If you’re Tamil or if you have read this blog for any length of time, you know all about Paruppu Usili, the side dish that makes healthy eating both decadent and delicious.
But if this is the first time you’ve heard about it, trust me, you’re in for a treat.
There’s really no way you can go wrong with this really simple, very traditional dish that rolls in the wonderfulness of veggies — all kinds of them– with the rich, nutty flavor of tiny lentil dumplings. I may have said this before on Holy Cow! but I’ll say it again– paruppu usili is perhaps my most favorite of all the amazing South Indian comfort foods I’ve learned from being married to a Tamil guy.
The basic paruppu usili paste for the dumplings (or rather crumbles) is a very simple one, and I often tweak it slightly to add more flavor to the vegetable I am using. For instance, I add a smidgen– or more– of garlic to my Broccoli Paruppu Usili, or sometimes I just go plain as with my Green Beans Paruppu Usili. In today’s Cabbage Paruppu Usili, I added a teaspoon or so of sambar powder which took no effort but produced an amazing flavor.
- 1/2 head cabbage , finely shredded
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp udad dal (black gram dal)
- Soak together for an hour: 1/4 cup chana dal (bengal gram dal) and 1/4 cup tuvar dal
- Place the dals in a blender , add enough water to keep the blades moving, and grind to a fine paste along with:
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- A generous pinch of asafetida (hing)
- 2 dry red chillies
- 1 tsp sambar powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- Remove the dal paste to a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes. The paste would be cooked on top. Turn over with a spoon so the uncooked paste on the bottom is now on the top and microwave 2 more minutes.Set aside.
- In a cast-iron or non-stick skillet, heat the oil.
- Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When they sputter, add udad dal and stir, allowing the dal to brown lightly, about 30 seconds to a minute.
- Add the cabbage and some salt. Stir-fry the cabbage on medium heat until it is beginning to get tender, about 5 minutes.
- Now, with your fingers, crumble the dal paste into the skillet over the cabbage.
- Continue to stir-fry the cabbage until it is quite tender but has a slight bite, and the dal dumplings are a couple of shades darker.
- Check salt and turn off heat.
1. When I registered my first blog with Blogger way back in 2006, I wanted to write a political blog. That plan never took off and it was more than a year later that I decided to change course and write a food blog instead. I can’t say I’m sorry I did!
2. The name, Holy Cow!, was Desi’s idea, although I don’t mind taking credit for it :).
3. As much as I love animals, I am deathly afraid of roaches. The big, creepy kinds that leave you with an icky feeling on your skin. Of course, Desi always reminds me that they are far smaller and helpless and therefore more fearful of me than I am of them, and that does put things in perspective. 🙂
4. I lack the ability to organize and plan and to date it is the one quality I wish I had the most. It would make life so much easier. Sigh.
5. I love the company of friends, but I hate parties with dozens of people making impersonal small talk. The kinds of gatherings I most enjoy are intimate ones with just a few good friends, great vegan food, and stimulating conversation.
6. If there’s anything I love after reading and writing, it’s the movies. Not Bollywood ones, as I pointed out in my last 10 Honest Things About Me list, nor most Hollywood stuff, really, which is almost as bad. Instead, I love slice-of-life movies from around the world that give you a small window into the lives of people who could be real, and their experiences– it’s almost as good as traveling. And although I am not one to watch chick flicks, I do make an exception for epic romances with deep, dark, brooding heroes like Omar Sharif, Laurence Olivier and Daniel Day Lewis.
7. Here’s a peeve about Facebookers and Twitterers: I indulge in social networking platforms a little bit because can you avoid them? And staying in touch and sharing relevant information is great, but, frankly, do we really need to know you went for a jog this morning?
8. I am a huge believer in the work to live, not live to work theory. I enjoy my job, and I give it 100 percent, but if I could, I’d retire tomorrow and spend the rest of my days doing all the stuff I love, like traveling, growing and cooking and eating lots of great vegan food, reading all the books I ever wanted to, educating people about how wonderful and smart animals really are, and helping homeless and destitute animals.
9. I am a morning person. In fact, I can’t understand why some people aren’t. Mornings are when I am at my best– my mind is clearest, I am the most motivated to get things done, and I feel happiest. As the day moves on, I tend to settle…almost literally!
10. I love being a couch potato and I watch more television than I should, although I tell myself it’s a great educational tool. I love edgy shows like Entourage and Psych, and smartly funny ones like Curb Your Enthusiasm, and I develop withdrawal symptoms when my favorite news shows like Colbert Report, Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Real Time with Bill Maher go on breaks. On the other hand, I have neither the patience for nor any interest in reality TV.
Since you were patient enough to sit through those, you deserve a reward. And I can’t think of a better one than this super-cute picture of my super-cute Lucy whose latest favorite thing to do is try to eat all the time. So the minute I walk into the kitchen she’s right there, sitting at my feet, looking at me with big, melting eyes.
She’s really smart and she’s figured out ways to wangle out more than her share. For instance, I usually give the dogs a treat when they come back inside after playing in the backyard. Now, several times a day, she’ll ask to go back, just wait at the door for a couple of minutes without actually going down, and then come back in and make a beeline for the shelf where her treats are. She’ll sit next to the shelf, bark, then turn and look at the box of treats. This will go on until the time I break down and give in. Desi, who insists I am spoiling her, is not much better at resisting her charms either. 🙂