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MASALA SUNDAL / मसाला सुंदल (Tempered & Stir fried Black Chickpeas) – GF & Vegan

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Sundal is a south Indian dish which is made as ‘prasadam’ i.e. an offering to the Gods. So you can imagine how good it has got to be! The sundals are usually made using kala chana (black chick peas) or safed chana (white chickpeas) and sometimes with peanuts. You can use either or both. In fact you can make it with practically anything that you fancy – chickpeas, green peas, corn, peanuts, black eyed beans, red kidney beans, mung beans or a healthy mix of a few of these. Having said that, I feel that black chickpeas with their robust and earthy flavors make for the best sundal. 

I had the opportunity to first taste it at a south Indian friend’s house approximately six years back and I enjoyed it for its crunchy (because of the fried lentil), herby, earthy flavours and of course its simplicity. I did not need to ask her for its recipe since I could easily make out all the ingredients from its taste. I was pretty happy the way it turned out and later a friend told me to coarsely grind the chana dal instead of adding it whole in the tempering and it did make a difference in taste. Although most people don’t do this but I added a dash of lemon to give it a zing and it kind of wraps up the whole thing so well. This recipe is perfect for an evening snack since it is packed with protein and iron. Delicious and nutritious! 

For Chana

1 C (200 grams) Kala Chana (Black Chick Peas)

¼ tsp Salt

For masala

1 tbsp plus 1 tsp Chana dal

1 tsp whole Coriander Seeds

1 dry whole Red Chili

1 tsp grated Coconut

For tempering

2 tbsp Oil

A small pinch Heeng (Asafoetida)

1 tsp Mustard Seeds

2 dry whole Red Chilies (broken into 2 – 3 pieces)

1 tsp Urad Dal (Ivory Lentils)

A sprig Curry Leaves

1 tbsp finely chopped, fresh Coriander (cilantro)

1 tbsp finely shredded, fresh Coconut

2 – 3 tsp Lemon juice (optional)

Pick and wish the kala chana and soak it enough water for at least eight hours (preferably over night).

Discard the water and transfer the chana in to a pressure cooker. Add a glass of water and salt. Pressure cook till two whistles escape.

The pressure cooker off the heat and wait for the pressure to get released on its own. Drain the chana and set aside. (you can reserve the water instead of draining it and use it for curries or pulav)

Meanwhile, dry toast the first three ingredients of the masala will the chana dals begins to turn golden. Add the grated coconut and roast further for a minute or two or till the chana dal begins to turn golden brown.

Cool the masala and grind it to a coarse powder in a spice mixer or grinder. Keep aside.

Take on in a wok or pan and add the oil. Heat the oil and add heeng, fry for a few seconds or till it becomes aromatic and golden brown.

Add mustard seeds, broken red chilies and urad dal. Fry till the dal turns golden brown. Add curry leaves and add the chana along with the masala. Add a little salt as well.

Stir everything well. Remove from heat and add the fresh coriander, fresh coconut and lemon juice. Mix well.

Masala sundal is ready to be served as a snack or to be used as prashad.

Serves – 4 (as snack)

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Shopping for the weekly stock of vegetables has its own advantages. The biggest advantage being that you have plenty of choice to decide what to cook and plan your menu well. Apart from the fact that you can entertain your kid’s whims with an ease.
But on the flip side, one tends to miss out on fresh stock of vegetables and certain veggies (that keep lying in the fridge) never seeing the light of the day and are bound to find their way to the bin if not consumed well in time! But then every cloud has a silver lining When favourites are all done with and one is left with veggies that either hubby or kids don’t want to eat, it’s time to dish out something new and tweak and experiment in the kitchen.
Green garbanzo beans are always given a step motherly treatment by my hubby and daughter. I usually add them to make pilaf or make a curry by adding potatoes to it.
This time around though I decided to bring in a change in the style of preparation. Instead of a gravy dish, that I usually prepare, I decided to make a quick warm salad. Not with onions and tomatoes for sure, I decided
At the end of it, it was satisfying to see my daughter dig her fork into it and polishing off the whole stuff on her plate (though it required a lot of coaxing to make her taste it initially!!).
Here is what all you will need for this quick salad with simple and rustic flavours:
1 cup boiled Green Garbanzo Beans (hara chana/ chholiya)
1 tsp finely grated ginger
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
2 tsp oil
A small pinch asafoetida (heeng)
1 – 2 green chillies, finely chopped
Salt to taste
A sprinkle of red chili powder or black pepper
½ – 1 tsp lemon juice (optional)
Boil or steam the green grams till they are just tender.
Heat a thick bottomed pan or wok and add 2 tsp oil.
Add asafoetida and cumin seeds and once they start to crackle, add grated ginger and chopped green chilli and give everything a quick stir.
Once the ginger starts to turn golden, (the ginger won’t take long to turn golden, so keep stirring it continuously) add the green garbanzo beans and stir fry them for a minute or so and season them with salt and pepper.
Turn off the heat and add chopped cilantro.
To perk up all the flavours and bring them together, add lemon juice and stir them well.
Remove the contents to a serving bowl. Serve warm or at room temperature.