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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Mathan Erissery

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More than half of 2013 is over and none of my new year resolutions are half full. My weight loss plan is at a total loss and my regular blogging resolution is also quite questionable now. 

I wish I could turn a blind eye and pretend that everything is fine. Just the way I am doing with my weight plan :D. Unfortunately, for the blogging part, I am not able to do it. So here I am…trying to get back in track.

And it’s so tough! Because there is nobody else, you just have to push yourself to do it. Blogging doesn’t earn me an income, it takes away a lot of my time and worse, it makes me fat! Spending endless hours looking at others recipes make me hungry. So I have the cookie jar in one side and the laptop on the other. (I know its my problem, but I still blame irresistibly styled pretty pictures of food!)

But then again, I do this for myself. Because I love food. And I love talking. And I love clicking food.

And I love it that someone is reading it in some remote corner of the world. And that’s why I am here.

erissery

 

My back to track recipe is a traditional dish prepared in a slightly nontraditional way. My son likes this consistency, not mashed but most of the times the pumpkin will just disintegrate when cooking it. We don’t use onions and garlic for this dish traditionally, but it’s used in some other parts of Kerala. Again, since my son likes this taste, I have added it.

I am sending this recipe to Susan’s My Legume Love Affair now taken over by Lisa and hosted this month by Aparna Balasubramanian.

Serves :  3-4

Ingredients:

  • Pumpkin (Poosanikkai/Mathan)   :     2 cups, seeded, peeled and diced
  • Black eyed peas                                     :     3/4 cup
  • Coconut                                                    :      1 cup, scrapped
  • Jeera                                                          :      1/2 tsp
  • Green Chillies (or red)                       :      1 -2, per taste
  • Red Chillies                                            :      1
  • Mustard seeds                                       :      1 tsp
  • Curry leaves                                           :      one sprig
  • Garlic                                                        :       2 cloves (optional)
  • Onion                                                        :      1, chopped fine (optional)
  • Oil                                                               :      2 tsp (for tempering)
  • Salt

Method:

  1. First thing to make sure is that you have all the ingredients. Soak the peas first for 30 minutes. I cooked them along with rice for about 5 – 6 whistles. It turned out to be soft, but still retaining its shape. This can even be done a day before to save time. You need to drain and cool the cooked peas and refrigerate it.
  2. Clean, seed, peel and dice the pumpkin. In a pressure cooker, cook this for one whistle. Sometimes I pressure cook the peas and pumpkin together for 2-3 whistles. This might lead to the pumpkin being overcooked, but that fine. That’s how it usually is!
  3. Grind the coconut, jeera, garlic (if using) and green chilies without adding any water. Keep aside 1/4th of this mixture. We will use this for seasoning. Add two tbsp water to the rest of the coconut mix and grind till smooth.
  4. In a kadai, heat oil and saute the onions brown. If you are not using onions, skip the oil and just add the cooked pumpkin pieces and the peas to the kadai. When it comes to a boil, add the ground coconut and salt. Let it boil for about 4-5 minutes. You can add some water if you want to at this stage, but I didn’t want mine to be a gravy. Do a taste test and adjust salt or add a pinch of chili powder if required. Take off the heat and keep aside.
  5. In a small kadai, add 2 tsp oil. Add the mustard seeds, one red chili and curry leaves. Once the seeds crackle, add the reserved 1/4th portion of the coconut mix. Saute till its brown and releases a nice aroma. Switch off the gas and top the prepared erisseri with this. Serve as a side dish to rice with sambar and papaddam.

Note: As this is made of sweet yellow pumpkin, the taste is slightly sweet. You need to add more chilies according to your taste.

You can try adding the red variety of beans (van payar).  You can use raw bananas, yam or a combination of both for vegetables as well.

I was short on the coconut, so I had to skip it while tempering mustard seeds. But the roasted coconut is the best part of the dish, so please don’t skip it!

erissery

Qabooli Pulao

I have no idea where to start this post. The mind is still in a frozen state, not sure whether to be happy about our apartment or just go on worrying about it. The thing is, we received the raw end of the deal – a deal which should have been exciting and fantastic for us.

I think its time to actually leave all the thoughts – positive, negative and neutral, behind and just move on with the flow. The flow of life, that takes decisions for us, when we are unable to do so. That makes life easy for us. That brings back the smile to our face, even when things look really forlorn.

