Moth beans have been my favorite variety of pulses. I always loved all pulses, but these especially. Despite its rather lackluster name. Their brown earthy color always appealed to me. The sprouts that were white, the brown shell and beige color inner layer of these were like nature’s mystery. And I always loved to unravel it. With a big spoonful in my mouth of course.
As I grew up, I enjoyed variety of preparations of these beans. There are plenty regular curry recipes, daal recipes and so on. But there is one that has made its mark forever. It is called Misal. It’s an ingeniously simple preparation. It has three main components- moth beans curry, Chivda (found at any local Indian grocery store) and Rassa or Tarri which is basically cayenne pepper bright red liquid based on water, which has clear soup like consistency.
This snack item which also doubles as main dish is a popular preparation in central Maharashtra. Of course, as with all things popular, it travelled fast and spread through the rest of the state. And with all things Indian, just as it moves across boundaries, enters in a lot of variety. Different cities have added their flavor and made this dish a permanent fixture on their local foodies’ plate.
Add to it raw onion, tomatoes, Chivda, cilantro and Tarri. Eat with toasted bread. Sometimes you will see it with pieces of boiled potatoes added in the mix. Certain places will frequently add yogurt to balance the creaminess and spice level. Whatever toppings you use, you can’t go wrong as long you choose those which give a combination of soft and creamy with raw and crunchy. Spices used are the usual Indian goodness- turmeric, mustard seeds, garam masala, cumin and coriander powder. And the end result is- a pure Wow moment!
Try this with soothing coconut water on the side. It’s a genius dish, particularly for a night of quick bite and even of those nights when you have some time at hand, but you would rather spend it relaxing. Prepare this in less than an hour start to finish and enjoy the evening reading a book!
Your Map to Bombay Misal
Author: Minty Chai
Total Time: 50 min
- 1 cup moth beans
- 1 medium-sized onion
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 small tomato, thinly chopped
- salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 1/2 cups chivda
- 3 cup water (for cooking beans, making curry and Tarri)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1/2 lemon
- Bread or Paav, toasted
- Dry moth beans will take a day or two to sprout depending on humidity and temperature in your area. Take 1 cup of moth beans, wash and rinse them thoroughly with water. Add enough water to barely submerge all beans. Leave them loosely covered overnight to two days to let them sprout. Replace water if and when necessary to maintain adequate moisture content.
- Once sprouted and ready, add them to a pot with about 1.5 times water and cook covered till all water is gone. Don’t overcook at this stage.
- While it’s getting cooked, chop onion and tomatoes into thin pieces. Slice garlic cloves. Chop cilantro.
- In a heated pot, add about 3/4 tablespoon oil and when hot add mustard seeds and turmeric. Add half the onion and cook till it gets translucent. Add cooked moth beans and add garam masala, cumin and coriander powder. Add 1 teaspoon chili powder, salt and 1/2 cup water. Mix everything together and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- While that is cooking, in a small saucepan add remaining oil. When hot, add in it sliced garlic clove. Saute them and add 1 teaspoon chili powder (or more depending on how spicy you want your Tarri water). Add 1 cup of water and bring it to boil. Turn off the heat.
- When serving, add moth beans curry first. Add to it, a couple ladles of Tarri, the resulting mixture should be somewhat watery. Top it with some of remaining chopped onion, tomatoes and some chivda (about 3/4 cup). Squeeze some fresh lemon juice and garnish with cilantro. Eat this with toasted paav or regular bread for best taste.