Comfort in a bowl – Varan

Indira seemed both interested and amused when I showed her this blog a few days ago. Both the sisters now look forward to watching me take pictures of the food these days, and eagerly wait to see them on the computer.

Even so, this evening I was pleasurably surprised when she told me, watching me serve her varan to her, “will you please put this recipe on your blog too, since I really love this daal?”.

It’s true, she does, as does her father.

Varan is a Maharashtrian way of cooking arhar daal, and I learnt to make it from my mother-in-law.

Both the girls have pretty much grown up on the stuff and it continues to be their favorite food in the whole world. Just like when they were babies, even now when all else fails to appeal they never say no to a bowl of this daal.

One of the things I have come to appreciate about this staple food of our home is that its gentle flavor complements the spice-rich taste of many everyday subzis.

It really does have the most soothing,satisfying taste, and I LOVE how simple it is to make.

Varan

1 cup (200 ml measure) of arhar dal, soaked for 1-2 hours

A tbsp of ghee

a pinch of asofetida

1/2 a tsp of turmeric powder

1/2 tsp of cumin seeds (optional)

1 tbsp of crushed jaggery

Pressure cook the daal in 3 cups of water, after adding salt to taste. When the daal is well-cooked (the grains should be fairly well blended), stir in the asofetida,ghee,turmeric and jaggery, and boil the daal for 7-8 minutes till everything is well mixed.

If you want to flavor the daal with cumin seeds, then add only the jaggery and the turmeric directly to the daal.

Now heat the ghee in a small pan, add the asofetida and cumin seeds to the ghee, then pour everything over the daal before boiling it for 7-8 minutes.

Serve the varan over plain rice, or drink it straight from your katora like soup, as we do sometimes 🙂

I’ll post the picture tomorrow; I think I’ll let the girls click this one.

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