Friday, October 1, 2010

Puneri Misal with Kolhapuri Tarri

Story: "Misal" literally means a mixture.. this delectable combination of dry savory snacks with a spicy concoction called "Tarri" (gravy) is extremely popular in the Ghat-land (Maharashtra) and where-ever else ghats (Maharashtrians) migrated - (Gujarath, Madhya Pradesh etc).

There are two popular versions of Misal - the milder Poona Misal or Puneri Misal from my home town Pune and the hot and sassy Kolhapuri Misal. This recipe blends both flavors - the base is Poona style and the gravy is Kolhapur style.

Ok! enough "Gyan" about Misal - here's my personal story about Misal... My Mom's family lived in downtown Pune where we have two legendary misal shops - Bedekar Misal and Bhide Misal. Both family run businesses with their unique taste.. On many Sundays Shekhar-mama (my uncle) would pick up a to-go order from one of these places in a multi-tier tiffin and he would bring it to our house... I remember the tiffin, the smell of the hot tarri and the yummy Sunday brunch sprinkled with classic Pune style super-sarcastic humor that - just like the taste of hot misal - is not for the weak of heart!

and here I am.. sitting in classic New England weather.. dreaming about Misal....
Source: Aai (my Mom)

2-3 hours (need to make sprouts in advance)

Ingredients: for 2 misal hungry or 4 normal people

For the Usal:
  • 3 cups of mixed sprouts (sprout 1.5 cup moth, 1 cup whole moong and 0.5 cup white chana)
  • 1 tbsp oil, 1tsp mustard seeds, 1 pinch hing and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder for tadka
  • 2 tbsp tamarind pulp
  • Jaggery/gud and salt to taste
Usal Masala:
  • 1 Large onion thinly sliced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic - sliced
  • 1.5 cups of dry shredded coconut
  • 1.5 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1.5 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1-2 cloves
  • 2-3 black peppercorns
  • 4-5 dry red chilies
For the Tarri:
  • Kolhapuri Kanda-Lasun Masala or Parampara Kolhapuri chicken masala
  • 1 large onion finely cut
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • My addition - 1 tbsp kasoori methi leaves
  • If you are making it Pune style - need handful fresh shredded coconut for garnish
For the base:
  • 2 large potatoes, boiled, peeled and cut into 1 inch squares
  • 3 cups of thick poha/flattened rice - soaked in water for a few minutes
  • 3-4 cups of Chivda/Farsan
  • 2 cups of Yogurt
  • finely cut onions and coriander leaves for garnish
1 packet of white bread or paav as a side

Usal Recipe:

Misal needs quite a bit of prep work.. but this is also something you can make ahead of time.
Dry roast all the Usal Masala ingredients except coconut and sesame seeds for a couple of minutes. Then turn the heat low-medium and add coconut and sesame seeds. Dry roast till the coconut turns brownish black. You will get a wonderful aroma of the smokey mixture of roasted coconut, onion and garlic (Khamang Vaas in Marathi). Grind this mixture into a fine paste - add ass little water as possible.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pan and make tadka. Add sprouts to the tadka and saute for a couple of minutes. Turn the heat low and steam the sprouts for a few minutes till they are half cooked. Then add the usal masala and tamarind pulp. Saute for a few minutes till the mixture starts losing some oil. Add warm water to the mixture and salt and gud to taste. Put the lid on and let the usal come to a boil. The sprouts will be well cooked now.

Tarri Recipe:
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan, to the hot oil add onions and saute till they turn golden brown. Add tomato puree and saute till the mixture becomes a bit dry. Now add Kolhapuri masala - I'd add a couple of tbsp - but then I like my Tarri really hot. So adjust the spice level to taste. Saute for a couple of minutes. Now add 3-4 cups of water and bring the tarri to a boil. Garnish with coariander leaves and fresh coconut.

Additives: Make tadka in a pan and add potato pieces to it. Repeat the tadka for the thick poha.


Misal is perfect for self-service. Each person will assemble their own. I don't know if the order matters - but here's the typical order and amounts for each layer..

  • Couple of tbsp of poha
  • 1 tbsp potato
  • 3 -4 tbsp Usal
  • 2 tbsp Chivada or Farsan
  • Tarri - at least 1 tbsp adjust the upper limit as per your tolerance
  • Garnish with finely cut onion and coriander
Eat it with Paav - or white bread to balance the heat of the tarri. Remember - if you don't have a runny nose after the first few bites.. something's not right.. :-)


  1. yumm! Back with a spicy bang! :)

  2. This is one of your recipes that I have not only tasted but also made myself :) Five stars for the authenticity in recipe. It comes at par with my point of reference (Canara Coffee House in Baroda) in terms of taste and presentation :)

  3. @Shanu, Thanks for all the good words.. and hey - welcome back online!! i have missed you all these weeks.. :)

  4. the recipe for Poona mishal seems to be Extra ordinary as you have modified to kohlapuri style,we will try after reaching to Baroda...

    I have send your blog link to Rahul & Bijal.......let them enjoy.....

    Kishor Shah... Shanu's papa.....

  5. Wow - Uncle... so good to see you here.. thanks for the comments. IPAD seems to be working very well for you.. :-)

  6. Nice recipe..
    I have a recipe blog too...

  7. Thanks for posting mouth watering recipe

  8. In Mumbai u can get it from Prakash near sikka nagar as well as vijay health home at thakordrawar javahar mention Mumbai 400 004

  9. In Mumbai u can get it from Prakash near sikka nagar as well as vijay health home at thakordrawar javahar mention Mumbai 400 004