Sunday, April 28, 2013


Usal, Mixed Farsan, Pav, Chopped Onions & Lemon Wedge
By now, all my readers must have rightly understood that I belong to a family of foodies - Saapaattu Ramans to my Tamil readers.

We all love Misal and have had the best – many years ago – at Bhatt Vishranti Gruh in Chembur. Venkat and I visited the outlet a couple of months back to an extremely disappointing experience. That’s when I decided that I will get the authentic recipe from a Maharashtrian friend and was biding my time.

I visited my friend Nilima on Thursday. As I was having lunch there, I asked her if she would be able to help me with the recipe. Her father-in-law (Mr. Mohite Sr.) came forward to help me with great enthusiasm. He wrote out the list of ingredients and explained the whole process of creating authentic Kolhapuri Misal. Super-thrilled, I thanked him from the bottom of my heart and set out to make it today morning.

NOTE: Kolhapuri Misal is neither for the faint-hearted nor lily-livered. There’s a lot of work in cooking it and you need a strong digestive system as it’s pretty spicy. If you are okay with both, you have a sure-fire recipe for a yummy food item.

Well, the preparation began on Friday evening, actually…. Read on to find out more.


For the sprouts:

Matki - 100 gm
Moong - 50 gm
Brown Channa - 50 gm
Chawli - 50 gm

Soak the above overnight (2 nights earlier, actually). The next morning, drain the water and wrap the soaked grains in a wet towel and keep in a cool corner of your kitchen in a shallow vessel. The third day morning you will find that the grains have all sprouted perfectly. You can also buy readymade sprouts at shopping malls or stylish vegetable outlets.


Garlic - 6 cloves
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Black Pepper - 8
Cardamom -1
Cloves - 4
Bay-leaf - 1
Cumin Seeds - 1 tbsp
Coriander Seeds - 1 tbsp
Grated Coconut - 4 tbsp (heaped)
Tamarind - 1 small ball (size of a tiny lemon)

Other Ingredients:

Onion - 4 (large - finely chopped)
Tomato - 4 (large - finely chopped)
Potato - 1 (large - cut into cubes)
Rai - 1 tsp
Oil – 5 tbsp
Turmeric Powder - ½ tsp
Chilli Powder - 4 tsp (more or less as preferred)
Asafoetida (Hing) - 1 pinch
Garam Masala Powder - ½ tsp
Lemon - a few wedges
Coriander Leaves - a small cup (finely chopped)
Mixed Farsan - 250 gm (you can buy this ready-made)
Salt - as required


1. Boil the mixed sprouts with ½ tsp salt and a pinch of turmeric in a pressure cooker. Four whistles should do the trick.
2. Grind the masala ingredients with half a cup of water. This will yield a thick, smooth paste.
3. Take a saucepan and add 3 tbsp oil. Once it’s hot, add the chopped onions. Sauté till golden brown and then add the ground masala.
4. Add 1 tsp salt and the chilli powder. Mix well.
5. Cook for a few minutes on a medium flame, stirring from time to time. Ensure that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan. (It’s better to use a non-stick saucepan if you have one).
6. Add the chopped tomatoes to the saucepan after about 6-8 minutes and mix well.
7. Cook for a few minutes longer till tomatoes are soft.
8. Cool the mixture and grind the whole thing. If you have a hand mixer, you can grind while it’s hot too. The paste can be coarse this time round.
9. In another saucepan, heat the rest of the oil and add the Rai to it and allow it to crackle.
10. Add the rest of the turmeric powder and hing to the oil before adding the cubed potatoes. Fry till crisp. Now, add the garam masala powder and stir for a minute before switching off the stove.
11. Mix the cooked sprouts, fried potato and ground masala in the larger saucepan with 2-3 cups of water and cook the whole mixture for 5-6 minutes.
12. Switch off the gas and add chopped coriander leaves to the Usal.
13. The Usal is served on a small plate or bowl and is topped with Farsan and chopped onions. Fresh pavs and a wedge of lemon are served on the side.

USAL: The sprouts along with the masala is called Usal
MISAL: The whole thing becomes Misal (mixture of usal & farsan) when you add the farsan to the usal.
FARSAN: This is something like ‘Mixture’ made by the South Indians during Diwali

NOTE: I have linked most of the ingredients to pictures and write-ups so that everyone around the world will be able to understand what they are.