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Kothavarangai Paruppu Usili Recipe

Kothavarangai Paruppu Usili Recipe
Kothavarangai Paruppu Usili is my Grandma’s signature side dish to go with rice and is also a very traditional tambram recipe that is most famously known as Iyengar paruppu usili or brahmin usili in my hometown . I love having it with Rasam or vatha kulambu. Its nothing but a cluster bean and lentil curry wherein a dal paste in made, steamed, crumbled and cooked along with kothavarangai (Cluster beans) to make a flavorful, healthy and lip smacking side dish.
Iyengar Kothavarangai Paruppu Usili
Your protein content in a well balanced meal is taken care of, if you make this dish when you had made a humble rasam or a spicy kulambu as the main dish along with rice. Its takes very simple ingredients that are available already in the pantry and consumes very less oil and you can increase or decrease your spice level by adjusting the quantity of red chilies that you use to suit your spice level.

Kothavarangai Recipes

Kothavarangai Paruppu Usili

Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 20 mins | Serves: 4Cuisine: South Indian Category: Side Dish

Kothavarangai Paruppu Usili Recipe


  • Kothavarangai (Cluster Beans) – 150 gms
  • Channa Dal/Bengal gram (Kadalai Paruppu) – 1/4 cup
  • Whole dry red chilies – 4
  • Fennel seeds – 1/4 tsp
  • Cumin seeds – 1/4 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1 tsp
  • Curry leaf – 1 sprig
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oil – 2 tbsp


  1. Wash and soak channa dal for 1 hour in enough water.
  2. Wash and trim the ends of the kothavarangai (Cluster beans) and chop it fine.
  3. Drain the water from the channa dal and place it in a mixie jar. Add whole dry red chilies, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, 2 pinch salt and grind to a coarse paste without adding water.
  4. Make goose berry shaped balls of the ground paste and steam it for 8-10 minutes. You can also flatten the balls before steaming. When you insert a toothpick it should come out clean. Transfer to a plate and let it cool. Crumble the steamed balls well with your finger tips and keep aside.
  5. Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and when it splutters add urad dal and curry leaf and cook for 10-15 seconds will the dal becomes golden brown.
  6. Add the crumbled, steamed dal and saute for a few seconds. Add finely chopped kothavarangai, turmeric powder, salt, 1 tsp water and mix well.
  7. Close the pan with a lid and let it cook over low flame for 5-7 minutes.
  8. The mixture should look well merged and dry yet moist. By this time the kothavarangai must have cooked till soft and the raw smell of the crumbled dal have gone.
  9. Transfer to a serving dish and serve hot with any spicy kulambu or rasam.

Kothavarangai Poriyal with Dal | Side dish recipes for rice


  1. Do not add water except for 1/2 to 1 tsp while grinding. The mixture should be thick.
  2. Many cook the kothavarangai separately and add it to the crumbled dal while cooking. But that is extra work and also leads to loss of nutrients. If you chop it finely, it will get cooked along with the dal itself under 5 minutes.
  3. You can also a pinch of asafetida while tempering for the dish but avoid it if you are looking for a devout vegan recipe.

Peerkangai Oorpu Recipe | Ridge Gourd (Turai) Dal Recipe

Peerkangai Oorpu Recipe
This is once again my MIL’s recipe that belongs to the South Arcot Cuisine, which slightly differs from the usual Peerkangai kootu that my mom used to make at home that involved some grinding. But this kootu recipe needs no grinding and has the most unique flavor and taste. Peerakangai is a vegetable that I happen to love as no part of it goes waste. The peel can be used to make Thogayal (chutney) and the rest of the vegetable also gets used well. In my MIL’s place, a dish that has ground coconut paste is referred as a kootu and the one without, which can be had as a main dish with rice and also as a side dish like the kootu is referred as “Oorpu”.

Peerkangai Kootu recipe

Peerkangai Oorpu / Ridge Gourd Dal

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Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 25 mins | Serves: 4


  • Peerkangai (Ridge Gourd) – 500 gms
  • Tur dal (Pigeon Peas) – 1/2 cup
  • Onion, medium – 1
  • Tomato, medium – 1
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1/2 tsp
  • Whole dry red chili – 2
  • Sambar powder – 2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Fresh grated coconut – 3 tbsp
  • Black pepper corns – 5 to 6
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Coriander leaves – 1 tbsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oil – 2 tsp


1. Wash Peerkangai (Ridge Gourd) and trim the edges. Scrape the skin completely and chop the vegetable finely. Chop the onion and tomato finely and keep aside.

2. Pressure cook tur dal (pigeon peas) in enough water, turmeric powder. Mash well and keep aside.

3. Heat a pan with oil. Add mustard seeds and when it crackles, add broken whole dry red chili, urad dal and when it turns golden brown, add onion and sauté till it turns translucent.

