Step by step guide with a detailed video for making Beans Paruppu Usili, a South Indian style green beans and lentil crumble stir fry. Usili is the lifeline of a fine Vatha Kuzhambu or Mor Kuzhambu. To get that complete Tambrahm experience, one must eat either of the Kuzhambus with some Usili.
What is Paruppu Usili?
To put it in a nutshell, this is a stir fry made with veggies and a lentil mixture. We usually use veggies like beans, cluster beans (Kothavarangai), Capsicum, cabbage or Kovakkai ( Ivy Gourd). While Kothavarangai Paruppu Usili is the more popular version, this recipe that uses French beans is equally delicious.
There are two ways to make this recipe. One is where we steam the lentil mixture and then cook it with veggies. The other is this easy no steam method. This does call for a little more oil than the traditional version but we love this Usili recipe because the lentil crumble becomes crunchy.
While I grew up eating Beans usili and Cabbage Usili, my MIL taught me that this naturally vegan and protein rich stir fry can be made with other veggies too. Basically, by switching the main vegetable, you can have different Paruppu Usili varieties. You can make this easy curry with veggies like capsicum, broccoli, banana flower, purple cabbage, asparagus and Avarakkai too.
Another variation would be to use soaked chana dal in place of the Toor Dal. I often make the same curry with ¼ cup Chana dal and ¼ cup Toor dal.
Dal varieties in Tamil
If you are confused about the different names for lentils in Tamil and English, here is a quick guide.
|Split yellow peas||Chana dal||Kadalai Paruppu|
|Pigeon pea lentils||Toor dal||Thuvaram Paruppu|
|Red lentils||Masoor dal||Mysoor Paruppu|
|Moong lentils||Moong dal||Paasi Paruppu|
How to serve Usili?
I could probably write a thesis on Paruppu Usili combination. In a traditional Tamil household, this stir-fry is served with a Kuzhambu that does not have any dal. Vatha Kuzhambu, Mor Kuzhambu and Kara Kuzhambu are top choices.
You can also mix this curry with hot steamed rice and a dollop of ghee or a drizzle of coconut.My daughter carries this in her lunchbox and loves it to bits.
Soaking and grinding dal for lentil crumble
Soak Toor dal (Toor Dal in Tamil is Thuvaram Paruppu) in enough water for 40 mins. Drain thoroughly. Combine with chilies, hing and salt and grind to a coarse paste without adding any water.
Par boiling the beans
Par boil the beans in a pan with salt and water or use the microwave to cook till fork tender. Drain and set aside.
How to make Usli?
Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and once they pop, add urad dal and curry leaves. Add ground paste and keep mixing till all oil is absorbed and mixture becomes semi dry. Once it does, keep mixing and stirring it to crumble it further. Once the mixture resembles a dry crumble, add the beans and mix well. Cook for two mins. Your beans Paruppu Usili is now ready.
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Beans Paruppu Usili
For the dal mixture
- ½ cup Toor dal
- 2 cups water
- 4 to 5 dry Red chilies
- 1.25 teaspoon Salt or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon Hing perungayam 1tsp
For the beans
- 2.5 cups finely chopped green beans
- 1.5 tablespoon Oil
- 1 teaspoon Mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon Urad dal
- 1 sprig Curry leaves
Soaking the dal
- Soak toor dal in 2 cups water for 40 mins to an hour.
- Once done, drain thoroughly in a colander.
Grinding Dal mixture
- Add dry red chilies, salt and hing to the dal.
- Place in a blender and grind to a coarse paste without adding any water.
- Combine the beans and 4 cups water in a pan.
- Cook the beans for 4 to 5 mins until fork tender but still crunchy.
- Drain the cooked beans in a colander. Set aside.
Making Paruppu Usili
- Heat oil in a pan.
- Pop the mustard seeds and add urad dal and allow it to brown.
- Add curry leaves next.
- Now, add ground paste and mix well until the mixture becomes semi dry.
- Once semi dry, begin to crumble the mixture using your ladle, while stirring in between.
- Cook this mixture till it becomes fully crumbly. It should fall from the ladle freely. Takes anywhere between 5-7 mins.
- Now, add beans and mix well.
- Cook for a min or two.
- Serve hot once done.