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  • Writer's pictureSharmila Ribeiro

South Indian Bean Sundal

Before Navratri (a nine night Hindu festival) and the days of making special Sundal ends, try this simple kala chana (Bengal gram) Sundal that is easy, tasty and super healthy - that’s why it’s food for the Gods! Many of my neighbours here in Chennai keep ‘Golu’ (display of religious and mythological dolls) and make a different sundal each day to offer it to their women friends who visit them each evening. You can use Kabuli chana (chick peas), lobia (black-eyed peas), sprouted moong (green gram), navratan beans (a mix of nine beans) or boiled raw peanuts. Soak the dry beans overnight and cook until soft but firm. Make it all year around as a side dish or bean salad or any time snack. Try a different bean each week!

Serves 6


2 teaspoons vegetable oil

½ teaspoon mustard seeds

½ teaspoon split urad dal (black gram)

1 dried red chilli or 1 green chilli, halved or slit

6 curry leaves

Pinch of hing (asafoetida)

2 cups well cooked Kala chana (Bengal gram)

1 tablespoon lime juice

Salt to taste

2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves

2 tablespoons freshly grated coconut (optional)

1 tablespoon finely chopped raw mango (optional)


  1. In a small pan, heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. When they begin to splutter, stir in the urad dal, red or green chilli, curry leaves and hing and cook for a minute. Remove from heat and add this tempering to the cooked beans and mix well. Stir in the lime juice. Add salt to taste.

  2. Garnish with coriander leaves, grated coconut and/or raw mango, if available. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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