Waran and thicut waran recipes (spinach dahl)

By | March 11, 2017

You get two recipes today! The first one — full disclosure — I don’t actually like that much, but it was the staplest staple of my family’s diet when I was a kid. It’s a good protein source, I think. More importantly, you need the first dish to make the second dish that is so delicious you’ll startle yourself when you try it for the first time. We call it waran and thicut waran. Other people call it dahl and spinach dahl

First Dish – plain waran


  • 1 cup of pigeon peas
  • 1/4 tsp of turmeric
  • salt to taste


1. Soak the pigeon peas in water for 2-4 hours. This lessens the cooking time considerably.


dry pigeon peas


pigeon peas after soaking for a couple of hours

2. Add three cups of water and the turmeric and cook on the stove in a pot for another hour.

3. Alternatively, you can just cook it in a pressure cooker and skip step one. The pressure cooker is an enchanted vessel that will cook the pigeon peas in a mere 20 minutes.


cooked pigeon peas

4. Add some salt to taste. Skip this step if you’re making the second dish. Don’t oversalt.

5. Mix the cooked pigeon peas well. Mom uses this medieval looking device. It’s called a mixer thing. You put the handle between the palms of your hands and rub your hands back and forth.


mixing cooked pigeon peas


Mixer thing

6. Eat with rice and whatever other bhaji (cooked vegetable) you’ve made.

Second dish – spinach waran


  • The waran from the first recipe
  • One bunch of spinach
  • One medium-sized onion
  • One medium-sized tomato
  • A few garlic cloves


  • 1/2 tsp each of
    • cumin seeds
    • mustard seeds
    • garam masala
    • cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp of turmeric
  • 8-10 pieces of cocum (or kokum)
  • salt to taste (we put in one tablespoon)
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar



1. Dice the onions, garlic and tomatoes.

2. Pour some oil in a large pot on stove over medium heat.

3. Add in the cumin and mustard seeds.

4. Let cook until the mustard seeds start making a popping noise.

5. Add in the diced onions and garlic.

6. Let cook until the onions are translucent.

7. Add in the diced tomatoes.


cooked onions and tomatoes and garlic

8. Let cook for a few minutes.

9. Add the turmeric, garam masala and cayenne pepper.

10. Chop the spinach and then wash it. It’s easier to wash after it’s chopped.

11. Add the spinach to your large pot.


spinach added

12. Let the spinach cook for a few minutes.

13. Wash the cocum. I know, I thought this was kind of a weird step too.

14. Add in the washed cocum, the brown sugar, salt, one to two cups of water (depending on how thick you like it) and the cooked pigeon peas.


cooked pigeon peas and water added

15. Let cook for 10-15 minutes.


cooked thicut waran

16. Eat with rice.

17. Startle yourself with the deliciousness.

Acceptable deviations

  1. You can use tamarind if you don’t have cocum.
  2. You can use lemon juice if you don’t have tamarind.
  3. Add pretty much any vegetable you want to make this heartier. Cauliflower, drumsticks, carrots, etc.

4 thoughts on “Waran and thicut waran recipes (spinach dahl)

  1. tt

    “medieval looking device”

    You really had an interesting relationship with the kitchen! (Anything else trigger you with torture chamber like effectiveness?)

    Appros of… you ate pretty healthy! I will try mustard seeds AND brown sugar.


Say something!