Chickpea Sundal


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.

chickpea sundal

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.

chickpea sundal

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.

chickpea sundal

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.

chickpea sundal

Chickpea Sundal

chickpea sundal

Chickpea Sundal

5 from 5 reviews
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Cuisine Indian


  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons black or brown mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons split and skinless urad dal (white) 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.


This recipe is part of my new “chickpea series.” Cook a big batch of dried chickpeas (see this blog post), and try one of my recipes that calls for cooked chickpeas! You can also use canned chickpeas but dried beans taste better.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @myheartbeets on Instagram and hashtag it #myheartbeets!

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Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

About Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.


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  1. Shriyansi says

    Ashley, this one is now in regular rotation. 🙂 Thank you so much!

    This was the recipe that led me to your blog in the first place. I’ve been doing a variation where I add a small amount of cubed onions and saute them till they’re translucent, before adding the chickpeas. Didn’t have chickpeas today, but the hubby and I had a hankering for sundal, so did it with fish (chopped to the size of chickpeas! heheheheh!). It works!

    Give yourself a huge hug for me. And thank you for teaching me how to cook Indian khana! Yeah, you did. During the pandemic. Hubby thanks you too! 🙂

    • Ashley - My Heart Beets says

      Hi Shriyansi, that’s so great to hear – I’m glad you found this recipe and my blog! Also, very cool that you made this with fish – sounds like it must have been similar to a fish thoran, yum! Glad you’re enjoying my recipes – let me know what else you and your hubby try 🙂

  2. Blory says

    This is a great recipe Ashley and thanks. My husband makes batches of chick peas in the freezer as the kids like home made humous most days. Will definitely try this. Would make a nice side dish with barbecue etc as luckily we are having some great weather in UK. I’ve also got my husband a friends involved with your blog…. so keep sending.

  3. Sarah says

    5 stars
    Hi Ashley,

    This was excellent! I used frozen young coconut so it may have turned out differently/more coconut-y with dried, shredded coconut but it was great as-is! I also used a can of garbanzo beans since I had one open in the fridge already and was wondering what to do with it… It’s dangerous as an appetizer though, unless you are fine with everyone ruining their dinner 😉

  4. brandy says

    5 stars
    I really like this one and I can’t wait for the rest of the chickpea series. I don’t have hing, so I substituted the quarter teaspoon of hing with a quarter teaspoon EACH of both garlic powder and onion powder. I used my last two teaspoons of black mustard seed to make this recipe, otherwise I would have turned around and made another batch right away!

    Can’t wait for covid to go away so I can have people over again and wow them with this. Thanks, Ashley!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Brandy, that’s so great to hear! I’m really glad you’re looking forward to the chickpea series 🙂 Thanks for letting me know how much you liked the sundal!

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