Broccoli Paruppu Usili

I love all vegetables, but broccoli is really special to me. Now I know there are people out there who run away from this healthful veggie, but think about it for a moment: prepared well, broccoli can be absolutely delicious. Most of us like it doused in garlic sauce in Chinese dishes, don’t we?

One very simple broccoli recipe I sometimes make for quick weeknight dinners is to toss around some chopped garlic in olive oil, and then add broccoli florets to it. A few stirs to tenderize the broccoli to the point where it still has a slight crunch, some salt, and you’ve got a delicious plate of goodness that’s heaven for the tastebuds and the soul, not to mention your health.

Now for the paruppu usili. Although I’ve been married to a Tamil guy for years, I had not cooked this fabulous side dish until only recently. When I did, I couldn’t stop making it. It is easy, quick, and tremendously nutritious, and can be made with numerous veggies, although the most traditional version appears to be made with broad beans or green beans.

Last week, with some broccoli florets sitting around in my refrigerator crying out to be used, I had a devilish idea: why not? Marrying this bland vegetable with the delicious lentil-masala mix that is the basis of paruppu usili sounded like a match made in heaven. So out I set to do just that, and the results were so good, I couldn’t wait to share them with you.

So here’s my Broccoli Paruppu Usili- delicious, healthy and deeply satisfying. Unlike some cooks, I don’t steam the lentil paste first- I find that stirring it for a few minutes in the 1 tbsp of oil one would anyway use for this dish is more than enough to cook the ground lentils.

I added some garlic to the lentil paste, because I love garlic and can eat it in almost anything, and also because I find it always really enhances broccoli which tends to be a blank slate, tastewise.

Broccoli Paruppu Usili


For the paste:

2 tbsp tuvar dal

2 tbsp chana dal

2 dry red chilies

2 large cloves of garlic, chopped

1 pinch hing, or asafetida

Salt to taste

Other ingredients:

1 head broccoli, separated into florets

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tbsp udad dal

1 tbsp canola oil

Salt to taste

Soak the tuvar dal and the chana dal in water for about two hours. Drain, and using as little water as possible, grind to a paste along with the other ingredients.

Steam or microwave 1 head of broccoli, separated into small florets, until it is quite tender but not falling apart or mushy.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a skillet. Add 1 tsp mustard seeds and when they sputter, add 1 tbsp udad dal.

Add the lentil paste to it and stir fry around 10 minutes until the lentils darken in hue and no longer taste raw.

Add the broccoli and mix it in with a few stirs.

Check the salt and remove from the heat. Serve hot.

I’ve had some bad luck with my babies lately that has kept me from blogging more frequently. Lucy and Opie were both really sick last week from an intestinal infection. Also, my sister-in-law, Padmavathy, or Paddu, was visiting with us over the weekend. I picked up some nifty traditional Tamil recipes from her that I will share over the coming weeks.

I’ll leave you with a picture of my kitty, Pubm, who loves to find new places to make herself comfortable in. Last week, after Paddu had left, guess who decided to take over her comforter?

Also, I am experimenting a bit with the look of my blog. Any comments/suggestions would be welcome!

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

17 thoughts on “Broccoli Paruppu Usili

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    April 1, 2008 at 9:28am

    Hi Vaishali, broccoli paruppu usili I’m familiar with… but adding garlic to the usili? THAT’s new! Going to try it verrry soon! :)

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    April 1, 2008 at 11:34am

    That looks delicious, Vaishali. I so agree with you, broccoli cooked well is ever so tasty.
    Sorry to hear of the infections :( Here’s hoping that your babies get all better very soon!

  3. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    April 1, 2008 at 12:41pm

    Vaishali..Broccoli usili seams to be a nice idea..your babies should recover soon..

  4. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    April 1, 2008 at 2:08pm

    d-lish! broccoli usili does taste so good & looks nice with that bright green color. i steam the lentil paste & then add it.

  5. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    April 1, 2008 at 2:28pm

    Shyam, Welcome! I do hope you try the garlic- it works really well with the broccoli.

    Nupur, Thanks- they seem to be doing a bit better now. It feels awful to see these otherwise happy creatures so down and out.

    Lavi- Thanks – do hope you try the broccoli version.

    Richa- I’ve never tried steaming the paste before, but I will the next time I make it to see if I can tell the difference.

  6. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    April 1, 2008 at 2:47pm

    That sounds wonderful, Vaishali.
    My broccoli is usually swimming in garlic sauce.:-(

    I too love garlic and cannot get enough of it.

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    April 1, 2008 at 4:12pm

    I’va made broccoli sambar, but not usili. Wishing your babies good health.

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    April 1, 2008 at 7:52pm

    Hi Vaishali,

    Have been a lurker on your blog and thought it was time to introduce myself since I tried your adai recipe and it turned out wonderful. Thanks for sharing it. Will try the broccoli paruppu as well.
    I am a vegan too so your blog is very inspirational. Keep it up :)

  9. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    April 1, 2008 at 7:58pm

    TBC :) They do go wonderfully together, don’t they?

    Suganya, Thanks.

    Chocolatecoveredvegan, thanks. Pubm is quite the queen around our home!

    IRA, Thanks, and welcome- it’s great to hear from another vegan. I am so happy the adai turned out well for you- it is one of my favorites.

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    April 1, 2008 at 8:44pm

    looks delicious…. i dont like to eat broccoli in salads, i never tried cooking with these… will surely try this one and let u know…

  11. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    April 2, 2008 at 2:18am

    Looks delicious. I love paruppu usili but never tried with broccoli. Will try soon. must be tasting great.

  12. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    April 2, 2008 at 4:02pm

    that’s such an adorable pic of pubm…and the usili looks good too…

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    kitchen queen

    August 4, 2009 at 6:43pm

    hi I have made parupu usli with the usual vegetables but brocolli paruppu usli is new to me. I shall try it since it looks quite interesting. You can visit my blog view my recipes and give ur comments

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    October 27, 2009 at 4:40pm

    Being a chronic experimenter myself, I love the results of other cooks’ “why not?”s.

    This sounds like a splendid combination! I will definitely be trying it soon.

    Thanks for sharing. :)

  15. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Parvathy (Raji)

    July 11, 2011 at 5:10am

    came to your blog searching for some vegan recipes..broccoli paruppu usili recipe is very interesting..i will try this out sometime soon..thanks for sharing.

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