Usal is the Marathi name for spicy vegetable based curry. This delicious, traditional Kabuli Chanyachi Usal is made of kabuli chana i.e. chickpeas and spices. Boiled Kabuli chana when cooked in the tomato-onion gravy base and spices, makes a heavenly combination.

Being born and raised up in Mumbai, I cannot forget the flavors and tastes of the Maharashtrian cuisine. Though I am fond of Maharashtrian food like sabudana khichdi, puran poli, batata vada, bharli vangi etc. usal and misal pav tops my list.

Ingredients

For Cooking Sprouts

  • ▢1.5 cups mixed legumes sprouts (legumes)
  • ▢1.25 cups water for cooking sprouts

For The Usal Masala

  • ▢1 tablespoon oil
  • ▢1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • ▢½ tablespoon fennel seeds (saunf)
  • ▢¼ cup onion, chopped
  • ▢4 to 5 medium garlic cloves (lahsun), chopped
  • ▢½ inch ginger (adrak), chopped
  • ▢½ cup desiccated coconut or ½ cup fresh coconut
  • ▢½ to ⅔ cup water for grinding the masala paste

For The Usal

  • ▢2 tablespoons oil
  • ▢¼ cup onion or 1 medium sized onion, chopped
  • ▢⅓ cup chopped tomatoes or 1 medium sized tomato, chopped
  • ▢½ teaspoon red chili powder (lal mirch powder)
  • ▢½ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
  • ▢1 teaspoon malvani masala or goda masala or ½ teaspoon garam masala (optional)
  • ▢1 cup of broth or stock got from boiling the sprouts or water
  • ▢salt as required
  • ▢2 to 3 tablespoons coriander leaves for garnishing

Instructions

Cooking Mixed Bean Sprouts

  • Sprout ½ cup of dried mixed beans a couple of days before to make the usal. You will need 1.5 cups of mixed bean sprouts. 
  • Pressure cook or steam the sprouted beans till they are cooked. If pressure cooking, then cook the mixed bean sprouts in 1.25 cups water. 
  • When the bean sprouts are cooked and tender. Keep the cooked mixed sprouts aside. 

Making Usal Masala

  • On a tava or pan heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add the chopped onion.
  • Fry the onions till they become translucent.
  • Add the fennel seeds and coriander seeds to the onions. Fry till they become aromatic. 
  • Add chopped ginger and garlic and fry these too for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add the desiccated coconut.
  • Stir and mix it well with the rest of the mixture.
  • Fry the coconut till golden brown. But remember not to burn the coconut and to fry the masala on a low flame.
  • Let the masala mixture cool. Then make a smooth paste of the masala ingredients in the grinder with ½ to ⅔ cup water.

Making Usal

  • In another pan, heat 2 tablespoon oil. Add the chopped onions.
  • Saute the onions till they turn translucent.
  • Next add the chopped tomatoes.
  • Saute the tomatoes for 2 to 3 mins or till they soften.
  • Pour the ground masala paste. Since we have already browned the paste, we have less work to do. Just fry the paste for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add the turmeric powder, malvani masala and red chili powder.
  • Mix the above powders well with the coconut paste.
  • Add the boiled sprouts to the paste.
  • Add 1 cup broth or stock or add more, as per the consistency desired by you. You can also add water instead of broth or stock.
  • Add salt. Lastly let the entire curry simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or till you see some oil floating on top. 
  • Last step is to add chopped coriander leaves. 
  • Serve Maharashtrian usal with steamed rice or bhakri or pav or phulkas or pooris. 

Step by step Maharashtrian Malvani usal recipe:

Cooking mixed bean sprouts:

1. For this recipe use 1.5 cup mixed bean sprouts to make the usal. You can also use store-bought mixed sprouted beans for this usal recipe, then there is no need to sprout the beans at home. To sprout beans at home, rinse ½ cup of dried mixed beans and then soak and sprout them.

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2. Pressure cook or steam the sprouted beans with 1.25 cups of water till they are tender and softened. Keep aside. If pressure cooking then cook for 3 to 4 whistles on medium flame.

usal recipe

Making usal masala paste

3. On a tava or pan heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add 1 tablespoon coriander seeds (sabut dhaniya) and ½ tablespoon fennel seeds (saunf).

usal recipe

4. Fry till their aroma starts to spread in your kitchen and they change color.

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5. Add ¼ cup chopped onions.

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6. Fry till the onions become translucent.

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7. Then add ½ inch chopped ginger and 4 to 5 chopped garlic cloves.

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8. Fry them for 1 to 2 minutes on a low flame.

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9. Add ½ cup desiccated coconut (or ½ cup fresh coconut). You can also use half-half proportions of both fresh coconut and desiccated coconut.

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10. Stir and mix the coconut well with the rest of the mixture.

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11. Start sauteing the masala. Remember to saute the masala on a low flame.

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12. saute the coconut till it turns golden stirring continuously. Do remember not to burn the coconut.

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13. When the masala cools, add in the grinder jar. Also add ½ to ⅔  cup water.

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14. Grind to a smooth paste.

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Making usal

15. In another pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add ¼ cup chopped onions.

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16. Saute the onions till they change color and become translucent.

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17. Next add ⅓ cup chopped tomatoes.

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18. Saute the tomatoes for 2 to 3 minutes or till they soften.

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19. Now add the ground masala paste. Since we have already browned the paste, we have less work to do. Just fry the paste for 1 to 2 minutes.

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20. Add ½ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi), 1 teaspoon Malvani masala (or goda masala) and ½ teaspoon red chili powder. If you do not have goda masala or Malvani masala, then add ½ teaspoon garam masala powder. You can skip Malvani masala or goda masala or garam masala if you do not have them.

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21. Mix the above powders well with the coconut paste.

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22. Add the boiled sprouts to the paste.

23. Then add 1 cup of the broth or stock or add more, as per the consistency desired by you. You can also add water instead of broth or stock.

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24. Add salt as required.

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25. Lastly let the entire usal curry simmer for 12 to 15 minutes till the gravy thickens a bit. You will also see oil floating on top.

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26. The usal is ready and done. The last step is to add chopped coriander leaves.

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27. serve with hot chapati, poori or rice or pav or bread 🙂

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