Usili is a popular Tamil Brahmin vegetable preparation where soaked, ground and steamed lentils are mixed with vegetables like cluster beans, French beans, Capsicum, Carrots and even Ivy Gourd. The first two are made regularly in my family, but until I saw Sheela write about this one with Kovakkai (ivy gourd) I hadn’t know about this possibility. When I asked mum whether we make this kind in our family, she confirmed that they do and it is delicious.
Ivy Gourd is an interesting vegetable, mainly used in dry curries in Tam Bram cuisine – it is either sauteed in tempered oil and garnished with a bit of fresh coconut shavings or a spicier version is made with potatoes. For both these recipes, kovakkai can be cut into slender strips or into roundels. This is low carb, high in fibre and fast to cook. It is an excellent vegetable choice for diabetics too. Read this report for more details on Ivy Gourd and Diabetes.
Kovakkai Paruppu Usili - Ivy Gourd with steamed lentils
- 1/2 cup toor dal
- 2 tbsps chana dal
- 2 chillies dried red
- 1/4 tsp asafoetida powder / hing
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 2 chillis dried red
- 1/2 tsps mustard seeds
- to taste Salt
- Preparation for Usuli:
- Soak 1/2 cup toor dal with 2 tbsp chana dal, either overnight or for 3 hours in warm water. Grind this to a coarse paste with 2 broken dried red chillies, 1/4 tsp of asafoetida powder, pinch of turmeric powder, 1 tsp salt and a few curry leaves without adding any water.
- Steam this paste in an idli-steamer or a regular steamer for 10-15 minutes until the lentil paste is cooked. Remove to a bowl once cooled and crumble into small pea-sized pieces. Keep aside.
- Recipe forKovakkai Paruppu Usili:
- Place the slit pieces of kovakkai in microwave safe bowl, sprinkle some water and cook them on high for 5 minutes. Keep aside.
- In a non stick pan, heat 1 tbsp oil, and put in the crumbled usili. Stir them around on medium flame till golden and slightly crispy. This will take around 5-7 minutes. Keep this aside.
- In the same pan, take 1 tsp oil, put in the mustard seeds and broken red chilli pieces. Once they crackle, put it the cooked kovakkai, salt to taste, stir around for 2 minutes.
- Add the stir fried usili and stir together for 2 minutes until they have come together.
- Serve hot with Mor Kozhambu and rice along with some appalams (Tamilian Papads).
- You could make double the batch, and freeze the lentil 'idlis' for the next time you are making this. Making the Usili is the only time consuming part of this recipe.
- You can also pressure cook the ivy gourd pieces in a cooker-vessel, after sprinkling some water for one whistle to cook them for this recipe.
- Mor kozhambu is the best combination with Usuli as this dish is already heavy with lentils. Combining this with sambhar, which is again made with lentils, makes it a very tough to digest combination. Mor Kozhambu is a Tamil style Kadi made with sour buttermilk and a paste of raw rice, coconut, cumin seeds and red chillies, boiled together with the buttermilk, and a tempering of curry leaves red chillies.
And I had kovakkai all ready for cooking…now will do this version that had been on the cards for some time. I know it will taste great!
Anita, I must tell you that this doesn’t taste too good with rotis as it is quite mild – however with rice and any kind of buttermilk kadi it will be fantastic!
Paruppu usili and mor kozhambu is wonderful and I need to thank my mom for teaching me that 🙂 I also love to have paruppu usili with puli kozhambu, another awesome combo from mom. (I like anything tangy :P)
I love paruppu usli. My favourite however is the vazhaippoo version. I didn’t know it could be made with kovakkai. Nice revelation. In my family, it is made with beans, cluster beans, vazhaippoo… I’ve also eaten capsicum and cabbage paruppu usli at some places, but I’m fairly certain its not made at my place.I’m spending 3 days at Madras next weekend and am attending the wedding of 2 close friends… Pattappa is the catering in charge. So some mouthwatering Iyengar food is what I’m in for. And have asked Amma to make paruppu urundai when I’m there. 🙂
paruppu usili i love this often make with cluster beans. with kovaikai is quite new.
