The year end is a period that most of us give in to our gluttony. It is truly a time to make merry, eat and drink to your heart’s content. New Year begins with some of us feeling really guilty and wanting to detox and feel better. Eating healthy is always our Motto at home but we do give in to our sweet tooth around the Christmas – New year period.
So we decided to start this year by filling ourselves with lentil/ sprouted grain goodness. Moth Beans or Muth beans or Matki are extremely high in fibre and loaded with calcium and proteins. They are great as they are low GI so they keep you fuller for longer and help assist with improving metabolism if eaten regularly. If you sprout the Moth beans that increase their calcium content even more. I was short of time so I could not sprout the grains but feel free to use sprouted Moth beans to make this recipe.
Usal is a dry or semi dry preparation of sprouted or un-sprouted legumes, beans or pulses which are soaked the night before in water. Usually tempered with asafoetida, turmeric and green chilli. A generous helping of fresh coriander and coconut are added to them. Some families add garam masala or usal masala or Goda Masala however they are not mandatory. It can be made with or without tomato. I have not added any masala / spice powders but I have used fresh juicy tomatoes to add to the tangy taste.
Here is Mumbai to Melbourne’s recipe for Matki chi Usal or Moth Beans Usal. This is a simple recipe using minimal ingredients however is super high on nutrient content and taste. You could eat this with Chapatti or Pav and top it up with Sev or bhujiya, raw onion and a squirt of lemon juice.
- Matki beans/ Moth beans – 350 gms (dried/ unsoaked)
- Asafoetida- 1/4th teaspoon
- Turmeric- ½ teaspoon
- Mustard seeds- 1 teaspoon
- Red Onion- 2 medium sized- finely chopped
- Fresh grated coconut- 2 tablespoon
- Ginger minced- 1.5 teaspoon
- Garlic minced – 1 teaspoon (optional)
- Green Chillies – 3 – slit vertically (more if you like the heat)
- Tomato- 2- finely chopped
- Lemon juice – 2 tablespoon
- Coriander – 3 tablespoon- finely chopped
- Water – enough to cook the Moth beans
- Sugar- 1.5 teaspoon
- Oil- 1 tablespoon
- Salt to taste
- Kashmiri chilli powder – 1 teaspoon (for colour)
- To serve with: Onion, Sev/ Bhujia , coriander leaves and lemon wedge (Optional)
- Soak the Moth/ Muth/ Matki beans in water for about 3-4 hours. You can use these soaked beans to make usal or sprout them. To do so drain the beans and keep them covered in a damp cloth. Within 8-10 hours you will see the beans sprouting. You can use these sprouted beans to make the Usal. The beans will increase in volume on soaking/ sprouting.
- Take a non-stick wok/ kadhai keep it on medium flame. Add oil and once heated add asafoetida, turmeric and mix well. Next add mustard seeds and let them splutter, then add the vertically slit green chillies and mix for a few seconds.
- Add the finely chopped onions to this and mix well. Let them cook till they turn pinkish/ translucent colour. Now add sugar and lemon juice which helps to caramelize the onions yet retain it plump texture. Add the minced ginger and garlic and mix well for a minute.
- Next add the finely chopped tomatoes and mix well. Cover with a lid till the tomatoes go soft yet retain their plump texture. This should take no longer than 3- 5 minutes.
- Now add the drained moth beans to this mix, add salt and enough water to cover the entire moth beans, onion and tomato mixture. (roughly about 350 ml water) At this stage reduce the flame to low and cover it with a lid.
- Check in about 15 minutes to see if the moth beans have cooked. By now they should be nearly 75 per cent cooked. If you need to add some more water at this stage do so. Check for salt, add the finely chopped coriander and red chilli powder. Mix well and cover again for about 7-10 minutes.
- When you open the lid there should still be some moisture and it should not be too dry. Now add the grated coconut and check for salt. Mix well and switch off the flame.
- Your Matki chi Usal or Moth Beans Usal is now ready.
However over the years these Khanavals gained popularity with college kids and office and salaried class in Maharashtra. These eateries serve a large portions of Usal with pav (leavened bun breads) and top them with onion and bhujiya. Usal Pav has become synonymous with Mumbai’s street food culture.
Now you can make this humble, nutritious Matki Chi Usal in your very own kitchen. This one will leave you licking your bowls asking for more.