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.
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!