Sundal: A Festive Delight
The latter part of the year is a time for strengthening family bonds, repeating yearly rituals and celebrating the uniqueness of our cultural practices. Gatherings are also memorable because of the food that accompanies the sense of togetherness and warmth. Songs sung in praise of the divine and the rustle of festive attire against the sounds of a busy kitchen is so quintessentially India.
One of the dishes that is often prepared during this season is sundal, a simple yet delicious snack made from pulses and lentils cooked in coconut oil and seasoned with spices. Sundal is a precious offering which satisfies so many senses when eaten. Each variety of sundal has its own taste profile. The bite of that soft yet wholesome kabuli chana, the rounded roll of the green moong as it slides to the back of the mouth, the touch of warmth from that sizzling vagar and the sight of glossy brown channa glistening in the residue of the cooking liquid is altogether a welcome and mouthwatering sight.
How to make Sundal
Sundal can be made with any lentil of your choice, such as brown chana, kabuli chana or green gram. Here are the steps to make sundal:
- 1 1/2 cups of any lentil of choice
- 2 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
- 2 sprigs of curry leaves
- 6-8 dried red chillies
- A pinch of asafoetida
- 1 tablespoon of ginger, cut into thin strips (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon of urad dal
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 cup of fresh grated coconut
1. Soak the lentils overnight or for at least 8 hours for brown chana and kabuli chana, and for 2 hours for green gram. After soaking, drain the liquid and use it for the plants.
2. Add enough water to cover and pressure cook until done. Brown chana takes about 5 whistles, kabuli chana takes about 6-7 whistles and green moong takes about 2 whistles.
3. Check if it is cooked to the required consistency. It should be soft yet whole. Set aside with a little of the cooking liquid.
4. Heat the virgin coconut oil in a kadai on a low flame. Add the asafoetida and mustard seeds. After they pop, add the urad dal, ginger, chillies and curry leaves.
5. Add the cooked pulses or lentils with a little of the cooking liquid. Mix well so that they are evenly coated in oil. Add salt and mix well.
6. Add the grated coconut, mix thoroughly and take off the fire.
7. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Enjoy your sundal with your family and friends and celebrate the festive spirit!
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