Parippu Usili

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I have been married long enough to guess almost correctly the contents of the grocery shopping bag if the man does the shopping. The bag would have beans, kovakka, cabbage and it would definitely have kothavaranga (cluster beans).

Cluster beans prepared as usili is his absolute favorite. We pair it with vatha kuzhambu or mor kuzhambu, basically with some gravy that doesn’t have lentils in it. That’s because enough and more lentils go into the preparation of usili.

I always thought the dish was time-consuming, so I would prepare double the quantity of the lentils and freeze one portion of the prepared usili. I don’t like freezing cluster beans as it becomes mushy when you defrost it. My MIL told me that instead of steaming I can pressure cook the ground lentils. The advantage is that I can get it pressure cooked along with rice, so it’s not an additional task anymore. These pictures were taken before the pressure cooker method, so it’s an improvisation that makes the dish a little more simpler.

Read on for the recipe.

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Pictorial

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Soak equal quantities of toor dal and chana dal for at least 3 hours. Here, I have used 1/4 cup each. The proportions and even the dal used vary from home to home.

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Cook your choice of vegetable with salt as needed and turmeric powder. Cluster beans or beans are popular options. Here, I have pressure cooked 2 cups of cluster beans with enough water for one whistle. Drain and keep the vegetable aside. 

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Grind the soaked dals into a coarse paste (no need to add water) with 3-4 red chillies with required amount of salt and a good pinch of hing. 

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Pressure cook for 3-4 whistles or steam the ground dal mix for 10 minutes. Once it’s completely cooked, it would have become a solid block like idli. You will have to crumble it up using hands or a food processor. If you are pressure cooking, you can pulse this in the same food processor or mixie to get fluffy crumbled usili. Pulse in the mixer a couple of times to fluff up the cooked dal, do not grind into a paste. 

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In a pan, heat oil and splutter 1 teaspoon mustard seeds. Once the seeds crackle, add the crumbled dal mix and let it cook until the color changes slightly.

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Add the cooked vegetable and mix well. Check the seasonings and adjust per taste. Let the flavors mingle for 3-4 minutes and then take off the heat.

Since this side dish is high on lentils, it’s usually served with some gravies that doesn’t have lentils in it.

Ingredients:

To grind together

  • 1/4 cup toor dal, soaked for 3 hours at least
  • 1/4 cup chana dal, soaked for 3 hours at least
  • 3-4 dried red chillies
  • a good pinch of hing
  • 4-5 curry leaves, optional
  • salt as needed

For completing the dish

  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 cups cluster beans, cooked
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • salt as needed

Method:

  1. Soak equal quantities of toor dal and chana dal for at least 3 hours. I used 1/4 cup each. The proportions and even the dal used vary from home to home.
  2. Cook your choice of vegetable with salt as needed and turmeric powder. Cluster beans or beans are popular options. I used 2 cups of pressure cooked cluster beans.
  3. Grind the soaked dals with 3-4 red chillies, a sprig of curry leaves, a good pinch of hing and salt as needed.
  4. Pressure cook for 3-4 whistles or steam the ground dal mix for 10 minutes. Once it’s completely cooked, it would have become a solid block like idli. You will have to crumble it up using hands or a food processor.
  5. If you are pressure cooking, you can pulse this in the mixer to get fluffy crumbled usili.Pulse, don’t grind. You will get a paste if you do it.
  6. In a pan, heat oil and splutter 1 teaspoon mustard seeds. Once the seeds crackle, add the crumbled dal mix and let it cook until the color changes slightly.
  7. Add the cooked vegetable and mix well. Check the seasonings and adjust per taste. Let the flavors mingle for 3-4 minutes and then take off the heat. Since this side dish is high on lentils, it’s usually served with some gravies that doesn’t have lentils in it.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 58

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14 thoughts on “Parippu Usili

  1. Sowmya:) says:

    Parippu usili and mor kozhambu is a regular weekend meal here. I have never tried pressure cooking it. Makes it much more simpler. Lovely dish!

    Like

  2. Pavani says:

    I love usili but it requires some pre-planning which I’m quite poor at. Your pressure cooker tip is quite useful. My mom just cooks it in the pan until the mixture dries out and it works out for me every time.

    Like

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