I have always noticed a lack of exposure of South Indian Cuisines to international audiences. Whenever I refer the term “Indian Food”, most of my non-Indian friends, connect Indian cuisine to Naan, Dhal, Chicken Tikka Masala and Chai. Yeah! they are really yummy foods of the North and I am not here to deny that. I do love them and I cook them quite often in my kitchen. I have been pondering for days together to start a separate label for the dishes from South India but something or the other work kept coming along my way. I have decided to create it today. The Deccan Plateau is a large plateau in India, comprising of the southern part of the country. I would be sharing the dishes from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh in this kitchen. Hence the name “Deccan Kitchen”.
This space would carry information on the authentic recipes of the South, the aromatic spices, their uses and origins. “Deccan Kitchen” will project and promote the South Indian cuisine to all my foodies. It will be platform to remove the notion that Indian Cooking is tedious and complicated. The posts will be made simple and straightforward, so everyone will find it easy to whip it in their kitchens.
I would be sharing information about my native state today – Tamil Nadu, situated in the southernmost part of India. It’s a beautiful State with warm people, vibrant culture and mouth-watering cuisines. It has a variety of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies. Everyone’s door is open to guests and the word “hospitality” is a synonym for Tamil Nadu. Rice and lentils are an important part of Tamil cuisine.
The post for today is “Paruppu Usili”, traditionally they are made with beans but today I am with asparagus.
This dish is may combining cooked asparagus with cooked dhal (lentils). Two varieties of dhal are used here : Channa dhal and Toor dhal in equal proportion. These dhals can be bought from any Indian Grocery shops.
Here is a straight forward recipe to make it in a easy and no-hassle way.
Paruppu Usili (Lentil Based Curry)
For the lentil mixture:
- 1 cup toor dhal
- 1 cup channa dhal
- 1-2 dry red chilly
- 8-10 curry leaves
- 1/2-1 lb Asparagus – chopped
- 1 tsp asafoetida (Available at Indian grocery shop)
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp urad dhal
- Salt to taste
- 5 cups water
- Soak the lentil mixture in 2 cups water for 2-4 hours. Keep them aside.
- Wash the asparagus thoroughly and chop them into thin roundels.
- Heat about 3 cups of water with little salt in a cooking vessel on a high flame . Once they begin to boil, add the asparagus and cook for 15-20min till they become tender. Once done, drain them in a colander and set them aside.
- After the soaking time, remove the water completely and grind them to a thick paste. If the required, add a very little amount of water. The lentil paste should not be soggy. Place them in a stainless steel vessel and pressure cook them in a cooker/pan for 3-4 whistles. Once cooled, remove from the vessel and crumble them with hand.Transfer to a fresh plate/bowl.
- Heat the oil in a kadai/pan. Once they get heated up, add mustard seeds. Let them splutter. Then add the urad dhal and asafoetida.
- After a min, throw in the cooked asparagus and give it a complete stir. Add the crumbled lentil mixture and cook for another 10 min. Adjust salt to taste. Serve warm with rice.