4. Add tomatoes, chopped peerkangai and sauté till they wilt. Add 1/4 cup water, salt, sambar powder, mix well and close with and let it cook for 2-3 minutes. (You can also add the water used to cook tur dal if you happen to have in excess).

5. Add mashed dal, more water if needed to get the thick consistency, mix well and let it cook for another 3-4 minutes over low flame.

6. In a mortar, using the pestle crush the whole pepper corns coarsely and keep it ready. Do this just before adding to the gravy and not before hand, as the flavor of the pepper is very important.

7. Now mix in grated coconut, crushed pepper corns, curry leaves, coriander leaves and transfer to the serving bowl. Close with a lid and leave it for 5 minutes for the all the flavors to mingle and set.

8. You can have this dal (gravy) by mixing it with rice and enjoy with a side dish or serve this as a side dish to any sambar or kulambu rice as a kootu.

Peerkangai Oorpu


1. You can also make the same dish with podalangai (Snake gourd) and Chow-Chow (Chayote).
2. Replacing tur dal with moong dal will not taste that good.
3. Make sure that you completely remove the skin, else it will not taste that good. No need to discard the pith inside the ridge gourd.
4. Do not waste the skin (peel) you have removed from the skin and use it make chutney.

Peerkangai Paruppu

Vazhai Thandu Poriyal Recipe | Plantain (Banana) Stem Curry/Stir Fry

Vazhai Thandu Poriyal Recipe
Vazhai thandu / Plantain Stem which is also known as Plantain pith happens to be rich in fibre and also has many medicinal benefits. When my younger one was suffering from constipation years back, the Doctor advised me to feed him the juice extracted from the plantain stem as a natural cure. The juice is also given to young girls to attain puberty as it cleanses the Uterus in a natural way and also heals the stomach cramps that they may suffer during the mensus time. As this is a no onion, no garlic recipe, its perfect to make and have with lunch during Vrat (fasting) days when you are not supposed to cook those ingredients. While my Mom makes the Banana Stem poriyal differently, this curry version is my MIL’s that is simple, quick which does not involve any grinding.

Vazhaithandu Poriyal

Vazhathandu Poriyal Recipe

Prep time: 15 mins  |  Cook time: 15 mins  |  Serves: 4
Recipe Cuisine: South Indian  |  Recipe Category: Side Dish

Vazhaithandu Poriyal


  • Vazhai Thandu / Plantain (Banana) Stem – 2 cups
  • Tur Dal (pigeon peas) – 3 tbsp
  • Sambar powder – 2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Grated coconut – 1/4 cup
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1 tsp
  • Bengal Gram / Channa dal – 1 tsp
  • Whole dry red chilies – 2
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Asafetida – 1/8 tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oil – 3 tsp


  1. Remove the outer covering or thick hard shells covering the tender plantain stem and discard them.
  2. Cut the plantain stem into roundels and further chop them fine. Remove any fibre that comes off while chopping and discard them.
  3. You can soak the chopped plantain stem in a mixture of buttermilk and water to avoid any discoloration. This step is purely optional.
  4. Soak the tur dal in enough water for 15 minutes or before you begin chopping the stem.
  5. Heat a pan with oil. Add mustard seeds and when they crackle, add urad dal and channa dal and once they become golden brown, add broken dry chilies, asafetida and sauté for a few seconds.
  6. Now add the soaked tur dal after draining the water away, chopped plantain stem, salt and mix well. Close with a lid and cook for 2 minutes.
  7. Now add sambar powder, turmeric powder, mix well and let it cook over low flame. Keep mixing in between for even cooking of the plantain stem. No need to close with a lid or add water. The moisture in the stem is enough to cook. It should take 5-7 minutes to get cooked till the stem becomes soft.
  8. Before taking off add grated coconut, curry leaves, mix well and take off fire. Close with a lid and leave it for 2-3 minutes for the flavors to merge together.
  9. Serve as a side dish with rice and gravies.

Plantain Stem Stir Fry


  1. If you are soaking the chopped plantain stem in buttermilk to prevent discoloration, drain the stem before adding it to the curry.
  2. Do not discard the buttermilk used for soaking. Add salt to taste and drink it. It will taste a bit sour but trust me it is now full of fibre and nutrients to waste it away.

Chakkaravalli Kilangu Poriyal / Sweet Potato Curry Recipe | Side dish Recipes for Rice

Chakkaravalli Kilangu Poriyal
If you are on the look out for a sweet and spicy combination in a poriyal/curry for side dishes to rice, this is the recipe for you.  As this curry is mildly spiced, the kids will love it. This curry tastes amazing and goes very well if had with a hot and spicy Kulambu rice.

