I am going to call this dish by that exotic name just for fun, though what it is, really, is my friend Srividya’s spin on the usal curry that forms part of the street food called misal-pav that is so popular in Maharashtra.
It is also lighter and less oily than many an usal curry I’ve had before, so I am really glad that my instinct (Vidya will surely have a good recipe for this, I thought to myself, as I stared at lentils, one Saturday morning a few weeks ago, that I had sprouted over a couple of days but suddenly wasn’t quite sure what to do with) led me to call my young ex-colleague and friend – who is a very accomplished cook- to ask her for her version of an usal recipe.
What sealed it for me was that for the first time, Indira and Noor actually liked a preparation with this particular type of lentils and I saw that Shri enjoyed the dish too. So, a win-win-win ! Thank you much, Vidya!
Turkish Gram stew aka Matki Usal Curry
Sprouted moth/matki/Turkish gram- 1.5 cups
2 finely chopped medium-sized onions
2 finely chopped medium-sized tomatoes
1 and 1/2 tsp of ginger and garlic paste
1/2 tsp each of turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder
3/4 tsp of pav bhaji masala
paste made of (with very little water)-2 to 3 tbsp of grated coconut, 1 tbsp of poppy seeds, 4-5 cashewnuts and 1 green chilli
salt to taste
In a pressure cooker, warm two tbsp of oil and fry the onions till they start to brown, then add the tomatoes and fry till they are quite soft and the water has dried up. Add the ginger-garlic paste now and fry for a minute. Add the dry spices next, fry for a few seconds, then add the paste and fry everything together till the oil starts to appear on the sides. Add the matki, about two and a half cups of water and salt, and pressure cook till 3 or 4 whistles. Let the pressure cooker cool completely, then take off the lid and stir the curry well and let it simmer for a few minutes if it is too thin.
Just before eating, add a little chopped green coriander and serve with hot rice or phulkas or pav.
This dish is delicious with any of those options but if accompanied by pav, serve some farsan on the side and slices of lime for a finger-lickin’-good bowl 🙂