Misal

Misal (Marathi: मिसळ), meaning “mixture”, is a delicacy in my home state of Maharashtra, western India. Misal is eaten for breakfast or as a midday snack or even a meal depending on how you make it. It remains a very popular 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 is often classified as street food.

2009-06-15_misal
Misal consists of 3-4 layers of different foods. In the picture, the bottom layer of beans is almost invisible.

I often make misal when I am in a mood for spicy food, especially when I want my nose and eyes to freely flow and my mouth to produce fire like a dragon. It happens every once in a while. Misal is like a comfort food that reminds me of home. :)

How to make misal?

Every region and everyone has a unique style and here’s mine customised for my needs.

Layer one (the bed): Consists of beans cooked Indian style. The beans are usually a combination of Moth Beans (मटकी) and dried Peas (वाटाणे), but due to limited availability here, I sometimes use a mix of Black-eyed beans (चवळी), or Red/Kidney beans (राजमा) or even Chick Peas (छोले).

Layer two (topping): Consists of a spicy, crunchy mixture of nuts, puffed rice and other stuff I don’t know how to describe (फरसाण, चिवडा). But the closest ready-made thing you could get in an Indian grocery store is called ‘bhel mix’ or ‘spiced crunchy mix’ or simply ask for Haldiram’s Bhelpuri mix. Adding small pieces of boiled potato will make your food less spicier.

Layer three (garnish): Tomatoes, liberal amounts of coriander, green chilies, raw mango (if available). Drench it with tamarind sauce (chutney), mint chutney and my mom-made chaat masala (a common spicy mix to give it a spicier punch).

Bread (optional): Traditional way is to eat the misal with a pav/pao bread (पाव) but since I make it dry-type, I usually skip the grain.

That’s it. Enjoy the food!

34 thoughts on “Misal

  1. Misal??? Dude, look at http://images.google.co.in/images?hl=en&q=misal&gbv=2&aq=f&oq=
    Your dry Misal is actually called Suki Bhel (सुकी भेळ).
    The difference between Bhel(भेळ) and Misal (मिसळ) is presence of Rassa (रस्सा or कट). If you make it dry, then its Suki Bhel (सुकी भेळ) You have a serious misconception here :D :D

    (You city people :P always change names of things :P :P e.g. I still don’t understand why people in Pune call रस्सा, कट as Sample(सँपल) :D and now you are telling me that this is Misal and not Bhel :D :D)
    (I hope I have put enough smileys here ;) )

    • Hi Suda, भेळ or सुक्की भेळ does not have the beans (उसळ) component at all. Once you add फरसाण to उसळ, it becomes a मिसळ regardless of how much रस्सा it has. I agree, having a lot of रस्सा is a characteristic of मिसळ, but not the requirement. Making रस्सा has many problems – people boil the उसळ to death so that all the nutrients are gone (just like पाव-भाजी) so I refrain from making it too much रस्सा’ish. :) In the picture, the base is not visible so it appears like भेळ. Now I wonder why I didn’t type the whole message in Marathi! :)

      • One day, I will take you to Karad (my home) and make you eat the Dahi Misal at Gajanan Restaurant near Datt Chauk (you probably don’t know it) and then we will see what you have to say about any misal in the world ;)
        And you are right about rassa, too much of it sometimes spoil the taste, may be I will try your method this time. :)

  2. yummy.. u should have made that a few months ago.. maybe I could have had a taste. yaar, but the misal from the roads in pune were horrible.. too much oil, boiled, too hot. Dunno why my college friends used to swear by it..

    • I don’t know either, all the “famous” misal’s I had were excessively hot and spicy, killing any taste buds in your mouth… hehehe!

    • Hi Amit,
      It’s slightly different from Bhel Puri… The essential component of a misal is beans – called उसळ in Marathi. Bhel-ish seasoning is just as a topping.

  3. Interesting and it looks very nice! You know what I was thinking that coriander must taste different somehow from the Indian version because the leaves are quite large? Am I right? I would surely try some if I pop over to Canaduh or Bombay.

    • The coriander I used in the picture does tastes different because its a variety of cilantro that we are growing in a pot. But in the Indian stores you do get the normal sized too.

  4. hey priyank
    this looks nothin like the missal i get in the typical joints at girgaum … the….. ashrams/ khanavalis
    looks like a healthy canadian missal variant to me

    btw it has been a long time since i had one because it is more of a winter fare for me, and being so hot these days , i prefer to avoid it , but as the rain gods look to show some mercy and i see rain clouds in the horizon , maybe ill just go and order one someday soon

        • I always disliked those ‘authentic’ misals they serve. The trick is to add so much chilis and spices to the water (tarri) that you lose all sense of taste. Also its often hard on the stomach rest of the day…!

          • i have mixed feelings

            Sometimes i enjoy the fiery thing especially if i have the running nose , but most of the times i prefer the milder version served at some places … lucky for me – i have that choice

  5. It is Raksha Bandhan day here today. Even though they look at it in terms of binding reltaionships and lines and labeling and bonding between ‘brother and sister’, I look at it the way Tagore showed us how, the suraksha chakra is for all and anyone one cares about.
    So, ceasing on another ‘assigned’ day of being nice to our fellow humans, sending you the ‘ring of love, care, protection’. Stay well and prosper, Puku. For in your mind’s shelter, all your loved ones live too and prosper and have a home. Hug for (Puku)

  6. the misal is well written, easy to follow and ‘tastes’ tangy and delicious. I could smell the food, feel the love and care with which you prepared it and the post. yet another feel good post that is like being home with one’s own people.

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