Of all the different styles of cooking dal, Varn is my favorite. As coconut is a staple part of the Konkani diet, we end up adding it to our dal too :) This is one of the most simple dishes to cook and for me its my comfort food.

In Mangalore, Varn is only made during mourning occasions but we have no such rules in North Karnataka where I come from.

This is the perfect comfort food for me and eating Varn with a spoonful of warm ghee and rice with some pickle makes my day. I am sure you will like it too. Very hard to go wrong with this recipe.

Here is my mom's Varn Recipe.

Varn (Konkani Dal with Coconut)

Toor dal  - 1 Cup
Coconut - 2 tbsp 
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Green Chilly - 1
Turmeric - a pinch
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry Leaves - a sprig for seasoning


  1. Pressure cook Toor dal with turmeric and 2.5 cups water for 2 whistles. Remove from the gas and keep aside
  2. Heat 1 tsp oil in a small pan. When hot, add Cumin seeds and chillies. When the cumin starts popping, remove it from heat and grind it with coconut  and little water to make a coarse paste.
  3. Add the paste to the cooked dal (mash the dal if needed) and bring it to boil. Adjust the salt and turn of the heat.
  4. Heat 1 tsp oil in a seasoning pan and when oil is hot, add mustard seeds and when they splutter, add curry leaves and let it splutter.
  5. Add this to the dal and cover with a lid so that the aroma from the seasoning is absorbed well.
  6. Serve hot with rice and add a dollop of ghee for extra flavor and richness.

Was seeing a show on Food Food channel the other day and came across this recipe by Harpal Singh Sokhi. Was intrigued because he mixed Indian spices in a Chinese dish. Had to try it and have to say it turned out to be perfect for the Indian palate.
I like the flavor and crunchiness the till seeds gives to this dish. Kids love to eat the crispy fried chicken before adding it to the gravy and hence remember to reserve some for them.

Here is my recipe for this dish.

Sesame Chicken - Desi style

  1. Chicken breasts - 500 gms
  2. Onions (medium) -2 , cubed
  3. Red Capsicum -1/2 piece, cubed
  4. Yellow Capsicum - 1/2 piece, cubed
  5. Sesame seeds - 4 tsp
  6. Ginger  - 1 inch piece, finely chopped
  7. Garlic - 5-7 cloves, finely chopped
  8. Green chillies -2 , finely chopped
  9. 2 tsp chicken masala - I used Kitchen King masala; you can use 1 tsp of garam masala instead
  10. 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  11. 2 tsp soya sauce
  12. 2 tsp red chilli sauce
  13. 1 egg - white separated 
  14. 2 tsp corn flour
  15. Spring Onion for garnishing


  1. Cut chicken breasts into long thin slices. Marinate with salt, ginger garlic paste, chicken masala, soya sauce, red chilli sauce for 15-30 mins.
  2. Now add egg white and cornflour to this mixture and deep fry it in hot oil till crispy brown. Drain the chicken and keep aside.
  3. Now in a pan, take 2 tsp oil. When the oil is hot, add 2 tsp sesame seeds (till) and roast it till slightly brown. Take care not to burn it.
  4. Add finely chopped ginger garlic and green chillies and saute for a minute
  5. Add onions and red and yellow capsicum  cut into cubes and saute for 2-3 mins
  6. Add 1 tsp of red chilli sauce and soya sauce each and mix well.
  7. Add 1 tsp of chicken masala or 1/2 tsp of garam masala and saute
  8. Adjust the salt and saute it till the capsicums are cooked. You can add a bit of sugar here in case you prefer the dish to be a bit sweet.
  9. Add the fried chicken to it and mix well
  10. Garnish with spring onion and roasted sesame seeds 
 In case you want it to be of gravy consistency, you can add some water after adding garam masala and cook it. This dish goes very with fried rice.

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