How to Make Maharashtrian Varan Bhat(VBT) in the Instant Pot | Comfort and Soothing Homestyle Meal: वरण-भात-तुप(Instant Pot Varan-Bhat)

How to Make Maharashtrian Varan Bhat in the Instant Pot | वरण-भात-तुप
नमस्कार मंडळी,(Hello Foodies)
              Maharashtrian dish Varan Bhat is a simple, comfortable, and more satiating meal on that I can live forever. A simple yet special meal and has always been close to my heart. Every time I eat Varan Bhat, it makes me feel like I were back home every single time. Isn’t it amazing how food and associated memories can transport us back in time, Nostalgic! It reminds me of childhood days spent with cousins, hearty meals of said VBT(Varan-Bhat-Tup) paired with freshly pickled mango. And Yeah! It is the very identity of Maharashtrians!!!

Why not just freeze and enjoy summertime varan-bhat-sicles? Just kidding;). It is the absolute bliss that enjoyed steaming hot!
          Varan is Turdal/Arhar/Pigeon Peas cooked with turmeric, asafoetida, salt till it is tender enough to be mashed smooth, and tempered with curry leaves, and green chilies. Served over hot steaming rice with ghee, it is the first course in a traditional Maharashtrian meal. While the potato bhaji is optional(but it pairs and tastes superb), as is the mango pickle, peanut-coconut chutney, and the spoonful or maybe 3-4 tbsp of ghee are essential. When Dr.K and I want it to be extra flavorsome and spicy, then I make some Aluvadi Vadi/Kothimbir Vadi to accompany the meal, Sone pe Suhaga, I know!!!

               Varan-Bhat was also the very first dish I cooked in my Instant Pot. I have 3 Instant Pots(Electric Pressure Cookers) and 2 Indian Pressure Cookers(but since bought an Instant Pot, I stopped using my Indian Pressure Cookers) that I use on a regular or can say a daily basis(as we love our varan-bhat and cook it almost every day)!  The 8qt., 6qt., and 3 qt. On occasion, when I need all burners going, I also use a much Indian pressure cooker. I cooked the varan-bhat in my 8qt Instant Pot(electric pressure cooker) and it didn’t blow up in my face! And the result is as they named it Instant or quick meal ready in 6 minutes. I used PIP(Pot In Pot)Method. Every Indian woman who has ever used a pressure cooker using PIP/vessels that stack is the way most Indian home cooks get rice, dal, and veggies done at the same time. Imagine the time you will be saving by this one-pot method with a lot less clean up! 

             This Maharashtrian dal(lentils stew) is a vegan, vegetarian, nut-free, dairy-free, gluten-free recipe and doesn’t require the fancy preparation and lots of spices certain Indian dishes require. And yes, we Maharashtrians are simple people with simple tastes. The food is a vegetarian fare that starts with Shrikhand Puri and ends with Varan Bhat Tup(Clarified Butter/Ghee). Yummy!
              In Marathi, varan stands for lentils curry. Bhat is steamed white rice. Firstly rice and split pigeon/moong dal is cooked in a pressure cooker and then cooked dal tempered with oil cumin and mustard seeds, curry leaves, and green chilies, absolute bliss! I crave this when tired, stressed, missing आईच्या हातच जेवण (माँ के हाथ का खाना/Mother's food), or sick and it always works like a charm! Such a simple meal and how it makes us salivate! 

Preparation Time: 5 Minutes; Cooking Time: 15 Minutes. 
Each Serving of Varan Bhat Contains 220 Cal.

  • 1 Cup Split Pigeon Peas Dal/Split Moong Dal(Lentils) 
  • 1 Tsp Turmeric 
  • 1 Pinch Asafetida 
  • 5 Strips Green chilies, chopped
  • 9-10 Curry leaves
  • 1 TspCumin-Mustard seeds 
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 Tbsp Coriander Leaves, Chopped
  • 2 Tsp Veg.oil/ghee
  • 1 ½ Cup Water + 2 Cups
  • 1 Cup Sona Masoori Rice + 1 ½ Cup Water + Salt to taste

  • Wash split pigeon/moong dal/lentil and add 1 ½ Cups of water and dal to the pot.
  • Add turmeric, asafoetida, salt and few drops of oil(oil optional).
  • Wash rice and add 1 ½ cup of water and salt to the pot.
  • Turn on instant pot and add 2 cups of water into the pot.
  • Place rice and lentils pans with trivet(PIP Method) and close the lid of the instant pot.
  • Place vent on sealing position.
  • Cook on Manual Mode(Hi) for 6 minutes and NPR(Natural Pressure Release)for 10 minutes, then release the remaining pressure manually.
  • Add chopped coriander leaves to the cooked dal and mix well.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan and splutter cumin-mustard seeds, curry leaves, and green chilies.
  • Now, add cooked dal and salt to taste and mix well.
  • Cook for 3-4 minutes or wait for one boil. 
  • Tadaa, healthy, and soothing Varan Bhat is ready to serve. Enjoy!!!
Dietary Comment:
  • The calorie count is based on a 2000 calorie diet.
  • Per serving contains 220 calories, 40.5 g carbohydrates, 4.2 g Dietary Fiber, 2.45 g fats, and 8.1 g protein.
  • Portion size can always be increased or decreased depending on your health goals and activity level.
  • (Please keep in mind that the nutritional information is calculated using a nutrition facts calculator. It is a rough estimate and can vary significantly based on products used).
Health Benefits of Varan-Bhat-Toop/Tup(VBT):
  • VBT is rich in proteins.
  • The nutrient and the dietary fiber content helps to boost metabolism and curbs the unnecessary weight gain
  • It is high in fibers, so good for digestion and this helps to prevent constipation.
  • It is an excellent source of folic acid.
  • It is gluten-free and is suitable for people with allergies.
  • They are a good source of riboflavin and niacin, and vitamin B, which helps boosts energy.
  • The legumes/lentils have anti-inflammatory properties which help in reducing swellings and other inflammatory issues, that is why we consume it when we are sick.
  • The high folate content in the legume helps to prevent Anaemia.
  • It is a good source of Vit.C, an antioxidant that helps to boost immunity.

Good Time To Eat:
           It is good to eat Varan Bhat for lunch, brunch, or dinner.
  • If you make this recipe, share your food picture with hashtag #aaichisavali on Instagram and Facebook so that everyone can enjoy it too! 
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Eat Healthy, Stay Healthy!!!

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