Pudavalangai Usili (Snakegourd Crumble)

I had previously posted a cabbage usili recipe and mentioned that several vegetables can be used to make usili. Usilis are from Thamizhnadu. It basically means that a vegetable is mixed with a lentil crumble. These dishes are very tasty and nutritious. Today, my post is on snakegourd usili.

5 cups finely chopped snakegourd (chichinda, pudavalangai)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
A generous pinch of asafoetida (hing, perunkayam)
1 sprig curry leaves
Salt to taste
To Soak
1/4 cup Bengal gram (chana dal, kadalai parupu)
1/4 cup pigeon peas (tur dal, thuvaram parupu)
2 dried red chillies
To Temper
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (sarson, kadugu)
1/2 tsp split black gram (urad dal, ulutham parupu)
Wash the Bengal gram and pigeon peas
Soak for 30 minutes, adding the red chillies
Drain the water completely
Transfer to a blender and add asafoetida, curry leaves and salt
Grind to a coarse paste (no need to add water)
Make lemon sized balls of the ground mixture
Steam for about 10 minutes
Let it cool and pulse in a blender to get a fine powder
Set aside
Steam the snakegourd for about 10 minutes
Set aside
Heat a medium sized wok
Add mustard seeds
When they begin to splutter, add the split black gram
Once the black gram becomes golden brown, add the steamed snakegourd, turmeric powder and salt
Mix well
Cover and cook for about 3 minutes or till spices are well blended into the snakegourd (do not add water)
Stir occasionally
Now add the ground powder and cook on low flame for 6-7 minutes
Remove from flame and serve hot with brown/red rice

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