Bombay Special - Misal Pao

I often lean back to the traditional dishes when I am done with exhibiting the continental recipes to my husband. This way I manage to keep him interested in the home food and also remind him that my food is not all about visual and health appeal.

It also is the time when I realize that I have started missing mom’s food and believe must be the same for him.

Also, aren’t there times when you find a little of everything lying in your kitchen which is not sufficient for one meal but also do not feel like discarding.

Today is that day, when my elf (I will tell about her in some other space) informed me that there was a handful of dried green peas, matki and some other pulses sitting in the fridge.

This is the perfect reason to make the usal and then convert it to missal.

Missal, which means Mixture, is literally that a mixture of Usal, Farsan etc. to be eaten with pao.

It is a popular snack in the whole of Maharashtra and there are places that claim to make the best of the breed across the state. Some places which I know of are Phadtare kitchen in Kolhapur, the bus stand at sangli, Sri Dutt’s Misal at Panvel, every college canteen (Love the memories) and many more

You have the choice of making this an elaborate affair or a keep it simple. It tastes good no matter what. Although the ingredients are plenty the recipe listed by me is a short hand version.

Recipe for 2 (Often ends up for more than 2)

There are several parts of this dish that combine to be 1

Part 1 – Usal

Part 2 – Kat (pronounced as cut and not cat)

Part 3 – Fillers

Part 4 – Accompaniments & Garnishings


Usal –

1 cup mixed sprouted pulses (Moth Bean Matki  a must, White/ Green dried peas, Kala chana) Do not use chole (Chick pea) as it overpowers the other flavors
1 tspn Mustard seeds
1 tspn cumin seeds
½ tspn Asafoetida
1 tspn red chilly powder
½ tspn turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1 tspn Oil

1 medium onion finely chopped
1 medium tomato finely chopped
½ cup grated fresh coconut
1 inch ginger
4-5 garlic cloves
1 tspn garam masala
Oil to fry

Fillers (add small quantities of any items that you like)

2 small mashed potatoes/potato wada crushed
1 cup Farsan/ Chiwda/ Bombay mixture/ sev/papdi
2 tspn fried ground nuts/chana

1 medium onion finely chopped
1 medium tomato finely chopped
Lemon juice

 Before I proceed to the method of cooking, I would like to warn the purists here that I have taken liberty to modify the original dish for 2 reasons, a) to make it simple and quick and b) the original recipe calls for authentic ingredients which could be missing in most parts of the world

1) Heat a pan, add a tspn of oil. When it becomes hot add mustard seeds and let it crackle.
2) Now add asafoetida and cumin seeds. Let it crackle as well.
Now add the sprouts and saute it for a minute on high flame.
3) Add salt to taste, turmeric powder, red chilly powder and water to cover it.
4) Let it simmer for 10-15 minutes. Usal is ready.

1) In a large deep dish pan, heat oil.Add chopped garlic, ginger and onion and saute it for few minutes.
2) Add tomato and let it cook till oil seperates.
3) Now add the coconut (use dry cocunut if you do not have fresh).
4) Transfer the mixture to a blender. When it cools down a bit, blend it and make a paste.
5) Put the mixture back to the pan, add garam masala, salt to taste, red chilly powder, turmeric powder and 3 cups of water.
6) Let it simmer till oil comes to the top. Keep aside

Serving Missal
1) In a serving bowl, first place, the fillers, boiled mashed potato, farsan(mixture), usal.
2) Serve the kat in a small bowl so that it could be used as required.
3) Garnish using finely chopped onions, tomatoes, lemon, coriander.
4) Serve with bread slices/ pav



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