- 1 ½ cups dried green pea
- 2 jalapeno or serrano chilies, finely minced
- 1 ½ inch piece of ginger, finely minced
- 2 sprigs of mint
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon dhana-jeeru (spice blend of ground coriander and cumin)
- 2 teaspoons salt or to taste
- Small (golf ball size) piece of jaggary or 3 teaspoons sugar (optional)
- Juice of one lemon
- 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro, for garnish
- 1 cup thin sev (crispy chickpea flour noodles), for serving, See Note.
- ½ cup tamarind-date chutney, for serving
- ½ cup cilantro chutney, for serving
- Water as needed
- For Vaghar (tempering):
- 3 tablespoons olive or canola oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 medium sized red onion, finely diced (reserve half for serving)
- 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- Pick through peas to remove any impurities and soak them in 3 cups of water for 6 to 8 hours or overnight.
- Remove excess water to keep just enough water to cover peas. Cook in a medium sized Dutch oven or soup pot with cover until peas are tender, about 45 minutes.
- Uncover, add mint sprigs, green chilies, ginger, turmeric, dhana-jeeru, salt and jiggery or sugar. Let it simmer while you prepare vaghar.
- Prepare Vaghar: In a small heavy bottomed pot, heat oil until shimmers. Add cumin and mustard seeds and let them sizzle. Add garlic and sauté it for 30 seconds. Add half of chopped onion, garam masala, and chili powder and sauté them until onion is light golden brown. Pour over simmering peas (usal). Stir the peas to blend spices.
- Let peas simmer for 10-12 minutes. Add lemon juice and let it simmer for 5 more minutes. If usal is too thick add some water. Remove mint sprigs. Garnish with cilantro.
- To cook usal in Instant Pot: Follow step 1. You can omit soaking pea but it will speed up cooking process. Set instant pot to sauté setting for 30 minutes. Once hot, heat oil until shimmers. Add cumin and mustard seeds and let them sizzle. Add garlic and sauté it for 30 seconds. Add half of chopped onion, garam masala, and chili powder and sauté them until onion is light golden brown. Drain peas and add them to pot and cover with water. Add mint sprigs, green chilies, ginger, turmeric, dhana-jeeru, and salt. Set instant pot to pressure cook and set time for 30 minutes. For unsoaked peas increase time to 50 minutes. Once peas are cooked, release steam, uncover and set to sauté setting for 15 minutes. Remove mint sprigs, and add jiggery or sugar and lemon juice. Let peas simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.
- To serve: Pour hot usal in a soup bowl, spread about ¼ cup of sev on top. Top with tamarind-date chutney and cilantro chutney. Garnish with about teaspoon of chopped red onion. Usal can be served as an appetizer or lunch as a soup.