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.
Few tips and suggestions for varan:
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.
For pressure cooking rice:
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.
Note that the approximate nutrition info is for 1 serving of varan with steamed rice.