Misal Pav is an iconic Maharashtrian dish that can be served as an anytime meal. A piece of local bread (pav) dunked in a fiery stew made using sprouted beans with a topping of the Indian snack (farsaan) makes for a filling meal. The sprouts stew which forms the bulk of the dish, is also called ‘tari’ or ‘kat’.
Misal Pav – the varieties
Misal Pav is available on the menu in most local eateries in Maharashtra, with different regions having their own versions – such as Kolhapuri Misal, puneri misal and Mamledar misal.
The Kolhapuri version is the fieriest. The Puneri version is much milder with more accompaniments or garnishes such as a dry potato curry, chivda (another fried snack) and tomatoes, and sometimes even yogurt, along with the regulars like farsaan, onions and coriander. Mamledar Misal is more popular in the Thane regions, and it is quite spicy. I have tried this one and I could not go beyond a couple of spoons.
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Given my low tolerance for spice, I am mostly unable to eat the hot-enough-to-burn-your-gut-lining kind of misal served in hotels. There is an authentic Maharashtrian restaurant close to my house and I once dared to order their misal for breakfast. The 3 inches of oil floating over 3 inches of misal in the plastic container was enough to put me off. Possibly that is the authentic way of eating this dish, but that much oil and spice just does not agree with me, or my gut 🙂 So I stick to my fairly benign version which is still bang on with flavour. It is just lower on the heat, so it can be had by the whole family.
Add to the menu: Maharashtrian style spiced Cabbage Rice
The chillies used in my recipe are Bedgi variety that add a rich red colour but not much heat. Feel free to replace some of them with the Guntur variety if you like your dish to be hotter.
Misal Pav makes a fantastic addition to a vegetarian Maharashtrian menu for a dinner party.
This recipe serves a small crowd of 8 people.
A Maharashrian vegetarian party menu
- Misal Pav
- Khamang Kakdi (cucumber salad)
- Batatachi Bhaji (potato curry)
- Masale Bhath (Maharashrian style rice pulao)
Any leftover tari from the misal can be simmered until the liquid almost dries up and used as a stuffing inside a dosa or a sandwich. For example: Misal Masala Dosa
Recipe adapted from Tarla Dalal website
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- pinch of asafoetida
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 2 cups finely chopped ripe tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 4-5 cups mixed sprouts (matki green mung, brown chana etc.)’
- 1 tablespoon red chili powder
- 3/4 tablespoon salt
- finely chopped coriander
For spice mix
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1/2 cup sliced dried coconut / copra
- 4 medium onions thinly sliced
- 8 dried bedgi red chillies
- 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper corns
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 8 cloves garlic
- thinly sliced onions
- fresh coriander
- lemon wedges
- To prepare misal pav, start by preparing the tari or the sprouts curry.
- To prepare the fresh masala for the curry, heat oil in a saute pan and add all the ingredients for the spice mix. Fry on a medium flame for 10-12 minutes until the coconut has turned golden brown and the spices are aromatic. Allow this to cool slightly. Transfer into a food processor or mixer jar and finely grind it.
- I follow the easy one pot method of sautéing the masala and cooking the sprouts in the pressure pan itself. Use a big sized pressure cooker or pressure pan (~6-7 litre) for the quantities in this recipe.
- Heat the 2 tablespoons oil in the pressure cooker / pan. Sprinkle asafoetida. Add the cumin seeds and fry until they splutter.
- Fry the finely chopped onions for 5-6 minutes until lightly caramelised. Add the prepared masala and fry for another 3-4 minutes. Combine the chopped tomatoes and fry along with the salt for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the turmeric, sprouts, red chilli powder. Fry for 2-3 minutes until well combined. Bring a litre of water on the side in the meanwhile.
- Add the hot water ~4 cups. Shut the cooker lid with the weight plugged in. Allow for 2 whistles on a high flame. Keep the flame on sim (lowest setting) for another 4-5 minutes and switch off the flame.
- Open cooker when pressure subsides. Remove into a serving pot and garnish with coriander.
- To serve, keep two pieces of pav in a dish. Ladle hot misal in a bowl. Top with farsaan, sliced raw onions and some more fresh coriander along with