V aranfal or Varanphal is a traditional Maharashtrian dish. The dish derives its etymology from simple Marathi terms ‘varan’ (which means dal) and ‘phal’ (that stands for wheat dumplings). Very similar to the popular Gujarati dish Dal Dhokli, Varanfal has its roots in the reign of the great soldier Prithviraj Chauhan.
Legend goes that Chauhan prepared this dish for queen Samyogita after she pined for something nutritious yet filling. The dish gained traction over the years and spread to other parts of Maharashtra, with each region adding an extra twist to it with local spices and ingredients.
Prepared with boiled toor lentils and wheat dumplings dunked in ghee (clarified butter), Varanfal comprises authentic Konkani spices like kokum, goda masala and other Indian spices. Spicy in taste, Varanfal is a beloved alternative to the hackneyed dal and rice combination that many consume during meals in the West Indian region.
Much akin to Bengal’s Papad-er Torkari (a curried dish made from papad), the Varanfal is spiced up with asafoetida, mustard seeds and sometimes curry leaves. The generous use of ghee in the dish is crucial as it not only makes the dish consistently dense, but is also an apt ingredient for the chilly, winter months. Ghee is known to spike internal body temperatures.
Other spices like garam masala, red chillies, and ingredients like coconut and ground cumin seeds are also added to the dish along with a pinch of salt (as per taste).