Usal Recipe – Maharashtrian Malvani Usal

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Maharashtrian Usal recipe with step by step photos. Tasty Usal recipe from the Maharashtrian Malvani cuisine.

usal recipe

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.

My favorite usal is the one which my mother makes. This usal is from the Malvani cuisine and different in taste than the other Maharashtrian usal varieties.

There are many variations of usal in maharashtra and this recipe is one such variation. Coconut is added in this recipe along with spices giving it a coastal taste and flavor.

Usal can be made with sprouted beans or dried beans or even lentils. Generally, in Maharashtra, they make usal with sprouted moth or matki beans. However, you could use moong beans, Black eyed beans (Chawli), Green peas (matar or vatana) and also Black gram (kala chana).

For this recipe, I have used mixed sprouted beans. you could also add potatoes to this recipe. This is a regular usal recipe I prepare at home and one that is much liked.

You could sprout the beans on your own. making sprouts at home is Much better and hygienic. For all those who are not sure about sprouting or do not know how to sprout beans, here are two handy links for sprouting beans Sprouting mixed beans and Making mung or moong bean sprouts.

I made this usal as a main course with some jowar bhakris. You can also serve this usal when making misal pav.

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usal recipe

Usal Recipe

Usal is a Maharashtrian curried dish made with legumes/sprouted legumes or mixed sprouted legumes and is had with pav (bread), chapati or rice.
4.8 from 15 votes
Prep Time 35 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Cuisine Maharashtrian
Course Main Course
Servings 4


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
  • 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


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. You can also make misal pav with this malvani usal recipe.

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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. You can check the method to make mixed bean sprouts here – Sprouting mixed beans.

usal recipe
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.

usal recipe

5. Add ¼ cup chopped onions.

usal recipe

6. Fry till the onions become translucent.

usal recipe

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

usal recipe

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

usal recipe

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.

usal recipe

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

usal recipe

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

usal recipe

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

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

usal recipe

14. Grind to a smooth paste.

usal recipe

Making usal

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

usal recipe

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

usal recipe

17. Next add ⅓ cup chopped tomatoes.

usal recipe

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

usal recipe

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.

usal recipe

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.

usal recipe

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

usal recipe

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.

usal recipe

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.

usal recipe

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

usal recipe

27. Serve Usal hot with Pav, chapati, poori or rice. You could also make misal pav with this usal.

usal recipe

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Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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  1. Ms Dasana, you bring untold joy to my culinary journey! For close to 50 years I’d wonder how people bring such magic to the dining table; like my mom, wife, sisters…. Then I found, a decade ago, sufficiently inspired by MasterChef Oz, and my daughters starting on their culinary journey. It’s been poetry since then. Thank you very much. God bless you!5 stars

    1. Thank you so much for this heartfelt honest expression. I am humbled as well as grateful. Thanks for your kind wishes too. Most welcome and happy cooking.

  2. Thank you so much for this recipe Dassana, a delicious way to have sprouts!5 stars

  3. Hi Dassana, I tried out your recipe last week and it turned out yummy. My husband and my aunt just loved it. Thank you for giving it in such detail that it was easy making it.5 stars

  4. Hi Dassana,

    Wonderful recipe.
    My mom used to cook this. Only variation was, she added red chilli( bedgi) while frying onion and coconut. Thanks for sharing. I am going to try this today.
    Whenever I need a new recipe I always come to your website. I have tried many recipes from your website like puran poli, kaju katli and many more. And they have always turned out very tasty and yummy. Thank you so much. Keep posting new recipes. 🙂

    1. thanks santoshi for the positive feedback on the recipes. thanks also for sharing your mom’s variation. red chilies are added by some folks. i know this as i have seen a few folks adding red chilies while frying onions and coconut.

  5. Hi Dassana,

    Been wanting to try this recipe for a longtime now and hoping it will turn out great with your step by step instructions.

    I wanted to know can I add only mung bean sprouts to the recipe instead of a mix of sprouts and also can I use only fresh coconut to make the curry?

    Thank you


    1. Thanks Keerti. Yes you can add only mung bean sprouts and also fresh coconut.

  6. Hi Dassana,
    Request you to post the usal recipe along with the quantity of ingredients.


    1. minal, the usal recipe ingredients and instructions are mentioned at the bottom of post.

  7. i am trying this tom.but sure with ur easy to follow steps it will taste good. Thanks in advance. Pl keep me in the loop for nice veg recipes.

    1. welcome usharani. i have added your email in weekly recipes newsletter so that you can get them on your inbox. also keep visiting the site.

  8. excellent enjoyed it too de last……jst made my cooking skills better

  9. Hey i realy enjoy each n evry bite of it.i alwys prefer ur site n ur recipes.thanks so much.keep it d best.4 stars

    1. welcome pournima. glad to know that you like the site and the recipes posted. keep visiting.

  10. thanks very much , very nice and easy way to explain the whole things,please send me the other recipes in future for me please.
    deepak4 stars

  11. I have seen many sites for this recipe. but yours is very good. especially the pictures of each step is so good that even an amateur can cook very easily.. thanks.

  12. I followed your recipe and it worked perfectly fine. Usal had awesome taste. This is the best taste that I ever had 🙂 Thank you very much.

    1. usually for usal, it is made with matki/moth bean sprouts or mung bean sprouts. you can use both or either. you can also use a mix of sprouts of black chana, green peas, white peas, kabuli chana/white chickpeas, green chickpeas, including the moth bean and mung bean sprouts.

  13. Last month I ate Misal Pav at Thane and that was my first time. I’ll ask my mom to prepare this for me :p
    Somewhere in Mumbai I ate “Veg Kolahpuri” too. It was much like some Punjabi delicacy. North Indians will surely love it. Would you mind to post its recipe too? 🙂

    1. thanks sonu. i have had veg kolhapuri many times in mumbai. i always wondered its name is kolhapuri, but tastes more like a punjabi dish. the food from kolhapuri tastes so different and is spicy as well which was not the case with veg kolhapuri. will surely keep your update soon.

  14. many thx 4 dis lovly receipe. i must hv spent nearly an hr luking 4 a nice usal receipe. finally i got it.
    planning dis 4 our 2marow breakfast

  15. thanks for the recipe.. we prepare it separetly for separate sprouts.. i really love to have this with pav in the rainy evening sitting in balcony and enjoying rain with garmagaram usal..

  16. Dassana,
    This recipe took me back about 40 years. It pleases the nose eyes and mouth!!
    Thanks Julian

  17. Let me try the Usal recipe today though its so simple but cannot forget the aroma of real Usal we used to have in Mumbai city.Now those restaurant are closed and taken over by some other cuisine.Thanks for the Recipe

  18. While I can understand the step where the boiled and sprouted legumes are added back to the curry, I think you forgot to mention this step. This will confuse many who are new to cooking or to usal.

    1. thanks arjita for pointing that. i forgot to mention about adding sprouts. seasoned cooks will know but newbies will find it confusing…. have updated the recipe…..

  19. Hi Dasanna,

    Love this usal feel like dipping bread in it an eating them.