French Bean Usili

Usili is a vegetable/lentil side very popular in South India. A mixture of lentils is soaked, ground to a paste with seasoning, steamed, crumbled and then cooked with a vegetable. Every time I see usili on a fellow bloggers space I think of trying it. Today it all came together.

I had fresh French beans in the refrigerator waiting to be used. I had bookmarked Rajani's post for usli from her blog My Kitchen Trials. And I read the recipe when I was wondering what I was going to cook for lunch.

I mostly followed the source recipe, tweaked it a little to suit our taste. I soaked the dals just before going to bed last night. The whole process takes some time which is usually at a premium in the morning. I had planned on making poli with this side but decided to cook rice instead. We had dal rice with this side. Awesome!

You will need (4 servings)
1/4 cup toor dal
1/4 cup channa dal
1 large handful of French beans
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. asafoetida
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. amboshi or amchur powder (optional)
salt to taste

Soak the channa dal and toor dal for at least 2-3 hours. I soaked it overnight and loved the results. When ready drain the water and put the dal in a blender. Add very little fresh water, paprika and asafoetida. Grind to a paste. Cook the paste in pressure cooker.I cooked it for 10 minutes after placing the pressure. Turn off the heat and let the pressure subside completely.

Meanwhile rinse the beans, cut off the ends and dice. Keep aside. When the cooked ground dal cools down, crumble it using a food processor or your fingers. Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. When they crackle add the turmeric powder followed by the diced beans, crumbled dal and the rest of the ingredients.

Combine and let cook over medium flame until the beans are cooked. Taste great with dal rice or poli.



  1. This is one of my favorite dishes. It's been a while I made it, your tempting me to try it soon :-)

  2. u nailed it Varada ! looks great :)

    if i may suggest, do steam the ground dal separately in idli moulds for 12-15 mins, that way they cool faster and u get those coarse bits easily !!

  3. Readingbtge whole recipe was a pleasant delight as this whole recipe is new to me .
    May someday I will try this so am bookmarking this . Your recipes are really good and mouthwatering :-)

  4. A protein packed side dish. A favorite of mine.

  5. Ultimate beans usili, can have this dish with some hot piping rasam rice.

  6. I have started to love this usli only recently!

  7. Looks so inviting. I have tried it once but couldn't convince family members to eat but I loved it.

  8. how interesting the way the lentils are ground - will have to try it


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