If there is one south Indian meal combination that I could eat almost everyday, its definitely mor kozhambu, beans paruppu usili and jeera rasam. Paruppu Usili is nothing but steam cooked lentils which are crumbled and mixed with a vegetable like green beans, cluster beans, cabbage or cauliflower. Since there is a lot of lentils in the side dish, the entrée it is served with usually doesn’t have any lentils and therefore mor kozhambu is a popular choice. This paruppu usili recipe from Meenakshi Ammal’s “Cook and See” part 2 uses only Bengal gram, but i like my usili with Bengal gram and split pigeon peas, so I have used a combination of both lentils.
3/4 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/4 cup Bengal gram/channa dal
1/4 cup split pigeon peas/toor dal
5 dried red chilies
1/2 teaspoon powdered asafetida
2 teaspoons oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
5 curry leaves
1. Soak the lentils along with dried red chilies in water for at least an hour.
2. Drain the water completely and grind the lentils and chilies along with powdered asafetida and enough salt to a coarse paste. If needed, sprinkle some water, do not add too much water as this would affect the consistency of the curry.
3. Place the chopped beans along with a pinch of salt in a saucepan and add enough water to cover the beans and let it cook on medium flame until tender. Drain and set aside.
4. While the beans is getting cooked, lightly grease an idli plate and spread the ground lentils on the plate. Steam cook the lentils for 10minutes in a pressure cooker or steamer. Alternatively, you can grease a microwave safe plate with oil and spread the lentils on the plate and cook in microwave for 8 minutes.
5. Once the lentils are steam cooked, let it cool completely. You can either crumble the lentils by hand or pulse them for few seconds in a food processor. I personally prefer the food processor, so you get uniform crumbles.
6. Heat oil in a pan. When oil is hot, add mustard seeds and let it splutter.
7. Add turmeric powder and curry leaves, let it cook for 20 seconds.
8. Add crumbled lentils and sauté for few minutes until they turn golden brown and fragrant.
9. Add cooked beans and mix well.
10. Check for salt and add more if required.