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)
Time: 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
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.
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