Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Microwave Usili

        I use Tupperware Microwave Idli Cooker(MIC) for steaming veggies like broccoli, beans, carrots etc.It is quicker and doesn't lose its taste. I don't make idlis in it as the idlis tend to be a little harder than when steamed in a pressure cooker. Though,the MIC in my opinion makes great usili and gets  the job done faster not compromising on taste. The recipe for usili is as below.

  Toor dal /tuvaram paruppu 3 tbsp
  split bengal gram dal/Kadala paruppu 1/2 cup
  red chilli 4-5(more or less according to mild or spicy)
  asafoetida a big pinch
  turmeric powder 3/4 tsp
  salt 1tsp or to taste.
Note: Toor dal makes the usili more fragrant but the texture is given by bengal gram dal. Using all toor dal or all bengal gram dal or in 1: 1 ratio produces slightly varied textures and taste but  is not recommended.
 mustard seeds 1 tsp
 urad dal   1 tsp
 oil 2-3 tsps

1.Soak the dals together with red chillies for an hour.
2.Drain the dals and grind together with the rest of the ingredients into a smooth semi solid paste, using as little water as possible. It is important that the dals are soft when beginning to grind ,thus takes less water.
3.Divide this paste in the idli plates in the microwave idli cooker. Leave a tbsp of water at the bottom of the MIC for steaming. Put the lid on and steam for 5 minutes.
4.The usili is perfectly steamed into the shape of idlis. Let them cool down for 5 minutes.
5.Grind them in the mixer, by pulsing the mixer a few times. This makes it into fine but uniform pieces like coarse bread crumbs.

6.Usili is almost ready. Heat a little oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and urad dal. After the mustard seeds sputter and urad dal is red, add the usili and stir fry till it changes to a deeper color indicating that it is roasted.
(I like this method because it gives the authentic taste as though you have used oodles of oil to roast it .This gives the same taste with much less oil.)

Now Usili is usually combined with a vegetable to make different types.
Some combinations are banana flower(vazhaipoo
usili), beans, cabbage, cluster beans etc
I make broccoli usili too as that is the only way my kids eat broccoli.
Cut the vegetable of your choice into fine and small pieces and steam cook with salt(optional curry powder-because the usili is already spicy).
Once cooked add it to the usili and mix well. Here is a picture of beans usili.

Serve with rice and any of these
vatral kuzhambu,
milagu kuzhambu,
karuveppali kuzhambu,
jeeraga rasam,
milagu rasam,
thogayal or
mor kuzhambu.


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