Family’s favorite and I make it at least once in two weeks for lunch. Its one of the dish close to my heart and you will know the reason when you are done reading this post!
Disclaimer: I am not sure if this is authentic way to make usili but this is my tried and tested version. Adi loves to take it to school for lunch. For her, I wrap it as chapathi roll.
1. beans – finely chopped
2. onion – 1 medium size (optional)
3. toor dal – 1 cup
4. red chillies – 5 to 6 numbers
6. jira – handful
mustard, split urad dal, jira, curry leaves
1. Soak toor dal and red chillies for 4-6 hours.
2. Grind it into a coarse paste with jira and salt.
3. There are different ways to cook the dal paste. Traditionally way is to pressure cook the paste in idli plates and then crumble it into small pieces once it cools off. But the lazy me cooks it in microwave.
4. Grease oil on a microwaveable bowl. Pour the ground mixture. Add some oil on top, mix well and cook it for 3 to 5 minutes. It will turn into big chunks. Easiest way to crumble it into tiny pieces is to run it in dry mixer for few seconds.
5. Heat oil in a large skillet, add all tadka/thalippu items.
6. Once they splutter, add onion, salt, turmeric powder. Onion is optional.
7. Once onion is translucent, add beans and allow it cook for few minutes.
8. When beans are half cooked add dal crumbles, mix well and let it cook for few more minutes.
P.S: This crumbling in dry mixer idea was born the day parents landed in US of A in summer 2012. I was preparing lunch for them and wanted to present/showcase all my special dishes to Amma as that was our first meet after long time. I didn’t have the heart to serve them usili with big chunks of dal and further squeezing of my little brain viola the idea was born. M, the poor man who ate those big chunks of dal for many many months was shell shocked to see those nicely ground dal well mixed with beans. He later said “Necessity is the mother of invention”. After all, that was my second time preparing lunch for my parents and won’t I expect it to be perfect? But, he questioned “how come the idea never came to my mind all these months?” I walked away with a smile on my face 🙂
P.P.S: I store chopped beans and crumbled dal mix in refrigerator ahead of days (mostly weekend) and then make the dish on weekday in jiffy.
P.P.P.S: This is my second post for today. I will try to make up for the first few missed days by publishing 2 posts on some days and will try to keep the second one as a food post.