Green Beans Paruppu Usili

Green Beans and Lentil Crumb

This recipe is a classic ! A childhood favorite of mine..still is and the best part is my children enjoy it as much as I do. This is a time consuming recipe (in today’s fast paced set up ) but very very easy to make. It is totally worth your time and I will also leave some quick/ time saving alternatives here and there just in case! Do not get intimidated by the multistep process, it is honestly an easy recipe to put together. Tastes so so good and a good bowl of this can be a meal…you don’t need anything else with it. It is that good and wholesome !

What is it? The famous Paruppu Usili of Tamil Nadu! Paruppu means dal/lentil and Usili stands for that crumbly texture. This dish is all about the texture….perfectly cooked and crumbled lentils and a vegetable cooked right come together to balance it all. Overcooking will result in a completely different dish…still edible…but will not be a Usili. Using coconut oil for tempering definitely elevates the taste.

For this recipes I have used a mixture of Toor Dal / Split Pigeon Peas, Chana Dal / Split Bengal Gram Dal, Mung Dal / Split Yellow Mung and a teaspoon of White Urad dal. Traditionally this recipe uses only the Toor Dal / Thuvaram Paruppu. But I like using this combination for I believe it makes for a very fragrant and delicious Usili. One can use all Mung Dal as well. The process will be the same as long as one uses split lentils.

This Usili is eaten with rice mixed with rasam or kuzhambu (tamarind based stew). Steam some white rice, add this usili and a dollop of ghee or a teaspoon of coconut oil …..good enough ! If avoiding rice, mix it with oats or quinoa or millets or any grain of choice. Wash it all down with a glass of chilled buttermilk..delish! This has a very versatile appeal despite being a traditional recipe.

Prep Time : 30 minutes to soak lentils in hot water
15 minutes to prep everything else
Cook Time : 30 to 45 minutes (including cooling time)
Spice Level : 🌶🌶Ease Level : 😃
Serves – 4 to 6 Sides / Curry

Recipe : Paruppu Usili

Ingredients :

  1. Toor Dal : 1 cup
  2. Mung Dal : 1/2 cup
  3. Chana Dal : 2 tablespoon
  4. Urad Dal : 1 tablespoon
  5. Dry red chili – 2 for mild heat level
  6. Curry leaves – few
  7. Asafetida – 1/8 teaspoon
  8. Salt to taste
  9. Turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon
  10. Coconut oil – at least 2 tablespoon
  11. Green Beans finely chopped – 2 cups
  12. Black mustard seeds : 1 teaspoon

Notes :

  • Instead of Asafetida use grated ginger. helps in digestion of this lentil curry.
  • Replace entire lentil list with just yellow split mung dal or all toor dal if you want.
  • For tempering coconut oil is the best. But feel free to use any oil you like, maybe not EVOO.
  • Soaking the split lentils in hot water saves time, but one can soak them overnight in room temperature water. Remember to rinse out the water if you believe in that.
  • Use veggies like fresh green beans, cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, chayote squash, banana flower, kale, anything but root veggies or tubers will work well.
  • I keep the proportion of veggies to lentils almost equal, your choice.
  • When grinding the lentils,make a coarse paste with as less water as possible. I love using my food processor for this.
  • I soak the red chilis with the lentils so that they will grind well. Optional.
  • I also grind some curry leaves with the lentils so that the kids do not pick it out LOL !
  • Use any herb of choice like mint, cilantro, parsley.
  • You can grease a microwave safe glass / ceramic bowl and add this mixture and cook it in a microwave as well. Remember to cook at 80% power, removing and stirring every 2 minutes initially and every minute towards the end. Will take about 10 to 12 minutes depending on the wattage of the microwave. One must diligently stir and keep a close watch..I would highly recommend steaming the lentil paste.

How to :

  1. Wash and drain the soaked lentils. Add them to a food processor or a blender that can grind with minimal water, say 2 to 3 tablespoon. Add the lentils, dry red chili and curry leaves. Grind to a coarse paste with very little water.
  2. Transfer to a mixing bowl, add salt to taste and turmeric powder. Mix well. Prep your steamer/ idli pot for steaming the patties.
  3. Form 2 or 3 inch sized, 1/2 inch thick patties and arrange them in a greased steamer insert to steam. Steam for at least 10 to 12 minutes or until well done. Insert a fork or knife in the center of a patty and it must come out clean.
  4. Remove the steamed patties, let it cool enough for you to either crumble it with your hands or throw it in the food processor and give it a whirl. It should resemble the couscous in texture and size.
  5. While the lentil patties are cooling down, heat a skillet, add the coconut oil, then the mustard seeds, let it crackle.
  6. Next add the asafetida or ginger, additional curry leaves if you wish and the finely chopped green beans. Sprinkle some salt, cover and cook for not more than 5 minutes, stirring once in between. Leave them al dente / with a crunch.
  7. Now add the crumbled lentil mixture, toss well, check for salt and cover it with a lid. Let it sit on low heat for 2 to 3 minutes until the flavors come together well.
  8. Remove from heat, transfer to serving bowl or storage container. Eat warm with rice or any cooked grain of choice. A side of rasam or kuzhambu is also a great combo.
Soaked Lentils and dry red chilis

Although this is a multistep recipe, it is a very doable one. The maiden attempt can be a bit challenging, but once you understand the taste and texture, you can improvise and make it your own. I hope you enjoy this Green Beans Paruppu Usili as much as we do! Thank you for stopping by!

2 thoughts on “Green Beans Paruppu Usili

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