When you combine taste with health in Maharashtra, you get an amazing dish called Misal Pav. Moth Bean (Matki) sprouts or mixed sprouts cooked with spices, topped with a lip-smacking gravy, farsan and onions and served with toasted Pav (buns), one can never go wrong in choosing Misal Pav for breakfast, lunch, evening snack or dinner. I have been a big fan of this dish right from the day I first tasted it. In fact, I love Misal Pav so much that I would choose it over Pav Bhaji any day. The process of cooking Misal Pav from scratch does involve some time, but it is not as difficult as it may sound and can be made conveniently at home if you have all the required ingredients. Here’s the recipe:
1 cup moth bean sprouts or mixed sprouts
2 onions (finely chopped)
1/2 inch piece ginger
4 cloves garlic
1 green chili
3 tablespoons grated dry coconut (khopra)
1 teaspoon tamarind pulp
1 teaspoon grated jaggery
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
1 stick cinnamon
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1 tablespoon cumin powder
3 teaspoons Maharashtrian Goda Masala or Garam Masala
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
3 teaspoons Kashmiri red chili powder
Salt (to taste)
1/2 cup farsan (sev, ganthiya, mixed farsan etc)
2 tablespoons coriander leaves (finely chopped)
2 lemons (cut into wedges)
1 packet Pav
4 tablespoons butter
8 tablespoons oil
Steam the sprouts with a pinch of salt till they turn tender.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and allow them to splutter. Then add asafoetida and stir for 20 seconds. Add the steamed sprouts and mix well. Add turmeric powder, salt and 1 teaspoon Goda/Garam Masala. Add 1/2 cup water and mix well. Cover the pan with a lid and cook on low heat for 2-3 minutes. Set aside. This is known as Usal in Marathi.
To prepare the gravy (known as Kat in Marathi), heat 2 tablespoons oil in a pan. Add one onion and fry till it turns translucent. Then add roughly chopped ginger and garlic and fry for a minute. Add green chilly, cinnamon stick, cloves, cumin powder and coriander powder. Fry for another minute. Then add the grated dry coconut and fry till it turns brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Adding a little water, grind this mixture to form a paste. Set aside.
In another pan, heat 4 tablespoons oil. Add 2 teaspoons Kashmiri red chili powder and immediately add the ground paste. Stir till oil separates. Add water, 2 teaspoons Goda/Garam Masala, salt, tamarind and jaggery. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.
Take 1 tablespoon oil in a ladle and heat it. When the oil is hot, remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon red chili powder. Add this to the simmering gravy immediately. This step is to ensure that the gravy has oil floating on top and looks a bright red.
Cut the Pav buns into halves and warm them on a griddle. Apply butter on one side of the halves and toast till slightly crisp.
In a serving dish, spread a layer of Usal. Sprinkle some farsan and add a generous amount of Kat. Sprinkle some more farsan. Garnish with chopped onion and coriander leaves. Serve hot with the toasted buns and lemon wedges.
Eat, drink and be merry! 🙂
NOTE: Keep the gravy runny as both Usal and Farsan absorb a lot of liquid and a thick gravy will make the dish very dry. Also serve a bowl of the gravy separately, just in case the gravy in the plate dries up!