This is a very healthy and delicious dish from my home state of Maharashtra (located on the southwest coast of India). Matki are small tan/brown colored beans, which are oblong in shape. They are very common in Indian cuisine and are also known as moath beans. They are a high source of protein and a main staple in many vegetarian diets. Generally matki can be eaten both sprouted and as whole beans.
An “usal” is a typical Maharashtrian dish made from beans (sprouted moong beans, black-eyed peas, lentils…). It is not a curry but more like a dry stir-fry dish. Not only are usals nutritious, but they are also simple to prepare. This dish can be made with either sprouted matki or just the whole bean. The beans need to be soaked overnight in plenty of water. Matki are readily available in any Indian grocery store. I encourage you to try this recipe and if you are unable to find matki, feel free to substitute any whole bean of your preference.
MATKI CHI USAL (Stir Fried Moath Beans)
2 cups matki (moath beans or you can also use whole green moong dal)
1 medium onion, finely diced
˝” piece of ginger, peeled & finely minced
˝ tsp black mustard seeds
˝ tsp turmeric
˝ tsp red chili powder
˝ tsp kala masala (or you can use garam masala)
salt to taste
2 tbsp oil
juice of ˝ a lemon
2 tbsp freshly grated coconut
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
finely diced red onion for garnish
lemon wedges for garnish
Soak the matki overnight in plenty of water. Rinse well, drain completely and discard the water. Boil the matki in plenty of water until just tender but not mushy. You could also do this using a pressure cooker. Set aside until needed.
In a large skillet on medium high heat, add the oil. When hot, carefully add the black mustard seeds. After the splattering subsides, add the onions & ginger. When the onions have just started turning brown in color, add the spices (turmeric, red chili powder, kala masala & salt). Stir & let the spices cook for a minute or so and then add the cooked matki. Stir well to combine, reduce the heat to low, cover & let simmer for 10-12 minutes. Lastly, add the lemon juice & freshly grated coconut. Mix well to combine all of the ingredients & garnish with cilantro leaves, red onion and lemon wedges. Serve hot with fresh chapatis and fragrant Basmati rice.
Try this recipe using sprouted beans, it's very easy to do and absolutely delicious. I also make this dish using masoor dal (brown lentils).
How to Sprout Beans, Lentils and Dals:
Only whole lentils, beans and dals can be sprouted. Rinse your dal carefully under cool running water. In a large bowl, soak the dal overnight in enough water to cover completely. Drain, rinse well and transfer the dal back to the bowl and cover with a slightly damp cheesecloth (or dish towel). Store in a dark warm area. Check periodically to make sure there is enough moisture, but you should see lovely sprouts within 24 hours.