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For the love of misal pav

Published : Dec 8, 2017, 12:46 am IST
Updated : Dec 8, 2017, 12:49 am IST

Misalotsav is a one-of-a-kind festival offering misals from nine region of Maharashtra under one roof.

These famous versions of misals will be available at Mumbai’s first misal festival this weekend.
 These famous versions of misals will be available at Mumbai’s first misal festival this weekend.

While the vada pav might be a popular snack option in Mumbai, its country cousin, the misal pav also has its own loyal legion of fans. A popular breakfast option in the city, the dish has found its status as comfort food.

And what’s not to like about it? Most widely found in office canteens, roadside stalls and breakfast places, the humble missal is a flavourful curry made of moth beans. Topped with chivda, potatoes, onions and fresh green chillies, one has to make generous inroads to mop it up with pav.

As is the case with every traditional dish, its interpretations change with every region. Mamledar Misal, which is famous for it’s spicy rendition of the much-loved breakfast, serves misal in three varieties, based purely on the levels of spiciness —light, medium and very spicy. On the other hand, Kolhapur’s Laxmi Misal Centre has a gravy that is scarlet in colour, and makes use of three varieties of chillies.

These famous versions of misals will be available at Mumbai’s first misal festival this weekend. Presented by Lokmanya Seva Sangh, a non-profit organisation in Vile Parle, the festival will see nine variants of misals from across the state — Dombivali, Pune, Nashik, Kolhapur, Wai and Sanghmeshwar  — being served.

Manoj NirgudkarManoj Nirgudkar

“It is practically impossible for one to travel to Kolhapur or Thane to try one plate of misal. So it made sense to bring nine different kinds of misal under one roof for misal lovers,” shrugs Manoj Nirgudkar, secretary of the Lokmanya Seva Sangh, explaining the rationale behind the festival.

While the misal might appear in various hues of red with a different garnish of farsans, it is the masala  that give each interpretation its characteristic taste. “The basic difference is in the spiciness level. For example, the Kolhapur misal is spicier than the Thane misal. There are also places that serve it with curd in order to cut the spiciness. And then there are a few, who serve it with a separate curry, which is to make it spicier than it is,” adds Manoj.

Abhijit Karkare of Abhichi Misal from Kolhapur, however, has a different take on the Kolhapuri misal. Abhijit, who follows the recipe passed on by his grandmother, shares a secret — do not drink water while eating missal pav. “If a customer doesn’t drink water during misal, it’s perfect. People have this misconception that Kolhapur misal is too spicy.

The misal that I make is mainly tangy and mildly spicy, so even if you drink the curry it won’t cause acidity,” he laughs. To make it even more appetising, instead of the traditional farsan, Abhijit uses Kolhapur special sev chivda to top it up, along with matki and potato curry.

Though one is sure to savour the traditional flavours, for those who enjoy experimenting, there’s also Schezwan misal on sale. While purists may be shocked, Manoj doesn’t cringe with experiment. “I would say it is a marriage of Indian Chinese and Maharashtrian misal,” he smiles.

On December 9 till 10, Tilak Mandir, Ville Parle (E)

Tags: mumbai food, misal pav, kolhapuri misal, manoj nirgudkar