Jan 26, 2013

Usal with sprouted green moong...a Maharashtrian delight!

In Kerala, the most common prepation with green moong is cherupayar thoran (green moong stir fry with coconut). Rice gruel with some cherupayar thoran and papaddum is a classic combo!
I had soaked some green moong during the day thinking of making some simple thoran , but then totally forgot about them...later that night, I drained the water out and again forgot about them. They graciously sprouted by the next day and when I came back from office, I have a bowl full of moong with lovely little sprouts . I left them as such for one more day and they grew longer sprouts!!

I promptly turned to my  facebook friends for recipe suggestions (other than cherupayar thoran). You see, I wanted to make something special and different. So comes a good few replies like making Chaat, Salad, Misal , Usal etc and I decided to go with the Usal preparation shared by a good friend who shares some yummy Indian recipes at BellaOnline
Usal is a very popular Maharashtrian dish made most commonly with Matki or moth beans (a brown colored oval shaped bean). But you can prepare the dish with green moong just as well. The moong is cooked and then added to a mild masala gravy - the dish can be dry masala or a gravy masala, as per your choice. Mine was semi gravy! I've added a Keralite twist to the dish by adding curry leaves in the dish. It does add a lot of flavor.

Preparing a dish with Sprouts requires some planning ahead but so worth the wait and double the nutrition!
How to sprout moong: Soak 1 cup of green moong (or any lentil of choice) for atleast 6-8hrs or overnight. Drain the water completely and transfer the moong into a cheese cloth/muslin cloth and cover them and let them sit in a dry spot for another 5-6hrs , open and check if they have sprouted to your choice, else just shake them up a bit and again leave it for few more hours. (I actually left mine in the same dish as it was soaked for 2 days after draining the water out - hence got longer sprouts)

Sprouted Green Moong Usal Recipe
Recipe source : Adapted from Sadhana Ginde's recipe

You'll need
Sprouted green moong - 2 cups
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste
Water - 3 cups (to pressure cook the sprouted moong)
For tempering
Black mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Dry red chillies - 2
Curry Leaves - 5-6 leaves
Oil - 2 tblsp
For the gravy
Medium onion - 1 (finely diced)
Ginger - 1/2 inch piece (peeled and finely minced)
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Red chili powder - 1/4 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp (or use Kaala Masala)
Chaat Masala - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste
For Garnish
Lemon juice - juice of half a lemon
Freshly grated coconut -2 tblsp  (I din't add this)
Freshly chopped cilantro leaves - a handful
Red onion - cut into thin strips or diced into tiny cubes
Lemon wedges - as per choice

1. Cook the sprouts in a pressure cooker with 3 cups of water with the spices and salt. Let it whistle for about 3-4 times. (I made mine quite well cooked, almost soggy , so I did about 5-6 whistles)\
2. In a kadai, heat the oil and crack mustard seeds, dry red chillies and curry leaves. Then add the ginger and onions and saute for few minutes.
3. Add the spices - turmeric powder, red chilli powder, garam masala, chaat masala and salt and let it cook foo few minutes.
4. Now add the cooked sprouts and combine well. Finally add the lemon juice.
5. Garnish with chopped Cilantro, grated coconut and diced/sliced onions before serving!

My notes:
3 cups water to cook 2 cups of moong dal may result in it being rather soggy or watery (I wanted that - for my gravy) , but you can cook in a little lesser water if you want a more dry version.

I prefer to flavor my lentils too, so I've spiced up the water in which I cook it. You can avoid that if you prefer. I've also heard that people believe that lentils won't cook well if salt is added to the water it cooks in .I have till date had no issues with my lentils not cooking well, as I always cook them like that to add some flavor into the lentils too.

Chaat masala is not commonly added to Usal preparations, but I saw some recipes using Amchur powder(dry mango powder), so chaat masala was the closest I had for a tangy spice powder , but it added so much flavor, I think it was the star of the dish...apart from my sprouts of course! :-)
 I really enjoyed having the Usal with plain white rice , Manish was simply raving about its unqiue taste and even my little guy gobbled up a bowlful of rice mixed with Usal and Yogurt! A healthy vegetarian dish with a mindblowing effect on your tastebuds! Try it out, you'll love it too I bet!

Oh and if you have any leftover Usal, enjoy it as a chaat topped with some sev, chopped onions , cilantro and/or tomato and drizzled with lemon juice and sprinkled with chaat masala...mmmmm....so yummm!! Thank you Sadhana for all the lovely ideas :-)



  1. Good recipe Manju...The leftover idea just made me drool :)

  2. Beautiful clicks and a very healthy recipe

  3. wow beautiful clicks dear :) healthy recipe..

  4. Great recipe & pics Manju, will try soon but I think you misspelled Sadhana Ginde's name. I also follow her recipes.

    1. Thanks for pointing that out Ritu Arora...I have corrected it :-)

  5. Oh god,love to have this nutritious packed healthy usal with some rotis.

  6. looks soo healthy n tempting curry...

  7. Beautiful dish!! I have never sprouted mung beans... just cooked it directly. This is very interesting as well as delicious looking. :)

  8. very healthy moong sprouts preparation,would love to try sometime..yummmy clicks,Manju kutty:)
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  9. Healthy and flavorful usal.. I prepared usal sometime ago with white peas for misal pav.

  10. Good one Manju....Ur pic really made me drool..btw I saw ur bake...hope it's ll gone now..kothipichu :)

  11. That's new to me...love the way it is made....

  12. one of my favourites....looks delicious!!

  13. healthy and delicious looking curry...

  14. I came here searching for what usal is supposed to look like.
    I followed a recipe from a book and they did not have a photo of the dish.
    Mine looks too watery and weird, very different from yours :-( :-/

    1. Nisha,
      My guess is that perhaps the water used to cook the moong dal must have been high, in that case you could try cooking the usal for some more time until the water reduces and the gravy thickens.

      When I prepared the usal, I wanted a thick gravy and this was how it looked. I have also mentioned in my Notes how you can alter as per your preference.

      Hope you have better luck next time :-)


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