Usal is a very common main dish in Maharashtrian homes and especially useful when you don’t have a full pantry. It contains any sprouted grains such as moong, kale chane or Chavali (black eyed peas) mixed together with sautéed onions, tomatoes, ginger and garlic. The special Maharashtrian touch comes from Goda masala + grated coconut and a bit of jaggery.
This recipe can be used for any grains or combination. The other day I didn’t have enough moong or kale chane so I mixed them and it turned out just perfect!
You need to soak moong and kale chane overnight and preferably use warm water. I used Kepra’s Onion Garlic Masala with some homemade Goda masala. You can easily get these in Indian stores.
Cooking Time : 20 min
1 cup sprouted moong 1 cup sprouted kale chane 1 medium onion, finely chopped 2 tomatoes, finely chopped 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped 3-4 curry leaves 1/2 tsp Kanda-Lasun(Onion-Garlic) masala 1 tsp Goda Masala 1 tsp red chili powder 3-4 tb spoon shredded coconut 1/2 tsp jaggery / sugar 1 tb spoon oil for phodani/tadka 1 tsp mustard seeds 1 tsp cumin seeds 1/2 tsp Hing powder salt to taste Whole Garam Masala (optional) 2-3 peppercorns 1 clove 1-2 cardamom a small cinnamon stick
Mix all sprouted grains in equal amount of water in a pressure cooker, add whole Garam masala and a small piece of raw onion with 1 tsp of salt and cook for 3-4 whistles. Mixing whole Garam masala and onion while cooking really induces nice flavours.
Usal does not need much oil, so heat just enough oil to the chopped onion. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and hing powder in order to heated oil. Add chopped garlic and curry leaves and onions. As usual add some salt to make the frying process quicker. Saute the onions till they become translucent, now it’s time for grated ginger and diced tomatoes. Smash the tomatoes as they start cooking.
Lower the heat and all the masalas. I used onion-garlic masala. (This could be very strong and may overpower other flavors so taste it first) and Goda masala for the taste of home cooking! Add chili powder and salt to taste. Make sure this mixture is not dry which can cause masala to burn easily. Mix everything with some water used to cook the grains and now mix the cooked grains with sufficient water. Add shredded coconut, and let it boil for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and add a bit of jaggery (or sugar) and squeeze some lime juice for just a punch it needs to be perfect. Garnish it with freshly chopped coriander. It’s ready!
Sprouted grains make up for the lack of protein in vegetarian diet, so enjoy yourself!