Rice usili is a classic dish prepared by my grandma for our lunch boxes when we were kids. I had completely forgotten about this until my mom reminded me of this when we were online. Rice or arisi usili is usually prepared with rice and any type of dhal. This dish is a combination between upma and pongal. The dhal will be still whole and gives a good texture to the whole dish. The seasonings used here are also very simple ones. I am not sure where this dish is from. When I asked my mom about this, even she was not sure about this. If anybody is familiar with arisi usili, please share your thoughts and memories in this post friends. I have followed my grandma’s exact recipe here except that I substituted the rice with cracked wheat.
Coming on to my recipe, I made a lighter version of this dish with cracked wheat. This was equally delicious and comforting as the original one. I had tried this for the first time last week when my hubby was away on a business trip. That day I had this meen kuzumbu. The next day, I had prepared kathrikai kothsu to go along with this and we had it for breakfast. My hubby loved this very much and in fact he had finished off the whole thing. I cooked the usili in rice cooker. Rice cooker cooking makes the usili very fluffy when compared to cooking in pressure cooker, so here is my next recipe in my diet series. This combination of lentils and whole grains is also awesome :)
1. Cracked wheat, 1 cup, (fine rava wont work so well here, I have used a little bit bigger variety, this can be substituted with bulgur wheat).
2. Toor dhal or moong dhal, ½ cup.
3. Whole pepper corns, ¼ teaspoon.
4. Cumin seeds, ½ teaspoon.
5. Red chilies, 1-2, can be left whole or broken.
6. Curry leaves, a sprig.
7. Salt as per taste.
Wash the lentils well and cook them until they are done half way through. The lentils should still be whole. I cooked mine in the microwave. I cooked the dhal for 15 minutes with just enough water to cover the lentils. When cooking the dhal in the microwave, add a drop of oil to prevent the water from boiling over. Drain the water from the dhal and add it the cracked wheat. Transfer the contents to an electric rice cooker, add ½ teaspoon of salt, and 2 cups of water and cook until they are done. The cracked wheat can also be cooked on stove top also under medium flame, stirring in between until it is dry. Heat a small pan with some oil. Add the seasonings one by one and fry for a few seconds until good smell emanates from them. Pour the seasonings over the usili and mix everything well. Serve hot with any side dish like sambar, kothsu, or chutney.