Monday 26 May 2014

Paruppu Usili (பருப்பு உசிலி)

A frequent item in the feast menu, this delicious preparation is rich in protein. 

Ingredients: (Serves four)
Vegetables – ¼ kg, cut into small pieces *
Turmeric powder – ¼ teaspoon
Dried red chilli – 3 no (குண்டு மிளகாய் வத்தல்)
Salt – to taste
Toor dhal or Bengal gram dhal – ¾ teacup or 150ml measure
Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
Split urad dhal – ½ teaspoon
Cooking oil – 2 tablespoons
Asafoetida – a pinch
Curry leaves – a few

*Cabbage, broad beans (அவரைக்காய்), cluster beans (கொத்தவரங்காய்), French beans, plantain flower and cauliflower may be prepared in this manner.
Cauliflower: Use a medium sized cauliflower for the quantity of ingredients mentioned in the recipe. Separate the small florets. Boil adequate water and add a tablespoon of salt to the boiling water. Switch off the fire. Add the florets to the boiling water and cover with a lid. Allow it to stand for 5 minutes. Drain the water. Rinse again with cold water, before using it to prepare usili. 
Plantain flower: Use one plantain flower (வாழைப்பூ) for the quantity of ingredients mentioned in the recipe. Under each layer of purplish brown skin you will find neatly arranged yellowish white florets. Separate the florets. Discard the covering purplish brown skin. Separate the florets. Remove the thick central stamen (கள்ளன்) from each floret. Add a ladle of butter milk to half a liter of water. Keep this mixture ready before starting to cut the florets. Cut the florets into tiny bits and add them to the water mixture and boil with enough salt. Once it is cooked, strain through a colander. You may use the cooked vegetable for making usili after it is fully drained.

Cluster beans Paruppu Usili (கொத்தவரங்காய் பருப்பு உசிலி)
Method: Soak the dhal in warm water for two hours. Grind the dhal, required salt, asafoetida and red chillies into a fine paste. Keep aside. Mix the cut vegetables, turmeric powder and salt well in a kadai. Sprinkle a tablespoon of water, cover and cook on a low flame till the vegetable is done. 

Heat the oil in a different kadai, add mustard seeds, when they start to sputter, add urad dhal and fry till the dhal turn golden brown. Now add the ground paste, mix well, cover and cook on low flame. Turn it once or twice. After 5 minutes, remove the lid and cook the paste on low heat, turning it every now and then, till it crumbles (நன்கு உதிர்ந்து வரும் வரை). If there are clumps, break them with the spoon. Once the paste is fully crumbled, add the cooked vegetable and mix well. Switch off the fire after a minute. Garnish with curry leaves. Serve hot with rice and rasam/ kuzhambu/ sambar. 

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