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Sunday, September 03, 2017

Zucchini Paruppusili

Paruppusili is a traditional south Indian side dish made with vegetables and lentils. Ever since my first taste of Banana Flower Paruppusili my mom made when I was young, I have been terribly fond of this dish, and still consider it a comfort food.

These days I make paruppusili from various other vegetables, not just banana flowers. I love the concept: fresh seasonal veggie lightly steamed; then sauteed with pan-fried lentils. The lentils are not just cooked and fried, but, they undergo a wonderful procedure that boosts their presence in this dish.

A few of the garden zucchinis needed to be harvested. While thinking of ways to cook them up, paruppusili popped into my head. Along with some carrots, zucchini paruppusili seemed like a good idea.

Typically, I soak some Tuvar dal (split pigeon peas) in warm water along with some fenugreek seeds and dry red chilies. Then, grind into a thick paste that can be shaped into balls. Steam these balls, they will harden a bit but yet have the soft consistency of a meatball. At this point, the lentil balls can be cooled and frozen for later use.

For the paruppusili dish, the steamed  lentil balls are coarsely crumbled and pan-fried in coconut oil till lightly crispy; then the steamed veggies are tossed in with salt to taste. That's it. Served warm or at room temperature, this dish is a complete meal.

Of course, it might be okay to skip the make-into-ball-and-steam routine, and just pan-fry the ground up lentil paste.

If the steamed lentils are going to be crumbled anyway, why bother making them into balls? Well, the lentil balls are used to make another one of my comfort foods - Paruppu Urundai Kozhambu.

Between the Paruppusili and Paruppu urundai sambar, when one is planned the other automatically begs its existence as well.

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