-Submitted by Dahlia
(Beetroot With Crumbled Lentils)
Paruppu usili is a traditional dish prepared by the Tamil Brahmins. Traditionally it used to be prepared using vegetables like cluster beans, long beans and banana flower. These days people try out with other vegetables too. The good thins about this preparation is that the flavor of the vegetable is not very dominant. It can be prepared with vegetables that might otherwise be unappealing to you. In our house, beetroot is one such vegetable that always gets cornered. Whenever I prepare beetroot usili or other dishes in which the flavor of the beetroot is partially masked, everyone enjoys it. Do check out my beetroot page for more recipe ideas.
Talking about this dish, the soaked lentil is made into a paste and cooked until it crumbles up like upma. At this stage, the lentils tastes very good and can be served as such for a quick snack or side. This is combined with cooked beetroot and the final dish is very tasty. Usili is usually served with rice and is an excellent combination with moru curry. Try this beetroot usili and share your comments below.
Recipe For Beetroot Paruppu Usili
Preparation time: 45 minutes (including soaking time)
Cooking time: 30 minutes
- Beetroot - 1 big
- Tuvar dal - 1/4 cup
- Channa dal - 1/4 cup
- Dry red chilies - 3
- Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
- Salt - to taste
- Oil - 2 tbsp
- Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
- Curry Leaves - 1 sprig
- Wash the dal and soak them for about half an hour.
- Drain and grind to a coarse batter with salt, asafoetida and dry red chilies. Traditionally this is steamed and crumbled. You can do it this way or proceed using the alternate method that I have explained below.
- Take the ground lentil paste in a idli plate or a steamer basket. Steam it for at least 15 minutes or until the lentil mixture is well cooked.
- Once it cools a bit, remove it on to a plate. Crumble it with your fingers or using a food processor. Your lentil crumble is now ready.
- Peel the beetroot, wash it and grate it. You can also chop it in small cubes. Use hand gloves if you do not want to stain your fingers.
- Cook the beetroot on stove top or in the microwave for 5 minutes.
- Heat oil in a pan and pop the mustard seeds. Also add the curry leaves.
- Add the crumbled lentil mixture and fry for couple of minutes to roast it a little.
- At this stage add the cooked beetroot and mix. Cover and cook for another few minutes. Switch off and enjoy.
The above method is the traditional way but requires a pressure cooker or steamer. In case you do not have a pressure cooker or steamer, do not panic. Take the ground dal paste in a pan or kadai. Cook over medium low heat till the mixture cooks well and crumbles up. It takes a good 20-30 minutes. Using a good non stick pan really helps. After this step, you can follow the same procedure from step 5 as above.
- As I said before, usili is mostly served with rice and moru curry or vattal kuzhambu. It also goes well with simple rasam rice.
- It can be served as a salad, as a sidedish for any chapati or used to make sandwiches.
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