Usal, a moth bean preparation

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Usal Pav is a very popular street food and a breakfast food or brunch . It is from the western region of India, namely Maharashtra. Being from Mumbai ( Bombay ), this recipe holds a special corner in my heart. There are variations to the way this dish, and I am sharing the one I find the easiest to make.

This dish reminds me of the family I had lived with during my early working days in Pune. The lady of the house was a amazing cook and every time I make this at home now, I am reminded of her motherly care and the lovely time I spent with the family, and always felt like a member of their family.

Usal is basically a gravy curry made with moth bean sprouts and pav is the colloquial for bread. The dish is served as a accompaniment to Pav or bread or baps. Traditionally, the moth bean sprouts are used, but you could just use pre soaked moth beans. However you could substitute any kind of beans instead of the moth beans like Moong beans, green gram beans, black eyed beans.

So here it goes –

Ingredients –

  • 1 cup of Moth beans pre soaked for at least 8 hours or overnight

  • 1 large onion finely chopped

  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped

  • Red chilli powder or cayenne pepper powder according to your heat preference

  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste, crushed in a pestle & mortar

  • 2 tbsps crushed groundnuts ( omit if you have nut allergy )

  • ½ tsp of crushed gur / jaggery or can substitute brown sugar

  • ½ tsp Goda masala or substitute with garam masala powder

  • 2 tbsp dessicated coconut or fresh grated coconut

  • Salt to taste

  • 1 tbsp cooking oil

  • ½ tsp black mustard seeds

  • A pinch of asafoetida or hing ( optional )

  • Lemon wedges to serve with

  • Coriander leaves to garnish

  • Finely chopped red onions to serve with ( optional )

  • Bombay mix to serve with ( optional )

How to make it –

  1. Heat the oil in a pan or skillet and add black mustard seeds, and let them crackle. To this add a pinch of asafoetida and immediately add the onions and crushed ginger garlic paste and saute until the onions turn translucent.

  2. Once the onions are cooked add the chopped tomatoes and the red chilli powder and cook until the tomatoes turn mushy.

  3. Add the pre soaked moth beans along with ½ cup water and cook with the lid on until the moth beans are well cooked.

  4. Mix in the salt, the jaggery or sugar, the masala powder and the crushed groundnut powder and saute for another couple of minutes.

  5. If needed you could add a bit of water to make the consistency to a thick gravy one.

  6. Add the dessicated coconut or fresh grated coconut and mix well.

  7. Take it off the heat and serve with the garnishes.

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