Paruppusili is a side dish that combines dal that's been soaked, ground into a batter, steamed, and then scrambled with a vegetable.
Paruppu means dal, and to usili means to scramble.
This version is a Tamil version, a star in many south Indian Brahmin weddings and functions, along with more kozhambu (yogurt based gravy). I have used green peppers for the vegetable in this recipe. Traditional vegetables used are green beans, long beans, cluster beans. Broccoli is popular with my son. You can make it with cauliflower too.
The process is a bit involved, but it's absolutely worth it. This dish packs a protein and vitamin punch with the dal and the vegetable. The process involves soaking the dal for a couple of hours, blending into a batter, steaming, and then crumbling it with sautéed vegetable.
But not to worry, this recipe will teach you a hack that would cut down the time to a mere 30 minutes, from start to finish, with a little bit of prep work done ahead.
1cuptoor dalsub with 1/2 cup toor + 1/2 cup chana dal
Soak the dal, and the chilies for a couple of hours.
Hack: Double or triple the quantity so you can freeze some of the steamed batter (2 or 3 cups of dal, 8-10 red chilies)
Grind into a batter. I like it smooth for my family, as it's easier on the stomach. You may grind it to a slightly coarse texture too. Add salt and hing and mix well.
Pour into idli mold, and steam inside a big pot/pressure cooker (no pressure needed) for 12 minutes
While the dal idlis are steaming, prep the vegetable - diced and ready to go.
Remove the dal idlis from the mold, and let cool. When completely cool, keep about 4-6 for cooking and save the rest in ziplock bags, 4 per bag. To serve two people, about 4 idlis are sufficient. With this step, 75% of the work is done for your next time.
Scramble the dal idlis roughly, use a dry blender if needed to break them into really small crumbles
Heat oil in a pan, and season with mustard seeds, urad dal, hing, and curry leaves
Add the vegetable and saute until cooked fairly well
(I have used pictures of different vegetables in this recipe just to show all the ways it can be done. In this picture, I have used long beans or kaaramani)
Add the scrambled paruppu/dal
Mix well, and cook for a few minutes. At this point, traditionally, more oil is added, and the mixture is fried until crisped and yummy! It's totally up to you how much oil and how long you cook. I personally prefer ours to be a little soft.
Serve with hot steamed rice, and more kozhambu or rasam.
Green beans, long beans, cluster beans - steam cook for about 8 minutes covered in a pan with a small quantity of water, then cook open, letting the water evaporate before adding the steamed paruppu/dal
Cauliflower, broccoli, green peppers - no need to steam cook, open saute in a little bit of oil is all that's needed
Invest a little bit of extra time once in two months or so and save soaking, grinding, steaming time for the next few times you make it! You'll literally shave off 2 hours and 30 minutes in making it, by spending an extra 15 minutes or so steaming extra idlis. Totally worth it!
Double or triple the soaking dal and chilies. You will get roughly 16-20 idlis. Use what you need, and freeze the rest in ziplock/freezer bags. Comes in super handy when you want to make a healthy side dish in a hurry. Defrost, add a vegetable, and you'll have hot steaming paruppu usili in roughly 30 minutes.