Varan Bhaat recipe for Ganesh Chaturthi. It is an important dish that is made during Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Maharashtra and Goa.
Varan bhaat would read as lentil-rice where varan stands for “lentil curry or stew or dal” and bhaat means “steamed rice”.
There are many variations of making varan bhaat. This recipe is a Maharashtrian recipe of making dal varan which was shared by my friend. In this recipe post I have shown both the method of making varan as well as cooking rice.
I have also shared a Goan style varan bhaat recipe at the end of this post in which coconut is added. So you can take your pick.
While making varan bhaat, I usually cook the dal in a pressure cooker and rice in a pot. But you can use the pot-in-pot method of cooking both dal and rice together. Nowadays I use the Instant pot and cook both the varan and the rice using the pot-in-pot method.
Varan bhaat is served as naivedyam or bhog to Bhagwan Ganesha along with vegetable dishes like sautéed potatoes (batata bhaji) or sautéed green beans (beans bhaji) or snacks like alu vadi, potato fritters (batata bhajji) and sweets like Puran Poli, Patholi, Coconut Ladoo. Not to forget Modak that is Bhagwan Ganesha’s most favorite food.
This recipe is very simple and easy to make and is a tempered version of varan. For the festival, skip onion and garlic and if preparing on regular days, then you can add garlic in the tempering.
Varan goes best with steamed rice topped with some ghee (clarified butter).
How to make varan bhaat
Making varan (dal)
1. Rinse ½ cup arhar dal (tuvar dal or pigeon pea lentils) in the water a couple of times. Add the lentils in a 2 litre pressure cooker.
2. Add ¾ cup chopped tomatoes and ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder.
3. Add 2 cups of water.
4. Season with salt as per taste.
5. Pressure cook dal for 7 to 8 whistles on medium to high flame.
6. When the pressure settles down on its own, open the lid.
7. Mash the dal with a wired whisk or wooden spoon. Add water as required only if the dal looks thick. If adding water, then keep to simmer on low flame till you get the desired consistency, which is neither thick nor thin. Switch off and keep covered.
Tempering for varan recipe
8. Heat 2 tablespoons oil or ghee in a small pan.
9. Add ½ teaspoon mustard seeds first and let them crackle.
10. Then add ½ teaspoon cumin seeds and let them splutter.
11. Add the asafoetida, curry leaves, and green chilies. Fry for a couple of seconds till curry leaves become crisp and then switch off the flame.
12. Pour the whole tempering in the dal.
13. Cover and let the tempering flavors infuse with the dal for about 5 to 6 minutes.
14. Later mix the dal.
15. Add 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves. Mix and then serve with bhaat or steamed rice.
For cooking bhaat (rice)
16. Before you begin with making varan, rinse and soak 1 cup rice in enough water for 20 to 30 minutes.
17. After 20 to 30 minutes, heat 2 cups water + ½ teaspoon salt in a deep pot or pan. Let the water come to a boil. Salt is optional and can be skipped. Depending on the quality of rice, you can add 2 cups water or 2.5 cups water.
18. After the water has come to a boil, lower the flame. Drain all the water from the rice and add to the hot water.
19. Cover pot with a lid and simmer rice on a low to medium-low flame till all the water is absorbed and the rice grains are cooked well and fluffy.
20. In between do check a couple of times. If you feel the water is less and the rice grains are not cooked, then you can add some more water. Then gently mix with a fork. Cover and continue to cook.
21. Once the rice grains are tender and cooked well, fluff rice with a fork.
22. Serve hot steamed rice with dal varan. You can top a bit of ghee on varan while serving.
Few more tasty Lentil recipes for you!
Note: This Varan Bhaat Recipe is from the archives (September 2013) and has been republished and updated on 23rd July 2020.
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Varan Bhaat (Maharashtrian Varan Bhaat Recipe)
ingredients for varan recipe
- ½ cup arhar dal (tur dal or pigeon pea lentils)
- 2 cups water for pressure cooking the lentils
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped or ¾ cup chopped tomatoes
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
- salt as required
for tempering varan
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
- 1 pinch asafeotida (hing)
- 1 or 2 green chilies, slit (hari mirch)
- 8 to 10 curry leaves (kadi patta)
- 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves for garnish
- 2 tablespoons Ghee or 2 tablespoons oil
for the bhaat or steamed rice
- 1 cup rice
- 2 cups water for pressure cooking
- ½ teaspoon salt or add as required (optional)
for making varan recipe
- Rinse the lentils well in water for a couple of times. Then add them in a 2 litre pressure cooker along with chopped tomatoes and turmeric powder.
