  • 1 teaspoon oil or ghee optional


For Instant pot Method:

  • Rinse the dal rinse with sufficient water 3-4 times until the water runs clear.
  • Transfer the rinsed dal to the main pot of Instant pot along with 3 cups of water, salt, and turmeric. Mix well.
  • Similarly, rinse the rice 3-4 times until the water runs clear. Transfer it to a stainless steel container that fits inside the main pot. Add salt, oil/ghee, and water to it. Mix well.
  • Add a tall trivet inside the main pot which has dal. Place the stainless steel container with rice on it. Cover with stainless steel plate (optional).
  • Close the lid with the vent to sealing. Pressure cook on manual (pressure cook) mode on high for 10 mins followed by a natural release.
  • While the dal is pressure cooking make the tadka.
  • Heat the tadka pot or small pan on medium heat, add ghee to it. Once the ghee is hot add the cumin seeds and hing to it. Mix well.
  • Let it sizzle for 30seconds - 1 min or so and then take it off the heat. Be careful not to burn it.
  • Once the Instant pot pin drops, open the lid, using mits remove the rice container and trivet. Be careful, they will be hot. Keep the rice covered.
  • Start Instant Pot on saute mode. Mash the dal with the back of the spoon until it's nice, smooth, and creamy. Skip this step if you prefer your dal with texture.
  • Add the tadka to the cooked and mashed dal and mix well and adjust the consistency if needed. I added 1 cup more water. Bring it to a boil.
  • Varan Bhat is ready!! Serve hot topped with more ghee squeeze of lemon juice with pickle and batata bhaji on side.

For Pressure Cooker Method

  • Follow the same steps as the Instant pot above but pressure cook for 4-5 whistles on medium heat. This will result in softer rice which pairs well with Varan but if you don't prefer that, cook the rice separately.


Type of dal - Traditionally varan is made from toor dal but you can also use split masoor dal or yellow moong dal or a combination to make varan. Each dal has its own flavor and texture so depending on the dal used, the varan taste will change. Also, cooking times will vary.
Soaking dal and rice - is not required for this recipe. But to fasten the cooking process, soak for 30 mins and cook just for 6 mins. 
Vegan and gluten-free - skip ghee to keep it vegan and asafoetida to keep it gluten-free.
This dal thickens as it sits, so adjusts the consistency by adding water while heating.
To make it one-pot, simply add the tempering directly to the main pot before adding the dal for cooking. I just prefer to add it later for more flavor.
Leftover Varan - can be used as a base for making dal tadka, dal fry, or even sambhar.
Store leftover dal - in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days and in the freezer for 1-2 months


Calories: 357kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 769mg | Potassium: 65mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 6IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 2mg
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