'Vaazhapoo usili' is an elaborate dish but worth the effort for its fabulous taste. It has the added nourishment of lentils and tastes great with most koottans. Better to prepare this with a non-dal koottan like 'morkoottan' / 'pulungari' though it tastes great with sambar too.
- Vaazhapoo - 1
- Tuvar dal / chana dal – 4 tbsp
- Whole red chilli – 2 - 3
- Asafetida – a pinch
- Oil –1 ½ - 2 tbsp
- Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
- Urad dal – 1 tsp
- Whole red chilli – 1” piece
- Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
- Salt to taste
- Grated coconut - 2 tbsp
- Curry leaves – 8
- Soak chana dal in water for 20-30 minutes.
- Wash, drain off the water and grind a bit coarsely with red chilli and salt.
- Remove 5-6 petals of the vaazhapoo and discard them. When the next layer turns yellowish purple, stop.
- Wash the vaazhapoo and chop it finely.
- Make sure you remove the thick stamens which cannot be cut. (See photo 2 above).
- Sprinkle 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder and 1 tsp of salt and mix well and leave aside for 20 minutes.
- Add 1 tbsp of curd and water to the above and mix and set aside for another 10 - 15 minutes.
- Wash well a couple of times.
- Add water, turmeric powder and salt and pressure-cook it for 3-4 whistles.
- On cooling, drain off the water through a colander.
- Heat the oil in a pan.
- Add mustard seeds, urad dal, red chilli and asafetida.
- Then add the ground dal and stir. Cook uncovered for 2-3 minutes.
- Sprinkle a little water and cook covered for 5-8 minutes on low heat, stirring in between.
- Stir well and continue to cook on low heat, adding a little more oil if needed till the dal turns light brown and crispy.
- Add curry leaves and stir.
- Add the cooked vaazhapoo and mix well.
- Add grated coconut and mix.
- Turn off the heat.
- Serve hot with rice and koottan.
1. If you want to cut down on oil, steam the ground dal in a pressure cooker for 10-15 minutes by making flat vadas and placing them on greased idli plates. On cooling, crumble them and add them to the tadka and continue.
2. Beans usili can be prepared in this manner too.
3. Also 'kothavarakka' usili.