Sev Usal

If you are a Gujarati, then you have definitely had one or the other version of this dish. It’s a close cousin to Mumbai’s Misal Paav. They are similar in taste and textures but also different ingredients-wise. Also if you are a Barodian (from a town in Gujarat called Baroda) and you have tried the ‘tari’ walu usal from Mahakali then you exactly know what I mean about the kick-ass taste.

Sev usal is basically a curry made with onion tomato gravy cooked with boiled dried peas. It’s very comforting and delicious for this weather. The curry has all warming spices and is topped with the garlicky ‘tari’ to give it a spicy kick. You can also add raw onions, cilantro, gathiya, tikhi/spicy sev, chutneys etc. Now with Instant Pot its so easy to make this in one pot and truly less time-consuming. It’s usually paired with fresh out of the oven paav which tastes amazing with the spicy hot usal.

Paav recipe is from abitwholesomely laadi paav, but make sure you let them rise for the full time she says in her method, it’s not a process you can hurry up. I have made them before as well, and the paav come out nice and fluffy every time.

So let’s jump into this super simple recipe.




1.5 cups Dried green peas
4 cups of water
1 medium onion
2 small tomatoes
4-5 garlic cloves
1-inch ginger
1 tsp green chilies
Whole garam masala – 1 cinnamon sticks, 3 cloves, 1 black cardamom, 1 bay leaf
1 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp coriander cumin powder
2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
a pinch of hing
1/2 tsp mustard seeds

For tari (easier version)
2 tbsp Spicy Garlic chutney
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp oil


  • Soak the dried peas for 2 hours. This step is optional, and you can make it directly as well, see steps below.
  • In a blender add chopped up onions, garlic, and ginger and blend it into a smooth paste.
  • Keep it aside, and do the same for tomatoes, blend then into a paste.
  • Start the instant pot on saute mode. Once it’s Hot, add oil to it. Add the whole garam masala and let it cook for 2 mins.
  • Add hing, mustard seeds, turmeric powder, and the onion paste. Cook for 5-7 mins.
  • Add the green chili paste and tomatoes. Cook for another 8 or so minutes until water is absorbed and the gravy is cooked through.
  • Add salt, red chili powder, garam masala, and coriander cumin powder. Add the dried peas and the water.
  • Pressure cook on high for 30-35 mins. (If you soaked for more than 2 hours, it should be done in 30 mins max. If not you might have to cook for 5-10 more minutes).
  • Let it naturally release pressure, do not rush this. Open the lid and check for the peas, they should get mashed easily with a spatula or in your fingers. Mix it thoroughly and adjust for spices.
  • If the usal is very thick you could add some water and let it simmer. If it’s too thin, then just let it cook on saute mode for a few minutes until it thickens up. It should be a medium consistency, very thin curry won’t be as flavorsome.
  • Serve this with chopped onions, cilantro and thick sev. Don’t forget to top it with the spicy garlicky chutney broth – tari, method as below.
  • For tari – in a small tadka pan, add oil, add the garlic chutney and water and let it come to boil. Set it aside for topping it off on the usal. See Notes below.

Note – this tari method above is an easier version because I do not have the time to make the long version in day to day life. Trust me it still gives the best flavors. But just FYI the real tari is made with a paste of shallots, garlic cloves, whole garam masala, whole Kashmiri red chilies. You could certainly make a big batch of the paste and freeze it and use it as and when needed.


Hope you try this warm and comforting dish, which a perfect accompaniment to this chilly weather.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Atul Kaji says:

    My favourite dish…!

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