An offbeat from the regular Paruppu Usili recipes. Usili is roughly translated to steamed lentils. Usually lentils are soaked, crushed, steamed, fried and mixed with the vegetables and of course Oil takes a major role. I learnt the authentic type of preparing usili, the procedure as as said above. Usually Bengal gram and Yellow lentils are used for usili, But there are no hard and fast rules for making usili. I do prepare usili when I have enough time to prepare the lunch, as usili needs time to prepare.
The more common way of using beans in cooking is either poriyal or kurma. My mother combines carrot with beans. I am sure carrot and beans are always a combination in all dishes, even in vegetable briyani the two vegetables go hand in hand. My mother normally prepares carrot beans poriyal as an accompaniment to pulikuzhambu. The Spicy curry goes well with the subtle beans carrot poriyal, my favourite combination.
Normally beans are used for usili, other than beans, it’s cluster beans and carrots.
Lentils are used in certain ratio and soaked for about two hours. They are blended to coarse mixture along with chilies. This mixture is steamed and again dried in a pan by adding oil till crispy texture. Then Cooked vegetables are added with required salt and served as accompanied with rice.
There are many variations in usili recipe. Some don’t steam the crushed lentils, the ground mixture is directly added in a pan and cooked by adding oil to avoid sticking at the bottom. Its a time consuming work as the mixture has to be cooked on low heat. Of course oil is added luxuriously 🙂
A zero difficulty usili recipe where the vegetable and Split dehusked green gram undergo same the cooking process tempered with a teaspoon of oil 🙂
Servings : 3
Time : 20 Minutes
¼ Kg Cup Beans
1/3 Cup Split dehusked Green gram
3 Red Whole Chilies
¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
¼ tsp Mustard Seeds
¼ tsp Urad dhal
¼ tsp Asafoetida
1 Sprig curry leaves
1. Wash and dice beans trimming the edges.
2. In a bowl add beans and washed green gram.
3. The beans and lentils should be cooked in a double boiler method.
Cook the beans and gram without adding water and place the bowl in a cooker with one cup of water. Cook for 1 whistle and remove from heat.
4. Tempering part – add oil in a kadai and add mustard seeds, after mustard seeds splutter add urad dhal, asafoetida and curry leaves
5. Now add cooked bean mixture and give a swirl with required salt and turmeric powder.
6. Keep on low flame for 5 mins and serve with rice.
The gram should be in al dente consistency, shouldn’t be over cooked. The lentils, if over cooked, will become mushy and the fry will get into kootu consistency.
You can add grated coconut if you wish for a richer taste. If so add at the last stage of the process, ie before removing from heat. The coconut gratings can be dry roasted in a pan for an extra flavour.