You can adapt the same recipe for good old potatoes as well but the taste will not be the same. As the second most harvested crop next to Peanuts in my In-Laws place are sweet potatoes, the people of the town make varied recipes out of it and this is the one that I love the most as its a simple and quick side dish.

Side dish for Rice

Chakkaravalli Kilangu Poriyal | Sweet Potato Curry

Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 10 mins | Serves: 3-4


  • Chakkaravalli Kilangu (Sweet Potato) – 1/4 kgs
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Urad Dal – 1 tsp
  • Asafetida – 1/4 tsp
  • Curry leaf – 1 sprig
  • Oil – 3 tsp
  • Salt – to taste

To be ground to a coarse paste:

  • Fresh grated coconut – 1/4 cup
  • Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Fennel seeds (perunseeragam) – 3/4 tsp
  • Garlic pods – 2 (optional)
  • Sambar onions (Shallots) – 3
  • Dry whole red chilies – 4
  • Turmeric powder – 1/8 tsp


1. Wash and trim the edges of sweet potatoes. Pressure cook in enough water for 2 whistles over medium flame. After the pressure is released, let it cool. Peel the skin off and cut either into roundels or into large chunks and keep it aside.
2. In a mixie or in a food processor, place all the ingredients mentioned for grinding and using the pulse or whipper button grind to a coarse paste. If you feel that the ingredients are not getting ground, use just 1/2 to 3/4 tsp of water.
3. Heat a pan with oil. Add the mustard seeds and when they pop, add the urad dal and roast for 1 minute till it becomes golden brown. Now add asafetida and curry leaves.
4. Add the coarsely ground paste, salt and the sweet potato roundels, 2 tsp of water and mix well.
5. Close with a lid and let it cook over low flame. Mix in between. The mixture should cook from the steam released by it. If you feel the mixture sticking to the bottom of the pan, just add 1-2 tsp of water to keep it moist or 1-2 tsp of oil if you want the curry to be well roasted.
6. Let it cook for 5-7 minutes for all the flavors to merge together and the mixture becomes dry.
7. Take off stove and serve hot with Sambar or Kulambu saadam.

Sweet Potato Stir fry


1. If you make this in a non stick pan, there is no need to add extra water or oil as you will not get the sticking to the pan problem.
2. If you want the curry to be well roasted, add 3-4 tsp of oil in step-4 and cook for extra 3-4 minutes over low flame.

Muttakos Kootu / Cabbage Kootu

Cabbage Kootu
Cabbage is a veggie that is mostly ignored at home. Other than adding it to any stir fried rice or noodles I very rarely make anything of it as the kids do not like its smell. When ever I make a poriyal/stir fry out of cabbage I end up having to finish it all as nobody touches it. So I make this kootu/Stew out of it as they cannot find out what vegetable has been used in it and they finish it off without complaining. Even if they ask I tell them it is make of some other vegetable.  This mildly spiced kootu/stew will taste just perfect when served as an accompaniment with any kuzhambu that is very spicy. 

As I pressure cooked the cabbage along with the dal and mashed it slightly, it totally became impossible for my kids to make out the vegetable that I have used. The coconut added the much needed aroma and the spices give just about enough flavor.

So here is a simple and hearty lentil stew….

Wash the dal and cook it along with cabbage.

Grind the ingredients to a fine paste.
Cook the kootu. Make the seasoning, mix and serve hot.

Cabbage Kootu
Muttakos / Cabbage Kootu

Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Serves: 3 to 4


  • Cabbage – 300 gms
  • Channa Dal / Kadalai Paruppu – 1 tbsp
  • Yellow Moong dal / Pachcha Paruppu – 4 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1 tsp
  • Asafetida – 1 pinch
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oil – 1/2 tsp

To grind:

  • Fresh grated coconut – 1/4 cup
  • Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Green chilies – 4
  • Shallots / Sambar onions – 4


1. Wash both the dals together and place them in a pressure cooker.
2. Add roughly chopped cabbage, turmeric powder and with enough water pressure cook for 2 whistles.
3. When cooked slightly mash all the ingredients together.
4. Grind the ingredients mentioned under “To Grind” using little water to a fine paste.
5. Add the ground paste to the cooked cabbage and dal mixture and add enough water (approx., 1/3 cup) or to the consistency you prefer. Add salt and bring it to a boil over medium low flame and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.
6. Heat a pan with oil. Add mustard seeds and when it splutters add urad dal, asafetida, curry leaves and sauté till the dal gets roasted. Pour the seasoning over the dal and mix well.

7. Serve hot as an accompaniment with rice or rotis.

  • If you do not happen to have shallots use 1/2 onion for grinding.
  • Adjust the green chilies according to your spice level.
  • You can leave out channa dal while cooking and make this kootu with just moong dal.