This is a dry vegetable preparation made from French beans and tuvar dal . This is a Tamil preparation and is a very nutritious combination of vegetable and protein-rich dal (lentils). “Parippu” in Tamil means dal.
1/4 kg french beans
1 cup tuvar dal
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp asafetida powder
2 red chillies or according to taste
1 sprig curry leaves
salt to taste
1 tsp mustard seeds
1- 2 tsps urad dal
2 -3 tbsps oil
Soak the tuvar dal for about an hour and drain well. Grind the dal, turmeric and asafetida powders, red chillies, curry leaves and salt into a pate without adding water.
Make small patties and steam cook (in an idli stand) for about 10 minutes. Or pat the paste flat onto a plate and steam cook. Cool slightly and crumble by hand.
If the steam cooked batter is too hard to crumble easily( this happens sometimes if it cools down), use a grater.
String, chop the beans into small pieces and cook with a little salt till well done but firm. I prefer to do this in the microwave.
Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the urad dal. When this browns, add the cooked beans. Stir a couple of times and add the crumbled dal. Mix and cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, till the dal starts becoming crisp. The Usili is ready to serve.
Traditionally, this goes well as an accompaniment to rice and a non-dal based gravy like morkootan (a curd/ yoghurt based Palakkad Iyer dish) or even rasam.
This goes to Out Of The Garden as my entry for JFI - December.