Split Chickpeas (Senaga Pappu Kobbari)
Split Chickpeas Recipe, Known as Senaga Pappu Kobbari is a traditional lentil dish from the coastal regions of Andhra Pradesh. Made with split chickpeas & only a handful of spices and herbs, this dish is delicious, protein packed and gets done under 30 mins. Traditionally it is eaten, mixed with steamed rice and ghee. But also goes fantastic as a side with Rice-Avakaya, Rice-Rasam, Stew /Pulusu or simply as a snack.
The fact that there are over a few hundred types of Indian Lentil dishes should tell you something about the pride Indians have in their food.
Lentils known as Dal, is essential to the Indian heart and soul. Indian food is interestingly, from diverse regional cuisines. Each of the regions have a characteristic set of flavors & tastes.
Creamy & milder dishes predominate the North, while spicy, coconut and curry leaves flavoured dishes rule the South.
This Andhra Style split chickpea recipe is one of the traditional dishes that is also made in other South Indian states. It is similar to the Poriyal, Sundal or Thoran made in other states.
Split chickpeas are also known as Chana dal or Bengal gram and are used in a lot of Indian dishes. They are the skinned & split version of the black chickpeas known as Kala Chana /desi chickpeas.
To make this dish, split chickpeas are first cooked until tender and then tempered with whole spices and curry leaves. Lastly fresh grated coconut is added to it.
Fresh coconut is the heart of this dish. In the absence of fresh coconut, you may use frozen or soak unsweetened desiccated coconut in warm milk and use. But it won’t taste the same.
This is a staple in my home and on occasions when I run out of coconut, I use baby spinach or grated carrots or radish/daikon. Stir fry until the veggies are tender. The dish won’t taste the same but yes it does taste delicious and is healthy too.
How to Cook Split Chickpeas (Stepwise Photos)
1.Rinse 1 cup Chana dal well at least thrice. Drain the water completely. Pour 1 ¾ cups water and soak for 2 hours. Place this on the stove and bring to a rolling boil, then reduce the heat to medium.
2. Cook uncovered. As you cook, you will see plenty of froth/scum which you may remove if you want. This can sometimes cause stomach gas and bloating. But since I soak the lentils for 2 hours, I don’t discard it. If you have a sensitive stomach, you may remove that with a slotted spoon and discard. Pour some hot boiling water.
3. While the lentils cook, prepare the tempering ingredients. You will need 1 to 2 sprigs of curry leaves, 2 to 3 green chilies, 4 to 5 garlic cloves (crushed), 1 teaspoon urad dal, ½ to ¾ teaspoon cumin seeds, ¼ to ½ teaspoon mustard seeds and a pinch of hing. I also like to add 1 teaspoon grated ginger as it helps in digestion and goes well here.
4. When there is little water left, cover and simmer on a low heat until the split chickpeas are completely tender and soft, yet not mushy.
5. Most of the water is absorbed and cooked perfectly. But if your lentils are not soft enough, Pour some boiling water and cook.
6. Perfectly cooked lentils should not have hard centers. You may eat a few and check. Undercooked lentils can cause stomach issues.
7. Mash the dal with a spoon and check. It should get mashed well easily. Keep the pot covered even after you turn off the stove to keep the lentils moist and not dry out.
8. To a hot pan or a small tadka pan, add 2 tablespoons oil or ghee. When the oil becomes hot, turn the heat to medium. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, dried red chilies and garlic.
9. As soon as the lentils turn light golden, add curry leaves and green chilies. Fry until the chilies blister and the curry leaves turn crisp.
10. Optionally you may add 1 teaspoon grated ginger, pinch of turmeric and a pinch of hing. Stir well.
11. Transfer the cooked lentils to the pan & mix. Taste test.
12. Add more salt if required and add grated coconut. Mix and turn off the heat. If using fresh home grated coconut, we don’t heat it any longer. Since I used the frozen coconut, I stir fry it until hot.
13. We prefer to add a dash of lemon juice at this stage and it is optional.
Serve split chickpeas with rice-rasam or as a snack.
Split Chickpeas (Senaga Pappu Kobbari)
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 1 cup split chickpeas (Chana dal)
- 1 ¾ to 2 cups water
- ¾ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- 2 tablespoons oil or ghee
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon urad dal
- 1 to 2 sprigs curry leaves
- 4 to 5 garlic cloves (small or 2 to 3 large)
- 2 to 3 dried red chilies (broken)
- 2 to 3 green chilies (chopped or deseeded if preferred)
- 1 teaspoon ginger (grated, optional)
- 1 pinch turmeric (optional)
- 1 pinch hing (asafoetida, optional)
- 1 cup coconut (Fresh or frozen or desiccated coconut)
How to Cook Split Chickpeas
- Add split chickpeas to a bowl and rinse it well thrice. Pour 1¾ cups water and soak them for 2 hours.
- Begin to cook by bringing the water to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat and cook them on a medium high heat.
- You will see a lot of froth coming up, if you want you may skim it off using a skimmer or a slotted spoon. If you skim the froth, you will need to pour some boiling water.
- When there is very little water at the bottom (about 3 to 4 tablespoons, check pics in the post), add ½ teaspoon salt and mix. Reduce the heat completely and cover.
- Cook until the lentils are tender & all of the water is evaporated. Take care not to burn them at the bottom.
- Test if they are soft cooked by mashing a few split chickpeas, they should be soft but not mushy. When you eat, it should have a bite to it and fully cooked.
- If they are still hard, pour some hot boiling water. At the end, you should have lentils that are perfectly cooked, soft enough, have a bite to them and not mushy.
- This step of cooking lentils just takes you about 18 to 20 mins. Prepare the tempering ingredients while the lentils cook.
- Heat oil or ghee in a pan. When it turns hot, add mustard, cumin, urad dal, crushed garlic and broken red chillies.
- When the lentils are light golden, add green chilies and curry leaves. Fry them until the chilies are blistered and curry leaves turn crisp.
- Optional – If you want you may add ginger, hing and turmeric at this stage. Fry for 30 seconds until the ginger turns aromatic.
- Add the cooked split chickpeas and mix well. Taste test. Add coconut and more salt. Turn off the stove and mix.
- We love to sprinkle some lemon juice before serving. Serve with rice-rasam, pulusu/stew or plain as a snack.
- Lentils should not be overcooked. They should hold shape yet fully cooked.
- I always feel soaking and cooking on the stove top gives the best results. You can also pressure cook in the cooker for 1 whistle.
- I don’t drain the lentil soaked water. If you want, you may drain, rinse and use fresh water. If you want to drain, measure the amount of water you drain and use the same amount of fresh water.
- You can also cook the lentils in lots of water, but will have to drain and use the stock to make rasam. I feel the way I have shown is best as the lentils retain better flavors.
- To use desiccated coconut, Add it to a bowl. Pour some hot milk to the coconut. As it absorbs keep adding, until moist. You will need about 4 to 5 tablespoons milk, depending on the size of your coconut gratings.
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)
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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.
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This is delicious!! Amazing clean mix of flavours with the coconut! I highly recommend. Looking forward to eating with rice.
So Glad to know Vanessa