Friday, October 19, 2012

Broccoli Usili

For all its fame of being a powerhouse of nutrients, the Broccoli is definitely an acquired taste. Whether you have acquired it or not will be evident from the presence or absence of various bits of the vegetable pushed around your plate.

Glamorous as it sounds "Oh I'm making broccoli soup today!, I make sure that I have broccoli on my plate everyday", I am yet to acquire the taste. To me, eating broccoli makes me feel like a cow chewing its cuds.  Dont get me wrong. A lot of people love broccoli. It is a healthy vegetable and I am plagued by guilt everytime I walk past the broccoli basket in the market - mocking at me for not feeding healthy vegetables to my family. So invariably it finds its way into my fridge and looks at me every day as it moves through its lifecycle hoping that my sleepy face would take it out that day.

Well today is a lucky day for that broccoli in my fridge. (or it would have been its last day). At our house, we make usili with everything that is in a terminal stage. The addition of the lentils adds protein (and masks the flavor and texture - remember the cow!), brings the dish alive (pun intended)  and makes me happy that not only did I save the vegetable from the dustbin, but I actually made it even more healthier. Wow.

Combined with a simple rasam, this makes for a complete meal. And makes me acquire the taste for broccoli.

Broccoli Usili
Recipe Souce: Own


Broccoli - 1, cut into small florets
Chilli Powder - 1T (I use Sambar Powder)
Oil - 1/2 t
Salt to taste

For the Usili

Tuar Dal - 1/4 cup
Channa Dal - 1/4 cup
Dried Red Chillies - 4-5
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Turmeric - 1/2t
Mustard seeds - 1 t
Urad dal - 1t
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Oil to grease the plate



Soak the dals for 2 - 3 hours and grind it coarsley along with the chillies, asafoetida and turmeric.
Using an idli plate (or any steamer plate or a microwave steamer), place the ground usili like idlies (dumplings) and steam them for 15 minutes.
Remove and crumble the required quanitiy of the usili idli on a plate. The rest of the usili idlies can be removed and stored in ziploc bags/containers in the freezer for later use.
Heat one teaspoon of oil in a pan. Splutter mustard seeds, urad dal and curry leaves. Add the crumbled usili and fry well. Remove onto a plate.
In the same pan, add 1/2 teaspoon of oil and fry the broccoli florets. The color will turn dark green. Do not allow it to wilt. Add chilli powder and salt and fry until they are cooked but still crunchy. Add the usili and fry until the broccoli is mixed well. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve with rice and rasam.

  •  The same recipe can be used for various vegetables like beans, karamani and even spinach.
  • While using the frozen usilis, defrost them by leaving it in room temperature for about an hour or in the microwave by sprinkling a bit of water and reheating it in a closed container for 2-3 minutes.
  • The dals and spice levels can be adjusted to each one's preferences. It is a very forgiving recipe.
  • Any excess usili can also be made into pakoras by adding chopped onion and chillies.

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