That teaches us to be grateful for what we have, and not to forget about those people, whose struggle in life is a hundred times harder than ours.

Yes, I am grateful. For everything about my life.

Time for Blogging Marathon again and this time I have chosen the theme – Cook by Alphabets. Instead of choosing an easy series from ‘A to G’, I have chosen to start with a dish with ‘Q’ and end with ‘W’, the sole reason behind this weird choice is that I had a recipe draft which started with ‘W’!

I came across this Qabooli Pulao in a recipe book by Sanjeev Kapoor. I saw this at a friend’s place and just noted the measurements and the method.

Ingredients:

  • Rice                                  :   1 1/2 cups
  • Bengal gram                  :   1/2 cup
  • Salt
  • Green Cardamoms     :   4-5
  • Cinnamon sticks         :  two 1″pieces
  • cloves                              :  4-5
  • Turmeric Powder      : 1/2 tsp
  • Oil                                     : 1 tbsp
  • Ginger garlic paste    : 1/2 tbsp
  • Green chilies                : 2-3, chopped
  • Onions                            : 4 -5
  • Coriander                      : 1 tbsp, chopped
  • Yogurt                            : 1 cup
  • Mint                                 : about 10 leaves
  • Lemon Juice                 : 2 tbsp

Method:

  1. Soak rice for half an hour. Boil in 3 cups of water with salt and 2 green cardamoms, cinnamon sticks, and cloves, until done. Drain and keep aside.
  2. Soak Bengal gram for half an hour and cook in one cup of water with salt and 1/4 tsp turmeric powder. The dal shouldn’t be over cooked.
  3. Slice the onions. Heat oil in a pan, add the onions and saute till brown. Remove half the amount and then add the cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon, green chilies and ginger garlic paste. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the cooked dal, turmeric powder, coriander leaves and mix thoroughly. Remove from heat, add yogurt and mix.
  5. To assemble: Layer the serving dish with half of the dal mix. Layer half of the rice on top of it and top it with sauteed onions, mint, saffron and lemon juice.
  6. Top this again with the dal mix, followed by another layer of rice, onions and other toppings. As you can see, I started with the rice layer and so ended up with a dal layer!
  7. Cover and cook for 20 minutes and serve hot.

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Dali Thoy (or dali toi) – A Simple Dal, the Konkani way

The one thing that is famous about Chennai, is the hot climate here. Its hot here! No, let me rephrase it – its HOT here. It is only half way through in March and I am finding the heat now itself as unbearable. God knows what I am going to do when the ‘real’ summer starts two months from now. That’s when the burning heat starts.

Oh the head explodes, even at the very thought of summer. Cooling down has never been more important and no better time than now, to crave for comfort food. And thank god, dali thoy is one.

For Blog Hop Wednesdays, I have been paired with Sumedha of Sumee’s Culinary. I tried her delicious Kadhi recipe first, but it got over before I could even get the camera out. Then I made this simple Daali Thoy, a Konkani dish that I have been planning to make for a long time. Thanks Sumedha, for sharing these.

Ingredients:

  • Toor Dal                                          :           1 cup
  • Green Chillies                                :           2-3, per taste
  • Ginger                                               :           1″ piece, grated or chopped fine
  • Turmeric Powder                        :           1/4 tsp

Tempering

  • Ghee                                                  :            1-2  tsp
  • Mustard Seeds                              :            1 tsp
  • Red Chillies                                    :            1-2
  • Curry leaves                                  :            a sprig
  • Asafoetida                                      :            a pinch

Method:

  1. Wash toor dal and add the slit green chillies, grated ginger, turmeric powder to it. Pressure cook it for 4-5 whistles or till the dal is cooked.
  2. Once the pressure drops, take the dal out and mash it thoroughly (I took the chillies out and then gave a round in the mixie).
  3. Heat ghee in a kadai, add mustard seeds and asafoetida. Once the mustard splutters, add the red chillies and curry leaves.
  4. Add the dal to it. If the dal is too thick, you can adjust the constituency by adding water.
  5. Add the required amount of salt and let it boil for 4-5 minutes. Take off the heat. Serve with white rice, a spicy side dish of your choice and a pickle.

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