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19 Sep, 2019

Thali Menu #141-Uttar Pradesh-Banaras

About Banaras, Uttar Pradesh

Banaras, also known as Benaras, Varanasi, Kashi is a city on the banks of the river Ganga in Uttar Pradesh, India. It is considered to be the amongst the longest inhabited city in human history dating back to c.800 BCE.

A major religious hub in India, it is the holiest of the seven sacred cities (Sapta Puri) in Hinduism and Jainism, and played an important role in the development of Buddhism and Ravidassia. Several other major figures of the Bhakti movement were born in Varanasi, including Kabir and Ravidas. Guru Nanak visited Varanasi for Maha Shivaratri in 1507, a trip that played a large role in the founding of Sikhism.

Historically, Varanasi has been a centre for education in India, attracting students and scholars from across the country.

The city of Varanasi grew as an important industrial centre, famous for its muslin and silk fabrics, perfumes, ivory works, and sculpture.

To this day, it is reknowned for its Banarsi Silk Sarges that is a pride of many a trousseau of Indian brides.

In the present political scenario, it is a parliamentary seat contested and won by the current   Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi.

The Cuisine

The city has it own unique food culture – famous for its streetfood eateries that feeds millions of piligrims, its rich culinary style of ‘Benarasi Dum’ cooking, and also ‘satvik food’ – which is diet based on foods in ayurvedic and yogic literature.

This weekend at Daana, we present some unique dishes that are range from simple to exotic to addictive, and you will need to be here to find out which one is which!

Recipe of the Week

Fodniche Varan

Maharashtrian style tempered dal
Course: Lentils
Cuisine: Maharashtrian
Keyword: Comfort food


For pressure cooking:

  • ½ cup Toor dal or split pigeon peas
  • 1 ½ cups Water
  • ¼ teaspoon Turmeric powder

For varan:

  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Jaggery

For tempering:

  • 2 teaspoon Ghee
  • ½ teaspoon Cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • a pinch Asafoetida


Pressure cooking the Dal

  • Wash Toor dal under running cold water till water runs clear.
  • Soak the dal in enough water for at least 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, discard soaking water.
  • Add dal to the pressure cooker with 1 ½ cups of water and turmeric powder.
  • Close the lid, put the weight on and cook it on medium heat for 3-4 whistles, open the lid once the pressure is released.
  • Mash or hand blend the dal till smooth.

Making Varan

  • Add salt and jaggery to the dal. The dal needs to be thin consistency but not too watery, add water to get the desired consistency.
  • Turn the heat to medium and bring the dal to a simmer.
  • Let it simmer for 4-5 minutes.

Making the tempering

  • Heat the ghee or oil in a small frying pan.
  • Once hot add cumin seeds and let them sizzle.
  • As seeds sizzle, turn off the stove, wait for a few seconds.
  • Then add red chilli powder and asafoetida.
  • Immediately add the tempering to the dal. Stir well.
  • Serve hot with steamed rice.