Learn to make, in this detailed step- by-step blog post (video embedded at the bottom of this post) How to make Usal Pav- one of the most popular dishes, eaten with great relish in the street food scenes of Mumbai.
If we need to connect with the soul of a city, we need to be out on the streets. Experience the food served out there on the food carts and small eateries. Unfortunately, many of us when we are on the trip to another city we dont do that. We limit our food-excursions to restaurants serving these dishes.
However, these bigger places may fulfill our hygiene standards. But it disappoint us or even worse do injustice to food culture of that state or city. So, before you frame your opinion on a particular dish based on your last trip to the 3-star or 5-star restaurant, I will urge you to hold on. I usually search for food joints, well known in local foodie circles- small, decrepit food joints, located in narrow lanes of the city.
These little gems are where you can connect with the culture of the city. These eateries delight our taste buds with some authentic food.
Mumbai– the city of dreams, city that never sleeps and the city that never stops. Besides the hurried pace what I find amazing in Mumbai is the delicious food that I find at every corner of the streets of the city. This city has absorbed folks coming in from different parts of country that has contributed to its rich and flourishing cosmopolitan culture.
The rich and diverse culture of the city becomes evident in every facet of life including its food. Here, you would find dishes like Poha, Vada Pav, Kanda Bhaji, Dabeli, Pav Bhaji, Misal served and eaten with great relish. In these wide variety of food, Usal Pav has also attained its cult status. It’s a traditional Maharashtrian dish that is paired with many different dishes- Bhakri, Chapati, Rice or even Pav.
Usal is made traditionally with sprouts like- Moong, Matki, dried green peas, dried white peas etc. or even the combination of various sprouts.
I am borrowing from Smita’s description of sprouts, she would often say- In our Konkani household, lentils and legumes play an essential role in our daily diet. Our meals are incomplete without Usal or gravy preparations that are made with legumes like Moth beans, Moong, lima beans (Val), black eyed beans or white or black Chana. Procuring legumes in bulk is a monthly activity at my home and sprouting different legumes is like a daily chore.
In this recipe, we have prepared Vaatan- a masala paste that combines, dry roasted coconut, browned onions, ginger-garlic, and coriander. Then I ground this mixture into a fine paste. This masala-paste, also known as Vaatan is an essential in a Konkani household. I use Vaatan in many Konkani recipes which is why I prepare and store it in advance to speed up the preparation time.
Few points to make delicious Mumbai Usal Pav
- We have used combination of Moong, Matki and dried green peas for this recipe. You could make Usal with sprouted legume of your choice.
- To speed up the cooking of sprouted legumes, you can even use a pressure cooker. However, you need to be very careful as you do not want the peels coming off or even worse legumes becoming mushy.
- Adding Malvani Masala at the early stages in the oil gives a deep red color to the gravy.
- Take your time when you are cooking the Vaatan. Do not rush through this process.
- Always use hot water for adjusting the consistency of Usal. It contributes to deep red color (tarri) to the Usal.
- Adding Jaggery is optional, but it balances the flavor, and I won’t recommend skipping it. However, it’s a personal choice
How to make Usal Pav- Mixed Sprout Usal recipe
- 2 Cups Moong Matki mixed- Sprouted
- 1 Cups dried green peas sprouted
- 90 gms Dry Coconut
- 10-12 Garlic
- 1.5 inches Ginger
- 100 gms Onions sliced
- 1/4th Cup Coriander leaves
- 100 gms Tomatoes Sliced
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
- 1/4 tsp Hing Asafoetida Powder
- 2 Bay leaf
- 4 Cloves
- 1 inch Cinnamon stick
- 1 Black Cardamom
- 1.5 tbsp Tamarind
- 1 tsp Jaggery Gud
- 4 tbsp Malvani Masala
- Cooking Oil
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
- We will cook sprouted moong matki in boiling water. Cook for 5 mins in a covered pan.
- In another pan, We will cook sprouted green peas in boiling water for 15 mins.
- Collect the cooked sprout in a colander. Reserve the stock.
- For Vaatan: - We will dry roast grated dry coconut for 8-10 mins on low heat
- Heat 3-4 tbsp in a pan for frying ingredients for Vaatan. Fry Garlic and Ginger in a pan until garlic becomes light brown in color.
- Now, add sliced Onions and fry until it becomes brown in color (8-10 mins). Now, add coriander leaves and mix well. Finally add roasted coconut and mix well. Remove from pan and grind into a fine paste.
- Heat 3-4 tbsp cooking oil in a pan. For Tadka- put cumin seeds, mustard seeds and hing in oil. Now, add dry spices- bay leaf, black cardamom, cloves and cinnamon stick.
- After 30 seconds, add turmeric powder and malvani masala. Mix well.
- Chef's Tip: Adding Malvani masala at this stage gives a deep red color to Usal (gravy)
- Add 1-2 tbsp water (or stock). After 1-2 mins, add masala paste (vaatan). Mix well.
- Add some stock and mix well.Cover and Cook Masala for about 12-15 mins on low heat.
- Now, add cooked sprouts. Also, add sliced tomatoes and mix well. Add stock and mix well. We will add about 1-1.5 cup of hot water to adjust Usal consistency.
- Cover and cook on low heat. Give it a stir after 7-8 mins. Cover and cook again for another 7-8 mins.
- Add salt to taste, tamarind pulp and jaggery. Mix well. Cover and Cook for 2-3 mins.
Watch the video and learn how to make Usal Pav following this step-by-step video. Share your feedback about this recipe in comment section below.
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