“Always eat for the tongue and not for the stomach” is the one thing that I always say. I’ve come across many people for whom eating is like a routing task and don’t enjoy. I’ve always enjoyed eating, be it the “Maa ke haanth ka khaana” or the “Chef ke haanth ka khaana“. Changing times, changing places and changing food, all of these haven’t stopped me from enjoying my meal. I always follow the rule, “When in Delhi, do as the Dilliwaalas do…” So for my the local cuisine is always a priority. On the same lines, I’m going to talk about my Missal Trails starting from Panchgani and still continuing in Hyderabad.
Panchgani – the place where it all began
I joined boarding school after spending years in Gujarat so my palate was adjusted to the Gujarati cuisine. Once I came to Panchgani, I had to adjust to the spicy taste. Took some time but got adjusted quickly. From Fafda and Jalebis, Vada Pav, Pohe and Sabudana Khichdi became my regular breakfast. I started relishing Vada Pavs and was ever ready for it. (Even today, I’m ever ready for it :P) During the same time, I came across a mind-blowing dish called Missal. I had no clue until I actually tasted it. Missal reminded me of “Sev Usal” that I used to enjoy in Gujarat. Only the preparation and serving style had changed.
When Missal Pohe and Missal Pav took over
One of the many delicious dishes that were provided at my school during breakfast was Pohe and Missal. Yes this isn’t a popular combination in restaurants / food joints. But we all loved it. Initially had no idea how to eat it. But slowly mastered the art of eating Missal Pohe. Take a little bit of Pohe, add the “chavana” or mixture to it. Pour a generous ladle of Missal over it and eat it along with bread. Just like you eat chapati with curry ! Sounds different right, try it, I’m sure you’ll love this. Even when we went to play our district level cricket matches to places like Satara, Karad and Kolhapur, the most loved dish by the entire team used to be Missal Pav. Last October I visited school and luckily had Pohe for breakfast and as usual it was heavenly !
Missal Pav at work
Our workplace has a good cafeteria with a wide variety of cuisines on offer. From the Dilli ke Chole Bhature to local favorite Idli Sambhar to Thailand ke Paneer and Noodles. It’s like you name it, they have it types… Recently a new food joint opened in our cafeteria that boasted about providing authentic Maharashtrian food. The menu definitely looked Maharashtrian – Vada Pav, Missal Pav, Sabudna Vada et al. I tried Vada Pav and Missal Pav from the food joint. Priced at 15Rs for a Vada Pav and 35 for Missal Pav, the prices seemed near perfect. The presentation reminded me of my schooling days from Panchgani. And the taste was spot on ! Not many places serve these and the ones that do, don’t get that taste. But this guy has managed to get very close to the original taste !
Missal Pav has become a part of my occasional lunches, especially Fridays. It has been one dish that I’ve been on the look out for whenever I visit a Maharashtrian food joint / restaurant. So you see, my Missal Trails started from Panchgani, stopped over in Kolhapur, Satara and surrounding areas and now in Hyderabad. Will end this post by repeating what I said at the beginning, “Always eat for the tongue and not for the stomach“