- Pressure cook the lentils with tomatoes and turmeric powder for 7 to 8 whistles on medium flame.
- When the pressure settles down on its own, open the lid and mash the dal with a wired whisk or wooden spoon. Cover and keep aside.
- If the dal looks thick, then you can add water as required.
- If adding water, then keep to simmer on low flame till you get the desired consistency, which is neither thick nor thin.
- Switch off flame and keep covered.
- Heat oil or ghee in a pan.
- Add the mustard seeds first and let them crackle.
- Then add the cumin and crackle them.
- Add the asafoetida, curry leaves and green chilies.
- Fry for a few seconds till the curry leaves become crisp.
- Pour the whole tempering in the dal.
- Cover and let the tempering flavors infuse with the dal for about 5 to 6 minutes.
- Garnish varan bhaat with coriander leaves or stir in the coriander leaves.
- Serve varan bhaat hot with steamed rice.
for making bhaat or steamed rice
- Rinse the rice till the water clears from the starch.
- Soak the rice for 20 to 30 minutes.
- After 20 to 30 minutes, heat 2 cups water + ½ teaspoon salt in a deep pot or pan. Let the water come to a boil. Salt is optional and can be skipped.
- After the water has come to a boil, lower the flame. Drain all the water from the rice and add to the hot water.
- Cover pot with a lid and simmer rice on a low to medium-low flame till all the water is absorbed and the rice grains are cooked well and fluffy.
- In between do check a couple of times. If you feel the water is less and the rice grains are not cooked, then you can add some more water. Then gently mix with a fork. Cover and continue to cook.
- Once the rice grains are tender and cooked well, fluff rice with a fork.
- Serve hot steamed rice with dal varan. You can top a bit of ghee on varan while serving.
- You can also add 1 or 2 tablespoons fresh grated coconut toward the end in this varan recipe.
- If you want you can add some goda masala also in the dal.
- 2 to 3 slightly crushed garlic cloves can be added if making varan for regular days. While tempering, add the garlic along with the curry leaves and green chilies. Fry till garlic turns light golden and then add the tempering in the dal varan.
- Pressure cook the rice with 2 cups water for 2 to 3 whistles.
- For separate grains just add 1.5 cups water and pressure cook for 1 to 2 whistles.
- For a more softer texture add 2.5 cups water and pressure cook for 2 to 3 whistles.
Nutrition Info (Approximate values)
Goan Style Varan Bhaat with Coconut
This Goan varan bhaat is an important dish that is made during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in the regions of Goa and Konkan. This is a vegan recipe.
This recipe is different from the Maharashtrian Varan recipe posted above and has fresh coconut added in it with minimal spices.
I make this varan bhaat with coconut often and in fact it is one of our comfort food.
The varan bhaat is served in the Naivedyam or bhog we offer to Lord Ganesha along with the other veggies dishes & sweets. This is satvik dal with no onion and garlic added to it.
You can have the varan with some steamed rice or even roti. You can add a bit if ghee on top of the varan while serving. This is one delicious recipe and you must try it.
Wishing all my readers who celebrate a happy Ganesh Chaturthi.
Goan Varan Bhaat with Coconut
- ½ cup moong dal (split and skinned mung lentil)
- ½ cup arhar dal (spilt and skinned pigeon pea lentils)
- 2 to 2.5 cups water for pressure cooking
- add 1 or 1.5 cup more water later (optional)
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 5 to 6 curry leaves - optional
- 1 teaspoon crushed cumin or cumin powder
- a pinch of asafoetida (hing)
- 1 cup fresh grated coconut - ground with little water
- salt as required
- Pick, rinse the lentils couple of times in water.
- Pressure cook the lentils till they are soft.
- Mash them with a spoon or ladle. Keep aside.
- Grind the coconut with little water to a smooth paste.
- Add coconut paste to the cooked lentils and mix well.
- Then add cumin powder, turmeric powder & curry leaves and salt. mix again.
- Add water to thin the dal if required.
- Keep the dal on the stove and let it simmer for 10-12 minutes.
- Serve Varan Bhaat with steamed rice and some ghee.
- Instead of combination of moong or arhar dal, you can also add 1 cup of arhar or moong dal instead.
- You can also grind the coconut with cumin seeds and then add to the dal.