Of course, you can make Usili with cabbage, capsicum, cluster beans, broad beans and the most popular French beans, so I was tempted to try it with asparagus.
Asparagus Usili Recipe
Asparagus (I used the thinner Thai variety) – 1 cup, cut into 1″ pieces and par boiled in boiling water for 3 mins
Toor dal / tuvaram paruppu – 1/2 cup
Channa dal / kadala paruppu – 1 tbsp
Dried red chillies – 3 to 4
Hing/asafoetida (kayam) – 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder – a pinch
Oil – 1 tbsp (depends on the method you use to cook the dal)
Salt – to taste
How I Made It:
1. Wash and soak the toor dal and channa dal (you can put them together) for about 1.5 hours.
2. Once soft, grind this coarsely with red chillies, turmeric, some salt and hing and as little water as possible (Sprinkle a few drops so the mixture comes together a bit).
3. The next step is to cook this dal mixture with the asparagus. Its really that simple. There are different ways to cook the dal.
(a) Microwave it till almost done, stirring every one minute. It will take about 4 minutes for it to be almost cooked.
(b) Pat the dal mixture with your hand until you have one thick round roti-like disc and then steam it for 3-4 minutes. This won’t work if you added too much water while grinding. Not to worry, either follow step (a) or
(c) Pour copious amounts of oil (you need atleast 3-4 tbsp) into a pan and stir-fry the dal mixture. This will take anywhere between 7-10 minutes and is allegedly the tastiest of them all.
I have tried all three methods and found that the steaming method makes the softest and healthiest usili. The microwave version tends to make it a bit dry but its really not that bad at all. The oil-heavy one is the best of course. It has to be, otherwise it defies the rules of healthy cooking and eating.
4. If you already started out in a pan, then just add the asparagus when the dal is almost done and cook for another 4-5 minutes without adding more oil. If you microwaved or steamed the dal, then heat a pan, add 1 tbsp oil and dump in the dal and asparagus and mix well for about 5 minutes.
huge thanks for that. glad you like usili 🙂 this is one of my favourite recipes too!
Found your website to be awesome. Your banana cake recipe is a monthly treat. I use a variation of the usili recipe. I follow the same steps until the grinding part. After that I pat the ground up mixture into idli stands and steam it up. Then I freeze it in a bag (max 1 month) and whenever I feel lazy I take out two idlis roast the onions and beans and just grate the idli into the mixture and usili is easily ready :).
What a neat idea – Asparagus usili. I just heard from another friend that they make sevai with usili. So, now I have 2 things to try out! Looks gorgeous as usual!
Tried and tested. Very nice.
thanks for reminding me of this forgotten recipe. i will sure try out this recipe
Nice way of cooking asparagus…looks yummy,…..
That looks really really delicious – usili is one of my favs and would have never thought to use asparagus in it.
I also make usili when I get really tender asparagus…normally during the winters here….Looks yummy and a great click.