Mumbai's Aaswad wins big in the global Foodie Hub awards with its missal pav

Missal pav at Aaswad


My missal pav story started with my first office canteen in Mumbai.
 
The food in the canteen of this Dadar based office was quite a disappointment after the indulgent food served in the canteen of the Kolkata branch of the same office where I had come from.
 
One of the few dishes that I took to in the Mumbai office was the missal pav which was a fixture for breakfast.

The spicy gram curry reminded me of the Bengali motor (Bengal gram) ghoogni. The addition of farsan, which was like the chanachur sold in non Bengali shops in Kolkata, was intriguing and exciting. I had grown up eating  chanachur with muri (rice crisps) in the evening so this Maharashtrian dish strangely enough bridged the gap for me with home when I had just moved out. I must say  though that many of my Bengali friends are not too fond of missal pav. I took to the crunchy bites of farsan interspersed in the spicy curry though and would often mop it up with pav (local bread) as a mid morning snack.

Years later I heard the Masterchef Australia judges tell us that one should look for the contrast of textures in a dish.

The inventor of missal already knew this it seems!
 
My next encounter with missal pav happened at Parel where I went to an office with an even more forgettable canteen. There was a restaurant called New Sardar next door. It is shut now I am told. The owner then was very proud of his missal pav which he told me had apparently won the best missal pav in a Times of India contest. I often used to order the missal pav which he used to send to my office in a dabba. This was a spicy, oily version too like the one in my earlier office canteen.
 
I then had missal in Prakash and Aaswad, two Maharashtrian restaurants in Dadar and later in Girgaom's Vinay Health Home. I found these to be a lot less spicier than the ones at Sardar and in my former office canteen. These were more like home food, light, didn't tax your digestive system. The farsan crunch still adding to the enjoyment. In fact I found the one at Vinay slightly on the sweeter side. The owner of Vinay told me this was thanks to an increasing Gujarati clientele.

These missals are a far cry from the famous spicy Mamledar Missal of Thane and have a far more peaceful flavor note. Someone told me that the missal in the restaurants in Dadar is of the Puneri (Pune) style and hence not that spicy unlike say the ones from Kolhapur.
 
Sometime back it was nomination time for the Foodie Hub (formerly Chowzter) global Fast Feast Awards. Here you have city reps from across the world giving their nominations across categories and then the winners are chosen by a central jury.
 
As the Mumbai rep I tried to give nominations which represent the ethos of the city to me. Earlier in the year, Sneha from Mumbai had won in the Asia awards for its beef fry.

The moment I saw the vegetarian category this time around I thought of missal pav as that is the local Maharashtrian vegetarian dish that I like the most. Plus it straddles the occasions of breakfast and lunch. Most options of the dish are easy on the pocket. It's a dish which has fed the worker bees of Mumbai for long. Seemed perfect to be called a vegetarian 'fast feast' which represents Mumbai.
 
Within missal pavs, I like the option at Aaswad the most these days and that's the one nominated.
 
I was quite thrilled when then results were announced sometime later.

 I got to know that Aaswad's missal pav was announced as a winner in the best vegetarian category in the awards ceremony held in London.

It apparently beat competition which included dishes from restaurants in Athens, Barcelona and Rio De Janiero.
 
As a Mumbaikar I felt supremely proud.
 
Hearty congratulations to the Sarjoshis of Aaswad on their win.
 
 
 
 
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