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Beans Paruppu Usilli

Beans Paruppu Usilli is a typical South Indian (Tamilnadu) curry made with soaked lentil that is ground, steamed and crumbled and cooked along with beans. At our place, it is usually made when Mor kuzhambhu is for main course. Mor kuzhambu is a yogurt based no tamarind or lentil kuzhambhu, Paruppu usilli is full of lentils which makes it a perfect combination food.

As far I remember, Paruppu Usilli is predominantly made in Tamil Brahmin homes. Every family have different proportion of lentils to make this side dish. Amma’s paruppu usilli is one of the best. It’s one of our favorite food, she makes it often and mastered it that she knows how to make it perfect every single time. Amma never makes any changes to the recipe, the lentil proportion is always same with 70% bengal gram and 30% pigeon peas. I prefer 50-50 of each lentil and change the proportion according to that day’s preference, You can adjust to your liking: bengal gram on higher side gives a crispy texture and pigeon peas gives a soft texture.



Paruppu Usilli can also be made using cluster beans(Kothavarakkai/Guar), cabbage, banana flower(vazhaipoo) and green capsicum bell pepper.


For the paruppu/lentil part:
1/2 cup split pigeon peas
1/2 cup split bengal gram
4 or 5 dry chilli (adjust to taste)
Salt to taste

Soak in hot water for at least 30 minutes and ground to a coarse paste using minimal water.

For the vegetable part:
2 cups chopped Green beans
Salt to taste

Wash, cut the beans in 1 centimeter lenght and steam or microwave with a 3/4 cup of water and salt to taste

For Tempering:
2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp Black gram
1/4 teaspoon hing/asafoetida
2-3 sprigs of curry leaves

You can adjust the lentil and vegetable proportion to taste. We prefer our usilli with lots of vegetable.


Soak and grind the ingredients mentioned above. Steam the ground paste like idli or dhokla. I used a pressure cooker and a idli plate (Steam for 10-12 mins) or you can steam in microwave too if you don’t have a pressure cooker. Crumble the steamed lentil/paruppu.

On medium heat, in a large skillet, add 2 tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is hot add mustard seeds. As the mustard seeds splutter, add the black gram, asafoetida, curry leaves and the crumbled lentil.  Fry for 4 to 5 minutes. The curry leaves adds a nice flavor.

On a side note: back then and even today, the coarsely ground lentils is fried in oil to make it all crisp and crunchy. The steaming part cuts back all the oil and far more healthy.

Add the steamed beans and mix well. Continue to cook for a few minutes until all combine well. Check for salt and adjust if necessary. If the paruppu part is becoming dry because of over frying, sprinkle a few teaspoon of water, cover and cook.

Serve hot with More Kuzhambhu or Rasam.


Happy cooking

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November 2017
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