A savory Tamilian snack made with chickpeas, grated coconut, mustard seeds, and curry leaves. This salty chickpea sundal is a popular south Indian festival food.
I’m about to tell you a love story.
I first met (tried) chickpea sundal at a cute little wine bar (called Indian Paradox) in San Francisco. I was there. It was there. I called for the sundal to come over to my table, and it did. I’ll never forget how it looked – all decked out in grated coconut, black mustard seeds, and curry leaves. The moment my eyes met it, I realized I was about to fall mouth over spoon for this dish. After a bite? I just knew sundal was the one. The one dish I’d have to try and recreate for the blog. 😍
I’m not sure I believe in love at first sight (unless we’re talking about babies. sorry, Roby!), but love at first bite? Yeah, I have to say, it exists, and although rare, I’ve been lucky enough to experience it a handful of times (most recently, before this south Indian sundal, it was this north Indian corn kadai inspired by a visit to Rasika in DC).
How do you know when it’s love at first bite? I could be cliché and say, oh, you just know (because you do) but let me try to explain the feeling.
Love at first bite is when you try something new (to you), and it suddenly feels really familiar, like, maybe you’ve met before in another life (in the case of this Tamilian sundal, it’s probably because it’s similar to Keralite mung bean thoran which I’ve eaten many times before… wait, is this love just an illusion?). The moment it meets your lips, you wonder how you’ve possibly lived this long without this dish in your life. You’ll need to know when you’ll meet again. Thoughts of consuming this dish will consume you instead.
Yeah. Love is scary.
That serendipitous encounter is what brings me here today, with an easy-to-make chickpea sundal recipe. You can make sundal using any legume. Just mix it with grated coconut, hing (asafoetida), curry leaves, and mustard seeds. You can add green mango to sundal for a variation, but it’s also great without.
Also, this sundal only takes minutes to make as long as you have cooked garbanzo beans ready-to-go. I know. As if you needed yet another reason to love this dish.
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons black or brown mustard seeds
- 2 teaspoons urad dal optional
- 15 curry leaves
- 2 dried red chilies break in half, optional
- 1-2 green chilis minced
- ¼ teaspoon hing
- 3 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 cans
- 1 teaspoon salt to taste
- ½ cup unsweetened frozen grated coconut (can find this in the frozen aisle at your local Indian grocery store)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- lemon wedges serving
- Heat oil in a dutch oven (heavy-bottomed pot) over medium heat and once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds and urad dal and cook until the dal turns light gold.
- Add curry leaves, dried red chiles, green chili, hing, and stir, then add chickpeas, grated coconut and salt, and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, or until the chickpeas are heated through.
- Add lemon juice, stir, then pour into a bowl and serve with lemon wedges.