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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Kolhapuri Misal Recipe - Phadtare Misal

This is a very popular recipe in Maharashtra. The city associated with this dish is Kolhapur. The misal from this region is spicy and delicious. The characteristic about misal from Kolhapur is the separate "cut/kat" or gravy that accompanies the misal. Bread is dipped into this gravy and eaten. This is a complete meal with brown mung, potato, gravy and bread.

I recently met my husband's aunt and had a chance to eat this delicacy after several years. I was very inspired by her and decided to try my hand at it. The recipe below is based on  a video I had seen where "Phadtare" misal recipe was demonstrated. This is a very popular misal joint in Kolhapur. I have adapted this recipe to serve 4-6 people.

For Potato Bhaji
1/2 red onion finely diced
2 medium potatoes boiled
1/8 tsp mustard seeds
1/8 tsp jeera seeds
1-2 green chillies to taste chopped
1/8 tsp turmeric
salt to taste (fine or regular salt)

For Matki Usal
2 tbsp oil
2 cups of sprouted matki/small brown mung
1/2 red onion finely diced
1/4 tomato finely diced
1 tsp dhana jeera powder (corriander-cumin powder)
1 tsp Bedgi chilli powder (this is mainly used for color)
1 tsp red chilli powder (or to taste)
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
2 cups hot water
salt to taste (coarse salt/"khade meeth")
1 tsp sugar

For the Misal "Kat" (Gravy)
1 tsp cumin
1 inch cinnamon piece
5 green cardamoms
2 big cardamoms (badi elaichi)
4 cloves
2 star anise
3 red chillies
1.5 cups of dessicated coconut grated (dry coconut)
6-7 garlic cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg -grated powder (use fresh instead of readymade powder)
1 inch ginger
1 red onion thinly sliced
1/2 tomato finely diced
1/8 tsp turmeric
1 tsp Bedgi chilli powder (red color again)
1 tsp chilli powder (or to taste)
salt to taste (coarse salt/"khade meeth")
salt to taste (regular fine salt)
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp oil
5 cups hot water

To make the Potato Bhaji
Heat the oil. To this add the mustard and cumin seeds. Once you hear the mustard sputter, add the onions and fry till it turns light brown. Add the chillies and turmeric, stir this together, add the salt and the boiled potatoes. Stir and fry for another 2-3 mins. Set this aside. You now have the base or first layer of the misal.

To make the Matki Usal (brown mung bhaji)
Take 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Once its heated up, add the sprouted brown mung/matki to this. Stir fry it for a few minutes. Set aside.
In another pan, take 1 tbsp oil, to this add the onion and stir fry it. Once it turns pink and translucent, add the tomatoes to this. Fry this for a few more minutes. To this add the two chilli powders, dhana jeera powder and turmeric and stir. Add the hot water, the coarse salt, sugar and continue heating this mixture. Once it starts boiling, add the fried matki to this. This matki must be cooked till all the water evaporates and you are left with the matki bhaji.

To make the Misal Masala
Dry roast all the dry spices separately which is cumin, cinnamon, green cardamom seeds only, big cardamon seeds only (badi elaichi), cloves, and star anise. Roast the red chillies with a couple of drops of oil till they are crisp. The spices should not be over roasted or burnt. They should be roasted till you can start smelling the spice. Grind all these spices and chillies together till they are a fine powder. To this add the garlic, ginger, coconut, nutmeg and a little coarse salt. Grind this to a paste adding a little water at a time to facilitate the grinding process. The consistency of the paste should be like a chutney.

To make the Misal Gravy
Heat the oil, and add the onion. Fry this onion till translucent pink, starting to turn brown and add the tomatoes. Cook this for a few  minutes till the tomatoes soften. Add the Misal Masala made earlier, turmeric, both the chilli powders, coarse salt and a little sugar for taste. Stir fry this for 2-3 minutes and then add a little water to it and stir. Add the remaining water slowly and let it boil. This is the final gravy.

Ingredients - To assemble the misal
Potato Bhaji as described above
Matki Usal as described above
Misal Gravy as described above
Sliced white bread
Chopped onion
Finely chopped cilantro
Farsan which should consist of Papadi, Dal Muth, Shev and Gathiya

Method - To assemble and serve the misal
First take a tablespoon of potato bhaji in a bowl. Next layer is the matki usal. Add about a tablespoon of matki usal over the potato bhaji. Then add the misal gravy. Top this with chopped onion, cilantro and the farsan mixture. Squeeze a wedge of lemon over this. Serve with a couple of slices of white bread. The potato bhaji and matki should be submerged in the gravy. Also serve a cup of gravy along with the assembled misal so it can be refilled as needed.

The misal gravy is supposed to be very watery, so add additional hot water to this if it is too thick after boiling. If coarse salt is not available, you can just use regular salt. Coarse salt is also known as Kosher salt. The Bedgi chilli powder can be substituted with Kashmiri chilli powder or any other chilli which brings out the red color but is not very hot. Misal is supposed to be spicy and hot, and the above recipe will turn out so. Adjust the chilli powder proportions to make it milder.


  1. PD ...this is like the best misal recipe on the planet.....one can tell just from the igredients... Looking at it makes me hungry.
    keep up the great work.

  2. Wow! Loved the description. ...looks yummy too! Definitely a must try in my kitchen!

    1. Thanks Samona. It turns out great. Let me know how you like it once you try out the recipe.

  3. Hi Priya, tried it, this is the one and only awesomest misal recipe I have liked so far and yes going to follow this recipe forever now!

    1. Thanks Prajakta. I agree with you. It is the best recipe misal recipe, albeit a bit lengthy. It doesn't compare to any other I have eaten either. So glad you liked it :).