Sundal Recipe made with white chickpeas, spices, curry leaves and fresh coconut. Sundal is a traditional dish from Tamil Cuisine usually made with legumes, lentils or grains as the main ingredient. The dish holds a special place during the festive days, especially during Navratri and Vinayaka Chaturthi. It is also offered to the deities in a lot of temples in South India & later shared with the devotees.
To make sundal, legumes, lentils or grains are first soaked and cooked until tender. Later they are added to a tempering made with ghee/ oil, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal, curry leaves, red chilies and hing. Lastly coconut the star ingredient is also added to the sundal.
Sundal is also made in other South Indian states and is known by different names. Since this is mostly made for religious occasions, ingredients like onion and garlic are not used. You will also see a lot of fancy sundal varieties being made and they have the unusual ingredients like garam masala or spiced lentil powders etc.
In this post I have used white chickpeas to make the sundal. But it can be made with black chickpeas, chana dal, green gram, black eyed peas, horse gram, sweet corn and even with Navadhanya (9 different grains).
The process to make sundal with any grains is the same. They have to be soaked and cooked first. So both these timings vary with the kind of grain. The tempering part is the same. Traditionally fresh grated coconut is used but frozen one works too.
Sundal also makes for a great side in an Indian meal. It can also be served as a snack anytime.
How to Make Sundal (Stepwise photos)
1. Wash and soak half cup chana in lots of water for 8 hours or overnight. Drain the water and pressure cook for 3 to 4 whistles on a medium flame using ½ to ¾ cup water. If using instant pot pressure cook for 18 minutes. Chana needs to be soft, tender and hold the shape.
2. Add 1 ½ tablespoon ghee to a hot pan. When the ghee becomes hot, add ½ teaspoon mustard seeds,½ teaspoon cumin seeds and 1 teaspoon urad dal. We use desi cow’s ghee for tempering especially if offering to Goddess Lakshmi.
3. Allow mustard, cumin to crackle. Saute dal until golden.
4. Add 1 sprig curry leaves, ½ teaspoon ginger (optional) and 1 broken dried red chili. Saute until the curry leaves turn crisp. Add a pinch of hing. I do not use ginger.
5. Drain water/stock completely from cooked chana to a bowl and add the chana to the pan along with ⅛ teaspoon turmeric and ¼ teaspoon salt.
6. Add 2 to 4 tablespoons fresh grated coconut. I blended coarsely few freshly broken coconut chunks in a chutney jar and used. We use freshly broken coconut and do not use the one which is already offered during pooja or one used for regular cooking purposes.
7. Mix every well and switch off.
Cool chana sundal completely and offer as naivedyam.
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- ½ cup chana or green gram (about 1.5 cups soaked)
- ½ to ¾ cup water for cooking (I use ½ cup)
- 1 ½ tablespoon Ghee or oil
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon cumin / jeera
- 1 teaspoon urad dal (optional for flavor)
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 1 to 2 red chilies broken
- ½ teaspoon ginger grated (optional)
- ⅛ teaspoon turmeric / haldi
- 1 Pinch hing / asofoetida
- ¼ to ⅓ teaspoon salt
- 2 tbsps coconut fresh grated
- Add chana to a large pot and rinse them very well a few times.
- Pour fresh water and soak. If using chana soak overnight. If using green gram you can soak for just 30 mins.
- Once they are soaked, drain the water and rinse them well.
- Add them to a pressure cooker or pot along with water. Pressure cook on a medium heat.
- If using chana then cook for 4 whistles. If using green gram cook for 2 whistles.
- When the pressure releases, open the lid and check. Chana or green gram should be soft cooked yet hold shape and not turn mushy.
- Heat a pan with ghee for seasoning. Add cumin, mustard and urad dal. Saute until the dal turns golden.
- Add curry leaves and red chilies. When the leaves turn crisp, add ginger and hing.
- Drain the excess water if any left. Add the chana/ green gram, turmeric and salt.
- Add coconut. Mix and switch off.
- Offer sundal as a naivedyam to the deities or enjoy as snack.
- Over soaking the lentils or legumes can peel off the skin while pressure cooking. So do not oversoak.
- Also over cooking can make them mushy. So do not over cook.
I have not included green chili, ginger, garam masala and lemon juice since we do not add them for naivedyam. You can however plus or minus some of the ingredients based on your customs and traditions.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
Sundal Recipe first published in August 2016. Updated & republished in July 2022.
I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me
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I tried it today on the occasion of Navaratri and it came out very well. Simple recipe for a novice cook, thanks for sharing.
Very well explained ?