Sundal; the word itself brings back memories of childhood and navarathiri festivals, visits to the beach in Chennai. “Thengai mangai pattani sundal” the young man would shout as he walked up and down Elliott's Beach with his basket and lamp.
For a few pennies he would hand you a warm pack of sundal wrapped in a bit of newspaper. The fading sun set, the sand blowing in the breeze, the hushing sound of the waves, the salty air, crabs currying about and the spicy mix of sundal. Were they carefree days? Or were we just younger then? I have recently been experimenting with this sundal since last Navarathiri and I think I have it now. It takes a bit of preparation and forethought to soak the chick peas (garbanzo’s) overnight. But the cooking time is fairly short and quick. I make a large quantity and have it for several days and share with neighbors and friends.
Sundal with chick peas, coconut and mango
Dried chick peas – 1 lb
Raw peanuts – 1 cup
Sesame Oil – 4-6 tbsp
Crushed chili pepper flakes – 1 tsp
Fresh green chilies – 4-6
Diced Jalapeño – 1
Black mustard seed – 1 tsp
Urad dal – 2 tsp
Asafoetida (hing) – 1/2 tsp
Grated coconut (fresh or frozen) – 1 cup
Unripe mango diced – 1 and 1/2 cups
Fresh lime juice – 4 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Curry Leaves minced – 8 -12
Chopped cilantro – 1/2 cup
Fresh Ginger ( tender) minced – 2 tbsp
Before you start cooking, place a small plate in the freezer.
Soak the chick peas in cold water over night and rinse. Cook them till they are just tender but not soft with a tbsp of salt. In my pressure cooker this takes one minute after it hisses and I take it off the heat and put it under cold water until the pressure releases. I then drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking. You can use a slow cooker or just a covered pot. You will have to figure out the times to get the cooked but still firm consistency.
Heat the oil in a large stock pot or sauté pan and temper the mustard seeds and urad. Add the peanuts and stir for 30 seconds. Then add the chili flakes, the asafoetida, the green chilies, the ginger and stir for another 30 seconds or so. Add the ginger and curry leaves and stir in the chick peas.
Stir for a few minutes over medium heat till they are coated with the spices and oil. Salt to taste.
Now remove from heat, add the grated coconut and toss and add the lime juice, mango and cilantro.
Serve by itself, over a salad or bed of fresh greens, with yogurt rice or even with some watermelon.