Monday, June 16, 2008

Paruppu Puttu/Usli Curry (Vegetables With Steamed Spicy Lentils)

Broccoli Paruppu Usli

Paruppu means Lentils in Tamil and usli means crumbles. Lentil-rich Paruppu Puttu/Usli compliments (not only in taste but also in protein) tart soupy dishes like Mor Kuzhambu, or Kootu/Curry, and Vattal Kuzhambu which contain no lentils. The lentils, seeds, and yogurt when eaten with grains combine to provide a hearty and nutritious meal. This dish defies translation or description; you just have to experience it! It is delicious by itself or served as a side dish.

Paruppu Puttu/Usli can be made with various vegetables like green cabbage, green beans, yard long beans, gavar beans, broccoli, etc and takes on the name of that vegetable - one example is "broccoli paruppu usli". Amma had the idea to make it with broccoli and now it is one of our favorites!

Cabbage Paruppu Usli
The paruppu (dal) part may be cooked 2 ways; steamed first or cooked in the skillet directly. If cooking directly in the pan, stir in the ground dal mixture after the thalippu is prepared and cook covered until the dal is cooked - about 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle a little water if it dries out and cook stirring every few minutes before adding the veggies.


1 cup Toor dal
1-2 Dry Red Chili
1 pinch Asafoetida (Hing)
1 tsp Salt
1 sprig fresh Curry Leaves, minced
1 lb Vegetable of your choice, finely chopped (about 4 cups)


2 to 4 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds
1 Tbsp Urad dal
1-2 dry red chile
1 pinch asafoetida (Hing)
1 sprig fresh Curry leaves


Sort the dal for stones or discolored beans. Wash and soak in fresh water for 1 hour.

Drain and grind coarsely along with the salt, asafoetida, curry leaves, and red chili using a food processor - food processor works very well as you can puree the dal without any water. Use a blender if a food processor is not available - grind coarsely - add water in very small quantities only when absolutely necessary to process.

Scoop out and place in an oiled small cake pan and steam over boiling water until cooked for about 15 minutes. Test by inserting a pick near center; if the pick comes out clean, it is cooked. Allow to cool. Coarsely crumble when cool.

Cook the chopped vegetables lightly in a microwave oven or steam them. If using cabbage, use raw without steaming.

Heat the oil in a skillet/wok/kadai and add mustard seeds, urad dal, and chili. When the mustard seeds pop, add the asafoetida and the curry leaves and the crumbled dal. Stir fry on low to medium heat for about 2-3 minutes.

Stir in the vegetables and stir fry until all is hot and veggies are done to your liking.

Serve hot or at room temperature with rice, chapatis, Mor Kuzhambu/Kootu/Curry, Gothsu, Vattal Kuzhambu, or as desired.


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