Misal Pav and Usal Pav | Popular Mumbai Street Food.

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Famous Mumbai Street Food.

The word “Misal” has derived its name from Marathi language. It means “misture”. Misal Pav is a delicacy in the western Indian state of Maharashtra. The dish is eaten for breakfast or as a midday snack or meal, often as part of Misal Pav (pav means bread). It remains a very popular Mumbai street food snack since it is easy to make, is relatively cheap and has good nutritional value. The taste of misal ranges from mildly to extremely spicy. Misal Pav is also a popular street food.

Usal Pav. Mumbai Street Food, Street Food India.
Usal Pav Photo.

How to make Misal Pav and Usal Pav.

Similar to Misal, Usal/Oosal is Maharastrian dish made of beans such as Matki, Moong or Hyacinth bean etc. Generally the beans are soaked in water and allowed to sprout. The sprouted beans are stir fried along with onions, spices and curry leaves in oil. Little water is put to cook the sprouts. It usually has a thick gravy. The use of spices vary according to the sprouts used and according to taste. Usal served along with pav as a popular street food called Usal Pav.

Misal Pav. Street Food India. Mumbai Street Food.
Misal Pav Photo.

Both Misal Pav and Usal Pav consist of a spicy curry usually made of sprouted moth beans and pav (a type of Indian bread roll). The final dish is topped with potato-chiwda mix, farsan or sev, onions, lemon and coriander (cilantro). It is usually served with bread toasted with butter and buttermilk or curd and papad.

Food Etymology of Misal and Usal Pav.

Food etymology and history say, the origin of misal goes back to Pune. There are different version of Misal Pav such as Kolhapuri Misal, Nashik Misal, Puneri Misal, Khandeshi Misal and Nagpuri Misal; the first part indicating the origin on the misal. Other types are Kalya Masalachi Misal, Shev-misal, and Dahi (yoghurt) Misal.

Ingredients for Making Misal Pav.

The ingredients of Misal Pav vary widely, and consist of a combination of : Usal, a curry made from matki (moth bean) or watane (dried pea); Tarry/kat/sample, a spicy gravy; Batata Bhaji (boiled, diced potatoes, spiced with turmeric, chilies, ginger & mustard); Curd called dahi in Marathi (optional); Chivda (jaad poha chivda); Farsan (not required if Chivda is used); Garnish of onions, tomatoes, coriander, Lemon wedge; Pav (Slice or Laadi); Kolhapuri Misal Pav. The ingredients are arranged in multiple tier fashion and served.
The first ingredient to be served is matki or moth bean usal. Usal is sprouted beans cooked with tomatoes and onions. The nutritional value comes from the sprouted beans. The second later is Batata bhaaji spread thin over the usal. The third layer is Chivda also spread thin over the Batata Bhaaji. The fourth layer is a mixture of Onions, tomatoes, coriander and thin Sev. Tarri or Kat is added to fill up the bowl (more Tarri is served in a separate bowl). Misal is served with sliced bread or a small loaf, in the dish Misal Pav. The main part of the Misal Pav is the spicy curry, called tarry, kat.

Making Usal Pav.

Usal Pav is made of a variety of sprouted lentils. Both Misal and Usal in their original forms are prepared using onion, ginger, garlic and other spices. Misal has two parts, a thick curry of matki called “Usal” which has less water content and a watery – spicy “cut” or “bite”, the watery gravy is also called as “Rassa”. Usually people mix these two according to their taste and requirement.
There are many versions available for Misal Pav. The Kolhapuri version of Misal Pav does not contain pohe. Phadtare misal is famous in Kolhapur. Mamledar Misal in Thane City and is usually more spicy. Puneri Misal is another version. Katakir, Bedekar, Shri Krishna and Shree Upahar Gruh are amongst the more popular restaurants serving Puneri Misal. Dahi misal is also one of the widely eaten forms, where curd (yogurt) is added to enhance the taste.

Misal Pav and Usal Pav have always topped the chart of most popular Mumbai street food. In 2015, the Misal Pav and Usal Pav served at Dadar’s Aaswad restaurant (Mumbai) were named the world’s tastiest vegetarian dish at the FoodieHub Awards in London.