Chettinad Pitlai or Kola

Pitlai or Kola – as is called in our homes; Usili – the popular name (for the same dry vegetable dish) in Southern India. It is packed with protein power; as the main ingredient is dal/paruppu/lentils.

It is best eaten with Rice and any one of these gravies - Mor Kuzhambu / Kara Kuzhambu / Rasam. These gravies do not have dal in them. So, this is a perfect compliment. Also, mixed with rice and ghee – the taste is awesome.

Vazhaipoo Pitlai


Vazhai poo 2 cups

Tur dal ½ cup

Channa dal ¼ cup

Dry Red Chillies 4 - 6

Fennel seeds 1 tsp

Asafetida ¼ tsp

Turmeric Pd

Salt to taste

Oil 4 Tbsp

Mustard ½ tsp

Urad dal ½ tsp

Red Chili 1

Curry Leaves 2 sprigs


Soak the lentils (channa dal and tur dal) together for 2 hours in just enough water. Drain the lentils well. Keep aside for 10 minutes. Coarsely grind lentils with dry red chillies, fennel seeds, and asafetida. Add turmeric pd and ¼ tsp salt and oil. Mix well and spoon into greased idli plate. Steam until cooked (8 – 10 minutes). Cool for some time and crumble the mixture. Keep aside.

Pick and clean the vazhapoo (banana flowerettes). Remove the stamen.

Chop and drop them in water to avoid discoloration.

Cook the chopped vazhaipoo in little water with salt to taste. Squeeze out the excess water and keep aside.

Heat oil and splutter mustard seeds. Add urad dal, chili and curry leaves.

Add cooked vazhaipoo and sauté for a few minutes. Add crumbled lentil mix and sauté. Mix well. Sprinkle water and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.

If the mixture seems very dry sprinkle some more water.

Serve hot with Mor Kuzhambu / Kara Kuzhambu / Rasam.


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