Saturday, 30 June 2012

Paruppu Usili - Whistle podu

One dish that I could never get right is the paruppu usili. Failed miserably the first time I attempted it and gave up after that (chee chee indha pazham pulikkum). But then when I realized S liked this a lot, I wanted to learn how to make it and make it good.

I'd been trying out various recipes but nothing felt right. Came to my rescue, executive chef and dear friend, Padmanabhan. He sent me a recipe that was absolutely brilliant, and I have surpassed myself each time I have made it.

Paruppu usili is made with a coarsely ground channa dal (kadala paruppu) and an assortment of vegetables. It's best eaten with morekozhambu (spiced yoghurt).

Couple of things to be noted while making usili

a. There should be more usili than the vegetables.
b. It should be dry and coarse, and not feel like chunks of little balls sitting amidst the vegetables.


Bengal gram: 150 gm
Red Chilli (whole)- 50 gm
Asafoetida - a pinch
Oil - 2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Curry leaves - 1 stick
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Green chilli - 3 - 4
Urad dal - 20 gm (optional)
Grated coconut (optional) - 2 tsp (I do not use coconut in my preparation)
Chopped coriander - a handful (save some for garnish)

Vegetables - chopped finely and boiled. You can add salt here. (Preferred vegetables here - fresh green beans, cluster beans, capsicum. If using capsicum, do not boil)


Soak the bengal gram in water, for half hour. Grind coarsely, along with the chillies (red and green), coriander, cumin, asafoetida and salt. Add very less water, so it doesn't become a paste.

Steam this mixture in an idli cooker, for about 15-20 minutes (in an electric cooker). Remove and break using a fork / spoon. (I prefer to do this using my fingers). It should be a dry mixture. This is the paruppu usili. This can be pre-made & stored in the refrigerator for later use.

Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan, add mustard seeds. Once it splutters, add the asafoetida and the vegetables. Saute for a bit, and then add the lentil mixture (usili). Mix well for a while. Garnish with coriander leaves, and serve hot.

Off now to eat this for lunch ! 

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Munch on....