Kadalai Paruppu Sundal

A South Indian spiced lentil warm salad

When Autumn sets in, with it comes the festive season as well. Living outside India, sometimes we miss the complete joy of this time while juggling the hullaballoo of the mundane life. But we do try to make it work, in an attempt to stay connected to our roots and also keep the children inspired and intrigued about their native culture.

Today marks the beginning of a 10 day festival called Navaratri / Dussehra that celebrates Goddess Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. This Hindu festival is celebrated differently across India, but the essence of the festival is the same. It celebrates our inner power, knowledge and our virtues. It reinforces faith, gratitude and is a also a gentle reminder of how miniscule we are when compared to this universe we are a part of. It is celebrated in much grandeur and is one of the longest festivals of India.

Women and children are active participants of this festive fervor, with men enjoying the food, music, spiritual and social aspects in their own way. I have so many vivid and colorful memories of this festival from my childhood and we live to eat the food that is made during this time. The Sundal is one such item. Split lentils and Whole Beans/ Legumes are cooked and then tossed in a tempering of mustard seeds, curry leaves, hing, etc, which is offered to the Goddesses and then distributed amongst visiting friends and family! Every home you walk into, that celebrates this festival, it smells divine and inviting ! Sweets are as famous during this season as these savory offerings are. Oh my..let the Bhakti and Bhukti begin !!

Recipe : Kadalai Paruppu Sundal

Prep Time : 30 minutes to soak lentilCook time : 5 minutes to cook lentil
5 minutes to temper it
Spice Level : 🌶🌶Ease Level : 😃
Serves – 4 Sundal / Warm Salad

Ingredients :

  1. Chana Dal / Bengal Gram Dal – 1 cup
  2. Hot water to soak lentil – as needed
  3. Grated / Desiccated Coconut – 1/4 cup
  4. Salt to taste
  5. Cilantro – chopped for garnish – optional

For the tempering :

  1. Coconut oil as needed
  2. Black Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
  3. Split White Urad Dal – 1/2 teaspoon
  4. Dry Red Chili – 1 or to taste – use a spicy or mild variety
  5. Asafetida – 1/4 teaspoon
  6. Curry Leaves – 4 to 6

How To :

  1. Rinse the dal a couple of times and soak in hot water for at least 20 minutes. The dal should plump up well. See Pic 1
  2. I have used an electric pressure cooker to cook my dal. I have used the Pot-In-Pot method. In a pressure cooker safe stainless steel bowl, add the dal, cover it with water, just until it immerses well.
  3. Place it inside the prepped inner vessel of the electric pressure cooker and cook on High in the Pressure Cook Mode for 2 minutes.
  4. Once timer is done, let it sit for 2 minutes and slowly release the pressure. Drain the lentils in a colander and set aside until the tempering is ready. The lentils should be soft to touch but not too mush. See Pic 3.
  5. In a skillet, heat about 2 tablespoon coconut oil and once it is hot, add the mustard seeds, let crackle.
  6. Next add the split urad lentils and let it turn light brown.
  7. Next add the red chili and curry leaves, then asafetida.
  8. Now add the cooked and drained chana dal and toss well. Add salt to taste and the grated coconut. Mix well and remove from heat.
  9. Garnish with cilantro if you like. Makes for a great snack without the guilt ! Serve it with a meal of South indian fare or eat it along with a nice cup of Masala Chai Latte or Coffee Latte during the 3PM hunger pang !

Variations : This is one basic Sundal template. Use this and build with any lentils or beans. Add whatever extra spices you enjoy like cumin seeds, fennel seeds, chopped onions, some grated ginger, cook it in any oil or ghee of your liking and toss in grated veggies like carrots, raw green mango, etc., for a great addition to taste. I will keep adding other variants as we proceed into the festive period.

Yet another very customizable recipe, so make it your own and enjoy ! Thank you for stopping by !

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