Misal Pav is one of the most popular snacks in Maharashtra. You can go to any region of Maharashtra, India you will always find hawkers, small eateries and restaurants who will sell misal pav. So primarily it consists of a red spicy curry made with moth beans conjoined with couple of Pav ( A type of Indian bread ). Then the whole thing is garnished with farsan ( salty snacks ) and onions. Sometime dahi ( yoghurt ) is also used in the dish to give a calming effect to the spiciness.
I was born and brought up in Mulund, a hustling suburb of Mumbai. For the past 5 years my craziness for misal pav is being catered by Michael. On a typical not-so-quite-yet morning at around 5 am, Michael arrives in the Sarvodaya Nagar locality in Mulund in a rickshaw to start his business. Amazingly there are people already gathered around the eatery even before he has arrived. Michael lights his stove, sets up a giant bowl and starts preparing the misal, the main ingredient. While all others wait patiently.
‘Tension’ has been Michael’s associate in this whole operation since many years. I really don’t know his real name. He sets up the dishes, spoons, cuts ups the onions & lemons which will be further used for garnishing and topping the dish to make it more tasty and he also does various kinds of tasks which help Michael in serving the hungry & sleep deprived customers in a faster and efficient manner.
The misal pav made by Michael is very simple and elegant. It is uncluttered and unbelievably tasty. The first bite of the dish resembles the feeling of a prisoner who is just being released from prison. The anticipation of freedom he will gain after many years of imprisonment. The slight discomfort and horror of being released from prison is slowly being replaced by the euphoria of outside air. Such is the greatness of the misal pav made by Michael. It represents the dawn of something new and exciting.
Another thing that Michael sells is a ‘Tari Pav’. Michael stuffs the whole misal with a sufficient amount of farsan in a pav instead of dishing out the misal separately. Much like the world famous Vada Pav of Mumbai. I always have 2 of them after I eat the misal pav.
Amazingly the eatery is only open till 8 am or 9 am. But still Michael has a cult following for his misal pav and customers keep flocking in huge numbers even in those early hours of the day. If you also wish to taste this amazing dish prepared by Michael you are sure to find him at 5 am in Sarvoday Nagar in Mulund!
‘Tension’ does not work at the shop anymore.