A pot full of surprise

Anugraha Rao
Wednesday, 15 January 2020

So long you may have had smoky sizzlers. Now, there’s Misal Pav with all that ‘hotness’. Head to Zakaas Misal to experience this magical dish

If you are looking for a combination of proteins and carbohydrates in a single dish, which is also affordable, then Misal Pav perfectly fits the bill. This snack packs a spicy punch and satiates your hunger. 

Misal Pav is a popular dish in Maharashtra, but nothing can beat the flavour of Kolhapuri Misal Pav with ‘dum’. Zakaas Misal — a specialised food joint for Dum Misal Pav, mentioned as Nikhara Misal Pav on the menu — is a place to try this unique dish. 

Ashok Erande came up with the idea to offer the authentic taste of Kolhapuri Misal Pav, however, with an added smoky flavour to it. Hence, he and his family launched the restaurant in 2014.  Currently, Ashok and his son Akshay Erande take care of the restaurant. 

Speaking about the importance of Misal Pav for Punekars, Akshay says, “People from all over Maharashtra love Misal. Hence, my father thought of launching a Misal Pav restaurant with a twist.”

The Erandes took the concept of Dum Biryani and added it to Misal. After a long  research and experiments, they launched the Misal centre in the city. “We observed that many other restaurants in Pune, Mumbai and other locations tried adding smoky Misal to their menu but failed. Our USP is our homemade ingredients and that can’t be copied,” says Akshay, adding, “My family members and the staff here knows how to prepare the Misal and the taste is consistent every time.  We do not have any special chef. The ingredients work their magic.”

Zakaas Misal is a family business, hence the recipe and ingredients remain a secret. Akshay, however, tells that the preparation is easy. Talking about its popularity, he says, “We can very confidently say that our customers love our product because we have people coming from different areas of Pune and Mumbai. Repeat customers proves our popularity.” 

The Misal is prepared in a small clay pot. The base has farsan, shev, chopped onions and coriander. On the top of these food items is a small clay bowl with hot charcoal and ghee added to it, making it smoky. The pot is covered with a lid so that the shev is infused with smoke. The pot is served on the table with the lid on. Once opened, the smoke escapes and creates a dramatic effect for this humble dish. 

Keeping customers in mind, Zakaas Misal has kept the price moderate, starting from Rs 70 onwards. The special Dum Misal Pav is priced at Rs 100. Apart from the speciality, Zakaas also serves regular food items like Chapati Bhaji, Pithla Bhakri, Shev Bhaji Thali, Poha, Upma, Sheera etc.

“To keep the authentic taste, we mainly focus on the ‘sample’ or the gravy. For different types of Misals like Jain Misal, Special Jain Nikhara Misal or Nikhara Misal, we prepare different samples,” he informs.

Nowadays, almost every restaurant offers online delivery. However, Zakaas Misal doesn’t have an online presence. “Though online is a good platform, Misal tastes best when it’s hot and served right from the kitchen. We were available online, however, we noticed that Misal lost its taste till the time it reached the customer. Hence, we left the online platform,” says Akshay.

Misal Pav is a spicy food item, but its pungency can be too much for some. Zakaas Misal also serves less spicy Misal Pav to suit all palates. 

Zakaas Misal, Thorle Madhavrao Peshwe Road, Vijayanagar Colony, Sadashiv Peth. Timings: Open daily, 8.30 am-6 pm

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