Keeping with the spirit of Navaratri, today (and the next 8 days, in all likelihood) is, of course, sundal day! For the uninitiated, Navaratri is a lovely Indian festival where the Mother Goddess is worshipped in her avatars of Durga, Lakshmi & Saraswati over the course of 9 evenings (nava in Sanskrit means 9 and ratri means night). What I love the most about this festival is that different communities celebrate it various ways, so Navaratri is Gujarat is very, very different from the one in Tamil Nadu, which is nothing similar to West Bengal.
Having grown up with my paternal grandparents who are Tamil, I’ve loved celebrating Navaratri the Tamil way. For me, Navaratri will always mean only two things – golu and sundal! I really, really, really wanted to have my own golu this year, what with this being my first married Navaratri and all that, but I just couldn’t get my hands on any figurines. *sniff*
At least I didn’t have to forego to sundal, cos it’s the easiest thing ever to make and you probably have everything you need lying around in your kitchen! Sundal is essentially cooked legumes, tempered with mustard seeds and stir-fried with coconut or raw mango. This is the basic 1-2-3 of any sundal you’ll ever make! It is traditional to make nine different sundals for the nine evenings of Navaratri. It is usually offered to the Mother Goddess first, after which you’re free to stuff your face with it!
For today’s channa dal sundal, wash some channa dal and soak it for 2-3 hours. Just before you start making the sundal, get everything else you need together!
Get some water boiling in a vessel and tip the soaked channa dal in and cook it till tender. Don’t mush it up, or it’s not going to be pretty. And trust me, nobody wants to eat baby food sundal! When it’s perfect, drain it and set aside.
Heat a teeny tiny bit of oil in a kadhai or frying pan. Temper with some mustard seeds and broken urad. Once the mustard pops, throw in the asafoetida, curry leaves and green chillies. I don’t get curry leaves where I live, which is why you don’t see them here but don’t skip them – they are AMAZING! Now, get all the cooked channa dal in, give it a quick stir so everything’s combined. Then add the coconut, another quick stir and take it off the heat!
Ta da! So delish and SO healthy!
KADALAIPARUPPU / CHANNA DAL SUNDAL
Prep Time: 3 hours | Cook Time: 10 mins | Serves 2
½ cup kadalaiparuppu/channa dal
¼ cup fresh coconut, grated
1 tsp oil
2 long green chillies, slit
4-5 curry leaves
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp broken urad
Salt, to taste
A fat pinch of asafoetida (hing)
- Wash the kadalaiparuppu and soak in enough water (at least twice its volume) for 2-3 hours.
- In a medium saucepan, boil 2 cups of water. Drain the kadalaiparuppu and tip it into the boiling water. Add salt and cook for 4-5 minutes till tender but not mushy. Drain and set aside.
- In a medium pan, heat oil and temper with mustard seeds. Once they pop, add the asafoetida, broken urad, green chillies and curry leaves. Fry for a few seconds.
- Add the cooked kadalaiparuppu, sautéing for a minute so that everything is well combined.
- Finally, add the coconut, give it a good stir and take it off the heat.
- Serve hot with a steaming tumbler of coffee!
ADAPTATIONS & HACKS
- Lots of people I know like to add a bit of chopped ginger while tempering and a squeeze of lemon juice just before serving. Both add a different flavour dimension to the sundal!