Paruppu Usili

Paruppu Usili

Spiced and steamed Toor dal / Lentil paste mixed with cooked french beans and tempered with Indian spices.

The journey that a recipe or a food item takes is fascinating. Travelling across the country opens up new cuisines and this is how some of the recipes have walked into my kitchen. This paruppu usili came from my mom’s travels and her time living in Madras(now Chennai). For me, it is not only the recipe and how something is made. It is also about how it is eaten in the place of its origin. So it was actually fun to eat usili with rice, while I had always been eating with chapatti and, some might scoff at this, even bread. Rice or chapatti or bread, parupu usili is a very interesting one.

Its vegan and gluten-free and with a little planning, really easy to make. Toor dal or lentils that have been soaked in water overnight are ground to a paste and steamed while french beans are cut into small pieces and cooked in hot water. To speed up the cooking time, work on the beans and the lentils in parallel. The lentils comes out the best when soaked overnight. Here are the highlights, the detailed recipe is mentioned below:

Lentils soaked overnight and ground to a fine paste with turmeric, salt & chili powder|| Steam the lentil paste || Clean, cut & cook the beans in hot water || Ready the temper, add the beans and steamed lentils ||


Soaked lentils with turmeric, red chili powder & salt

Grind to a fine paste

Steamed lentil paste


Paruppu Usili Recipe 

Kitchen tools: Kadai, Steamer, Food processor 


  • French beans pieces: 1 cup
  • Toor dal / Lentils / Pigeon Pea: 1/4 cup
  • Chili Powder: 1 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp
  • Asafoetida / Hing powder
  • Mustard seeds: 1/4 tsp
  • Oil: 2 tbsp
  • Curry leaves: 6-8


  • Soak the lentils in water overnight.
  • Drain excess water from the lentils. Add turmeric powder, salt, red chili powder and a pinch of asafoetida powder and grind it to a fine paste
  • Steam the lentil paste for 15 mins or until it is done. Once it cools down, use your hands to crumble the steamed lentil paste
  • Steaming can be done in a cooker without the whistle or an idli steamer or just put the paste in a small metal vessel and place it in a bigger vessel with water and cover it
  • Clean and cut the french beans into small pieces. Cook in hot water. Once done, drain the excess water

Here we go

  • Heat oil in a thick wok / kadai and add the mustard seeds
  • Once the mustard seeds crackle, lower the heat add the curry leaves and then the lentil crumble and mix well
  • Add the cooked beans and mix well
  • The salt in the usili is from the lentil mix. Taste and add some more salt if needed
  • On low heat, cook the ulisi with a lid on for about 8-10 mins. Give the contents a few stirs in between before turning off the heat. Ready !!!


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