Hi! I knew Beans paruppu usili,vazhai poo paruppu usili!but kovaikai… hmm no! should try this..
This is so great! My MIL made Broccoli Usli using toor daal and chana daal and it was so good!I need to try this next week, my hubby will be bringing back some fresh tindora from Toronto then….!:)
Good to know that ivy gourd is so healthful! I wish it was more easily available in the US though. The usili looks perfectly delicious!
wow. i love tondli and i love usli, but never thought of combining the two. great looking dish.
Great recipe.Lot of Tendli recipes out there this week including mine:)I will try this next time I get Tondekai which is hard to come by for us:))
wow! one more tasty addition to my tendli recipes 🙂 thanks for the info on tendli! i recently made kale chane & tendli combo, have blogged about it 🙂
I love Ivygourd. My grandmother makes chutney with it and I simply adore it. Thanks for the recipe
wow!!!i have made parup usali ..but never tried it with this veggee……wow!!!this is nice one …..
in between ..your video looks very neat and clean explained one ….
Dear Nandita, I emailed you once earlier, but you did not reply back to me.I think I commented on bottlegourd sabji you had it cooked differently. I liked your mushroom tikki version inspired by the Chef Mr. Kapoor. I was also thinking about making the same thing today. I will now follow your version which has more flavor and spices. Please feel free to reply at the above email address when you get a chance.I also have my blog http://www.zaayka.blogspot.com/do visit.ThanksPintoo
Hi Nandita,Reading your kovakkai paruppu usli recipe late at night here (12 am) while taking a break from work (grad student life sucks) … your pictures make me hungry! Usually I used to never eat kovakkai … my mom tried to convince me several times but now … these pictures look good. I guess I will have to make it! Kovakkai is available in some places in the US -> CA (Bay Area), I have seen it at my local Indian store. Loved your environmental article btw & thanks for the welcome comment.Urmila
Dear girl, good to see you gracious and generous as always… and, how nice of you to try it – am glad your mom confirmed that it is indeed a ‘legitimate’ tambram dish 😉 When are you coming over to visit me and Sig?
Hi nandita,i always used to make kovakkai curry.This seems new to me.I will try this out and give my feedback.http://priars.blogspot.com
Nandita, you are being blessed by everyone who ate the brownie I made using your recipe. It was the yummiest and the easiest recipe ever! Thank you so much :)-Arya
you should know you were linked on Mid-day.comhttp://www.chalomumbai.com/life-at-work/2007/june/159493.htm
Oh Good Work! Sorry I was excited about telling you!
Is there a Gojju recipe you know of? Would be interested in seeing you post an entry using Gojju assuming you haven’t already 🙂
hi nandita saw your blog listed among the best blogs in Mid-day! Congrats!! Shameem
Looks like a great recipe. I’m looking forward to cooking this up!
This can also be made with fresh methi leaves. Tastes great.
Super. What a super sounding, simple recipe! Kovakkai – kundri in North Bengal – is a favourite with us, as is Paruppu Usili. What a happy thought, to combine the two! Waiting to try this one out. Thank you for having visitied my blog and left a comment: it helped me discover your blog, and this is going to give me lots of happy hours of browsing!
Gowri,so you landed on this ancient archived post :)I am glad I discovered your mom’s blog, read eevry single word of it in one sitting, and then yours…just reading about your relaxed life transported me to a world so alient from the one we lead in Bombay – truly you make me wish to visit the plantations you live in and describe so beautifully!
We had this great dish – thumbs up!- today, and morkoottan like my Mom makes, with deep-fried vendakkai on top.
That looks like a great recipe
http://indiaveggiecuisine.blogspot.com/2009/03/kovakkai-paruppu-usili-ivy-gourd-with.htmlNandita, Looks like the blog above has plagiarized your post. Hope you had given them permission. Love your work!Archana
Wow, this is the nice one. Good to know that ivy gourd is so healthful. I like ivy gourd. Great looking dish. Thank you so much for the recipe.