Sunday, May 18, 2008

Kothavaranga (cluster beans) Paruppu usili

Every morning when I take the bus or train I unconsciously search for familiar faces, when I spot them, begin to feel all warm and comfortable. I see this lady eating bagel at the starbucks in the pavillion of the building I work in on most days and I minute I see her there at the usual spot, begin to feel all is going to be fine that day. The same thing happens with food, when presented with an array of different foods the one we graviate towards is the one we are most familiar with. Paruppu usli is well the opposite, I only tasted it when I was well into my 20s. But from the first taste I have been hooked. But after the first time there is not many times I have cooked it. But when I saw these lovely cluster beans at the store, this was the first dish that came to mind. Based on my mother's recollection of a recipe that was given to her by a dear neighbor.

    Green Earth The nearly $4 gas price has done more for the environment than any dire warning by scientists. I read the buses and rails are running full capacity. Tip 1: Drive smaller cars. Combine trips. Tip 2: Replace incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent light bulbs. The washington post reports that this will save way more than symbolic acts like Lights Out on Earth Day.


1. 1 1/2 Cups of cluster beans chopped into small pieces
2. 1/4 cup of channa dal (kadalai paruppu or bengal gram)
3. 1/2 cup of toor dal
4. 3 red chilies
5. 1 tsp of asfoetida
6. Curry leaves
7. Mustard seeds
8. salt to taste
9. turmeric powder.

1. Soak the channa and toor dals for about 20 minutes
2. And make it a slightly coarse but thick paste (go easy on the water) along with the chilies, asfoetida and salt
3. Now steam cook the dal paste, make balls, flattern them and steam (use the idli moulds) for about 8-10 minutes till cooked. When cool, use the hands and break the dal into tiny pieces.
4. Meanwhile boil the cluster beans with some turmeric powder and salt till soft.
5. In a pan heat a tsp of oil, add the mustard seeds and curry leaves.
6. Add the cooked dal and saute till it starts to change color and gets roasted
7. Add few drops of oil to prevent it from sticking to the pan
8. Now add the cooked clusters beans and fry for a few more minutes.
1. Do not overcook the dal paste, it tends to harden.
2. The dal can be cooked with liberal amounts of oil for a crispier usli.

Serve with rice and any kind of spicy kuzhambu. We had them with some spicy brinjal curry (recipe coming up soon)


  1. Hi,visiting ur blog for the first time,nice blog.Would love to see u on my blog..

  2. wow..that looks yummy...paruppu usli of any type is my know after many years of wanting and longing, I finally made this some few years back...:))..your plate looks so tempting indo!

  3. Paruppu usli is one of my fav. You have no idea how much I love this dish. Thanks for sharing recipe.

  4. I love paruppu usli. Thanks for the yummy recipe.

  5. Love paruppu usli - never tried it with kothavaranga - must be delicious. might be nice with avarakkai too...hmm...

  6. I like the taste of cluster beans, sweetish! Looks yum!

    Trisha is done with 6 APs, 2 more EOC tests to go next week. Tushar has 3 exams this week! Phew!!:D

    Go to run, taking Trisha to college to schedule classes for next year at 8am.

  7. u made me nostalgic... i used to love parupu usili.. mor kozhumbu and toghayal combo made by amma... abd she would treat so often.. wish those days could come back.. and usrs looks exactly like hers:(

  8. Ilove cluster beans.. dish luks nice

  9. liked ur idea of cluster beans usili, will try that next time i get the beans.

  10. ISG, the dish with cluster beans looks good!!!

  11. this dish very new to me!!!looks delcious..will definitely try 1 day....

  12. Funny how we find some lovely foods like these in our 20s..!

  13. Hi ISG, that's a great tip about the lightbulbs. I have been changing out my old lightbulbs for the new long-life type as they burn out. If you get them on sale they're quite affordable and not only do they save energy, they save climbing the ladder so often for outdoors and in the hall... ;)

    Paruppu usli looks really beautiful. Did you say brinjals???? :):)

    Seeds are sprouting like mad. Can't wait to see what they will be! Have you been out planting yet?

  14. Cheap oil has been at the bottom of that energy-guzzling "way of life." I hope the prices go up further to become comparable to oil prices in the rest of the world ;-).
    Thanks for the paruppu usli reminder - I made it last year once, and then forgot all about it. I do love the texture they adds to a dish.

  15. Hetal, a warm welcome to you. Visited yours.

    Valli, yes this dish is so tasty but it is not a regular because I am not used to seeing it often on the menu.

    Shriya, you are welcome, the pleasure was all mine.

    Uma, welcome.

    Arundathi - I am kind of surprised that people don't make it regularly, thought I was the a rarity :) Avrakkai is a bean alright might work too. Let me know how it turns out.

    Sagari - you know what I am always immensely pleased with any compliments I get for my photos :) you made my day.

    Asha, they taste best in Paruppu usli. Trisha is a busy girl. Good Luck to her. Asha you take care of yourself alright with all this running around.

    Swati, that is indeed a great compliment. Thank you. I have to try it with mor kuzhambu next time.

    Jyotsana, true. The hunt goes on ....

    Anita yes I am with you on that. Most cars on the roads are just huge with just one person driving it - what a waste.
    I think about paruppu usli often but somehow never get around to making it other than once in a blue moon.

    Linda, hope you had a great trip. Exactly Linda, those fluroscent bulbs are like fix it and forget it.
    Oh yes, I did the brinjal curry was tasty :)
    Got the seedlings transplanted outside over the weekend, it is raining today, good for the plants right? Are you ready to move them out?
    You know what those gold finches are a delight. The kids get excited when they see them still.

  16. I love this curry, and just cant seem to find kothavaranga. If they are avbl they look like they are ready to buried

  17. Parappu usilu is something I've been meaning to try for a long time! Yours with cluster beans looks yum, ISG!

  18. This dish very new to me!!!looks yummy..I will definitely try ....
    Visiting your blog for the first time,nice and yummy blog.Would love to see u on my blog....

  19. Stumbled by ur so many yummy recipes ...wonderful stuff u hve here !!

  20. I was not hot for kothavarangai back in India. But coming here, I yearn for this paruppu usili. The slight bitterness from the beans tastes really good with paruppu.


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