Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Archana's Ale Limbacha Varan

Archana is a new friend yet a very caring one. I met her a year ago at work, we worked together for a quarter and then she went off on maternity leave. When she came back both of us were quite happy to be back together working on our shared assignments. When I was in Mumbai she called me numerous times to check on my health. Many times at work we share our food. She is Punekar and me Mumbaikar so we have many common favorites.

It is difficult to find a Maharashtrian adult who does not like varan. Actually Varan goes thru many phase in a Maharashtrian's life, as a baby you are fed varan-bhat every single day right into toddlerhood. Then you start hating it till you are a full grown adult and then the craving for it sets in all over again. She tells me when she craves for soul food this is the type of varan she makes. It is the kind that makes one want to sit quietly mix it with your fingers meditatively and lap it up.Once she got it in the lunch box and I got to taste it, I had to make it at home.

This is Archana's recipe, a very fragrant mildly spicy from the ginger and a dash of citrusy freshness from the lime. Thus the name Ale/ Ginger and limba/ lime varan. Don't go by the picture. All types of varan look the same but some win your heart like this one. It's so easy and satisfying. You must make it, believe me it's very good.


1 cup cooked Tur dal / split pigeon peas
1/ 2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 green chili finely chopped.
few curry leaves
1 teaspoon ghee
1 inch fresh ginger 
1/2 lime
salt to taste
sugar to taste

Heat Ghee till it melts. Splutter mustard seeds. Follow in with the chopped green chili and curry leaves. Add the turmeric powder. Transfer the cooked tur dal. Add water to make a varan of the consistency you enjoy. Boil it vigorously with salt and sugar. Now just before you remove it from the stove. Crush the ginger to a fine paste, add a tablespoon of water to it and strain it thru a sieve directly into the boiling dal. Squeeze out the juice. Now squeeze the lime juice into the dal. Put off the heat and stir well.

Serve hot over steamed rice with a generous spoon of ghee if you like it and are permitted to have it. Enjoy the freshness of ginger and lime.


  1. can we use any other dal like masoor or mung? varan looks really tempting and you caught me with the lime.

  2. Perfect!! Am so jealous - stuck with a cold dinner tonight!!

  3. very comforting one..looks nice

  4. Sayantani Mung is better as it is blander than masoor but I guess both should taste great with ginger and lime. I make whole masoor with lot of ginger and it taste fab.

  5. I will love this for sure, so will Sumedh me thinks...:)

  6. Hey Vinaya!

    Oh so you name him Sumedh! Squeezes for him. Yeah ghatta varan kar tyacha karta. He'll love it then :). Tula kasa avadhta, ghatta ki patal?

  7. That looks really delicious...Yummy...I would love to try this..


  8. Super delicious,looks soo tempting..

  9. Just made this dal; loved it! Thankyou for sharing the recipe.

    1. I am sure Archana, who shared this is reading too. Will let her know. Keep writing in Shri.


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