Misal Paav, a great finger licking feel good dish, lunch , snack call it by any name. Paav Bhaaji, Bhel puris, chaats, Paani puris, sev batata puris and so many other myriad combinations of street foods continue to enthrall everyone in Mumbai and Maharashtra but Misal Paav is the signature dish and most quintessentially a Maharashtrian dish .
Found in the bylanes and all major commercial areas in Mumbai , and interiors of Maharashtra especially Kolhapur anad Pune this dish has attained a gourmet like stature and rightly so as it incorporates such aromatic Indian spices , all blending well to give the final dish a great punch. The bonus is , this is about the most healthiest dish as it uses sprouts, mot or matki which is soaked overnight and pressure cooked to soft texture. Iam particularly fond of this dish as it is like a full meal and so filling and totally guilt free with no deep fried issues. Many a time my lunch used to consist of misal paav during my Mumbai days.
No wonder many a commuter in Mumbai practically survives on this spicy , tangy sweet mixture called Misal .Typically eaten with laadi paav which are popular paav buns like dinner rolls but more flatter and the staple of every popular roadside eateries. No body will come away from Mumbai without even once tasting this dish , just as the paav bhaaji, bhel has become synonymous with the street food joints of Mumbai. Misal Paav is not far behind and more humbler as it doesn't use any fancy gourmet ingredients. All you need is stock of laadi paav or the plain paav buns and it is good even with breads or as a dish with rotis.
It consists of spicy curry usually made of sprout of Mataki and chilly powder gravy called 'Kutt'. The final dish is topped with Punjabi mix, Farsan or Sev, onions, lemon and coriander.
Misal from Kolhapur, a place in South-West India known for its high spice content and is particularly known as Kolhapuri misal.
The usal part of Misal is made of a particular variety of sprouted lentil called "Matki" which has a sweet aroma. Misal in its original form is prepared using onion, ginger, garlic and other spices. It has two parts, a thick curry of matki called "Ussal" which has less water content and a watery and spicy "cut" or "bite". source..WIKI
Do not get intimidated by the preparation and the ingredients. Basically it is one dry curry , doused with a tangy sweet, liquid and garnished whichever way like, chopped onions, cilantro, peanuts, loads of chivda. The spicy liquid gets the unique punch by the addition of the spice mixture called the misal powder. The rest is assembling, nothing more.
The preparation of Misal paav is simple though it may look lengthy. Most ingredients are already found in our kitchens , so it can be prepared quickly.
Ingredients for the spice powder. If you can get the ready Misal powder nothing like it or you can prepare the simple spice powder as given here.
- Jeera/ cumin seeds 1 tsp
- 1 tsp white til seeds/ sesame
- Saunf 1 tsp. ( fennel) or fennel seed powder
- 3 Cloves
- 4 Pepper corns .
- Small bit of Cinnamon stick.
- 2 tsp Dhania seeds/ coriander seeds
To make the spice mixture
With a 1 tsp of oil in a heated pan roast all the ingredients given in the spice mixture above and when the aroma wafts and browns, keep aside to cool, then grind to a fine powder. If you find this cumbersome, use a good branded garam masala powder.
To make spicy paste for the KUT/KAT
2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp ginger paste and garlic paste
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped tomato
3/4 cup grated coconut (optional)
1 tsp jaggery
A small piece of tamarind
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan.
Add ginger paste, garlic paste and chopped onions.Saute till the onion is translucent. add chopped tomatoes and grated coconut.
Mix well and saute it for few minutes. Cool and grind to a paste all the ingredients
To make gravy/sauce ('Kat' in Marathi)
In a pan with 2 or 3 tbsp oil , saute the Spice Paste which we made as above.Add Salt to taste and add 1 tsp red chilly paste or Kashmiri chilli powder,1 tsp garam masala ,1/2 tsp turmeric powder 1 to 2 tsp of the spice powder which we made. or 1 tsp of ready made misal powder available in the stores.
Kolhapur Misal powder is available in many stores.
Add 3 or 4 cups water (or as required to adjust the consistency) . Let the mixture or liquid boil well for 4 minutes and then remove and keep aside.It has to be a little watery consistency.
To make Usal:
2 cups of cooked sprouted moth /matki or any sprouts of your choice,here I used moong sprouts, matki and chickpeas sprouted.
Cook either in pressure cooker to 1 whistle or on stove top but not too mushy.
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Sprigs of curry leaves.
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
1 tsp clove cinnamon powder or 1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp Oil
Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric - a pinch
Salt - to taste
Add oil in a heated pan Crackle mustard seeds, add curry leaves., add ginger garlic paste,
clove cinnamon powder, or garam masala powder ,turmeric powder,asafoetida,chili powder.
Add cooked sprouts/ Matki and add water ,salt.
Cook it for 3 minutes till the spices and the sprouts are nicely mixed well .
Transfer it in a separate bowl.
To assemble the Misal paav, keep the usal in a plate, pour the kat over it, garnish with sev,farsan, chivda , some peanuts if you wish and garnish with coriander leaves and serve with lime wedges.
Traditionally this is eaten with Laadi Paav but here I have served whole wheat bread slices which really doesn't make a difference as it is the misal which is the main dish.
This is a complete meal and can be served with lassi to cool down your spicy tongue after you have done with this dish.
You can have sweet chutney, red chutney and green chutney too to add to this as per your taste. Some even have curd on top and have it more like a chaat type. Dress it up the way you want.
I used only sev as a garnish, typically chivda, farsan mixture is used.