The Sensitive Kitchen

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Traditional Sundal (Basic Dry-Fried Chickpeas with Coconut)

Today is the first of the 9 days of Navratri, a Hindu festival celebrating the divine feminine. People throw parties in their homes, dance, and of course eat! One of the many variations of sundal, a very simple dish of spiced cooked beans, is usually enjoyed every night. This is the most traditional kind.

3/4 cup dried chickpeas
2 tsp coconut oil
1-2 dry red chiles
3/4 tsp black mustard seeds
3/4 tsp urid dal
1 pinch asafetida
10 curry leaves
2-3 Tbsp freshly grated coconut (or fresh frozen)
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste

Soak the chickpeas overnight in triple their volume of water, or quick-soak them by bringing them to a boil in triple their volume of water, then letting them stand for 1 hour. Drain; cook or pressure-cook in water to cover until soft but not mushy. It's traditional when making sundal to cook the chickpeas "al dente" (with a bit of bite). Drain chickpeas, reserving cooking liquid for another use (soup stock, chapati dough, etc.).

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, add chiles. Toss to coat with oil, then add mustard seeds and urid dal. Cover immediately. When popping subsides and dal is golden brown, add asafetida and curry leaves. Cook, stirring, until fragrant (this will take only a few seconds). Add drained chickpeas and salt. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring, until well coated. Add coconut; remove from heat and stir well. Serves 4 as a snack or prasad.

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