It was only after I attended a lecture on history of traditional south-indian cooking that I knew the difference between ‘curry’ and ‘kari’.
Kari is a dry sauteed vegetable and curry is vegetable cooked in spice gravy of meat broth.
Anyway, paruppu usili traditionally is only prepared with – french or cluster beans. However, the recipe lends itself well with various other vegetables – shallots, carrots, capsicum, cabbage and red beets, are some that I have successfully attempted. I also experiment with it a few other ways – by adding a few other ingredients into the masala.
This time I tried adding roasted Kopra and lime juice. I also cooked it a bit differently as I was running short of time.
4 medium carrots
1/2 cup of kopra (dried coconut, sliced)
1 tsp mustard seeds
Pinch of asafoetida
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tablespoon toor dal
Soak the toor dal in warm water for 30 minutes. Dice the vegetables in equal sizes and keep them seperate. Steam cook the carrots with some salt.
In a hot wok, dry roast kopra and keep aside. Once cold, blitze it the food processor.
In the same wok, pour in 2 teaspoons of coconut oil, add mustard seeds and wait for it to splatter.
Add diced shallots, once translucent, add capsicum. Remember, capsicum shouldnt change colour and become too soft. If it does, it has been overcooked.Wait till it is well sauteed and add the steamed carrots. Give it a toss and switch off the stove. Now add salt to taste and add in the blitzed kopra and keep aside.
Drain the toor dal and put it in the blender along with pepper and asafoetida. ( If you want it nice and spicy I recommend you to add two red chillies to this mix). Blitz them all together to a coarse consistancy.
In the same wok, add a few spoons of coconut oil and add in the dal. Saute it for a few minutes and cover it till it is well cooked. Sprinkle some water if you like.
Once cooked, add the kari to it and give it a toss. Switch off and add the juice of half a lime. That is it!
Paruppu usili with a twist is ready. It is yummy with steamed ghee rice and veekay!