For the final day of Indian States, I had selected Maharashtra. I had been eyeing their Thali for the longest time. I was so sure that this occasion, I will finally make it. The next push came when Pradnya so lovingly gifted us goodie bags with Maharashtrian spice powders and much more. I feel so sad that except the eatable stuff, the spice powders are still sitting on the fridge counters.
I badly wanted to use all the things she gave us in the thali and went raiding her space as well. Then I pinged and tortured her over whatsapp as well. I changed my menu some 10 times, each time changing for a simpler dish. Finally it drew on me that I will not have enough time for a Thali. So I had to settle down with some equally famous dish that can merit the theme of featuring Regional special!
Misal Pav has been on my list for the longest time as well. I love Pav Bhaji, and so does everybody at home, except of course Chinnu. Anyway with heavy heart I decided to settle down with Misal pav and didn't' have energy to make Pav at home. I picked up some pillow soft Pavs from the Bakery and came home, only to know I will not be able to make it right away.
The Pavs had to sit for two more days and thankfully the pavs were still quite soft. I had been keeping everybody warned that I was going to make something new. Peddu was after me to make Pav Bhaji, then seeing that something else was getting prepared, he was fine to settle with just toasted Pavs. I somehow made him taste the Tarri.
I used the Goda Masala that Pradnya gave us. The entire assembling of the Misal Pav does look quite complex. And one needs to sit and enjoy this feast. I was so glad that everybody loved it. They quite perturbed not knowing how to eat the whole dish. Everybody loved the Usal better than the Tarri, which ended up having too much of masala. However I read that's it is supposed to be.
I adapted my recipe from here and didn't change much other than making it suitable to our taste.
As I said I was confused on how to serve the entire dish and went on my instinct to serve the Kat/Tarri on the side for dunking and the Misal to just eat. I later found that it's also a way to serve this dish. Since I have not tasted this in the place where it is sold, I am not sure.
I don't' think we get Misal Pav in Madras or the times I visited the Chat shops here, I have been Busy ordering the dishes that I am quite used to. The last time I ordered Vada Pav, I decided never again to order and Knew what I made was so much close to what I ate at Ahmadabad.
Coming to the explanation of Misal Pav, Misal is a spicy sprouted Bean gravy topped with various farsaan (namkeen), topped with finely minced onions, coriander leaves. It can be served as such or along with Pav.
When the Sprouted Usal is prepared like a gravy, garnished with farsaan and onions, it is called Misal. When this Misal is served with Pav, then you have Misal Pav!
Other variations on assembling this will be adding a layer of Kande Poha, then a layer of curds and next farsaan.
In the version I am sharing today, the Misal Pav is served with Kat(Tarri) as well.
This makes quite a dinner and very filling as well.
How to make Kat/Tarri (thin Gravy):
Onion,chopped 1 large
Dry coconut 1/2 cup grated
Garlic cloves 4-5
Red chili powder 1 tsp
Coriander powder 1 tsp
Cumin powder 1/2 tsp
Kala Masala or Goda Masala - 1 tbsp / or 1/2 tsp Garam masala
Coriander leaves, finely chopped 2 tbsp
Sugar 1/2 tsp
Oil 2-3 tbsp
Salt to taste
How to prepared Kat/ Tarri (thin Gravy) for Misal
Heat a tbsp of Oil in a non stick pan, add chopped onions and fry until they turn slight golden brown in color.
Next add whole garlic and ginger and fry for a couple of minutes. Now add grated dry coconut and fry for 3-4 mins until it turns brown. Keep stirring to ensure the mix is not burnt
Add chopped tomatoes, coriander and cumin powder and fry until the tomatoes get mashed and form a mushy paste. Cool the mixture completely and grind to a very smooth paste. Reserve 2 tbsp of this mixture to prepare Usal.
Heat 2 tbsp Oil in a kadai and add ground paste and fry again for 2-3 mins. Now add 3/4 tsp red chili powder, turmeric powder, Goda masala and salt and fry for another 3-4 mins.
Add 3 cups of water and bring to boil. Simmer for 10 mins or until the oil starts floating on top.
Add chopped coriander leaves at the end.
To get that special effect on top, in a separate small pan, heat 1 tsp oil and add 1/4 tsp Red chili powder and sugar and remove it from heat immediately and add this to the kat/tarri gravy, do not mix it.
I am told this gives the authentic look of oily layer on top and so I didn't skip this step.
Once the sprouts are ready, you can proceed to make the usal
Steam the matki sprouts in pressure cooker with a pinch of salt for a whistle.
Heat oil in a pan, splutter mustard seeds and add asafoetida and curry leaves and fry for half a minute.
Add chopped onions and fry until they turn translucent. Add ginger garlic paste and fry until the raw smell goes away.
Add the saved spice paste while making Tarri and saute it for 2 mins.
Add steamed moth beans and boiled and cubed potatoes and fry for 2 mins.
Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, goda masala and salt and fry it for another couple of mins.
Add 1/4 cup water and cover it and cook for 7-8 mins.The Usal should not be watery but should have slight gravy.
How to Assemble the Misal Pav:
Mixed Farsan - 1 cup
Finely chopped onions - 1/2 cup
Curds - 2 tbsp
Roast the Pav with butter on a hot tawa and keep it ready
To assemble Misal Pav
In a serving bowl, follow as below:
Layer 1 - In a deep plate/bowl, add 2 ladles of Matki Usal and pour 1 ladle of Tarri/Kat(gravy) on top it.
Layer 2 - Now add 2-3 tbsp of beaten curds.
Layer 3 - Add a layer of finely chopped onions liberally and coriander leaves. You can squeeze lemon now or serve it in the plate. But do not miss to use the lemon in any case.
Layer 4 - Add a layer of mixed farsan according to your wish. You can add either mixed namkeen or mixture or ghatiya whatever is available with you. But do not skip this layer.
Serve it hot with roasted buns,a bowl of Kat/Tarri and lemon wedges.
How to eat Misal Pav!
One needs to dip the pav in Kat/Tarri and eat along with the mixed misal.
Before reading this recipe, I was told that Moong sprouts tends to get soggy, however Pratibha says it mixed sprouts or moong sprouts or sprouted Yellow peas. Just have to make sure the sprouts hold their shape.
You can serve assembled misal as it is as a chaat with out pav and tarri(kat).
You can even use garam masala if you don't have goda masala
Misal is supposed to be spicy, you can make it less or more spicy according to your requirements. So adjust the masalas accordingly.
Pratibha also added Kande Poha or Chivda. I skipped it.