Sundal. Savory Chickpeas and Coconut Snack

Every year in the fall, during the ten-day Indian festival of Navrathri, I am invited to a few of my friend’s homes for Golu where we are treated to a traditional south Indian Tamil snack called Sundal. We always look forward to eating this dish. In fact, all Tamilians make sundal for special occasions and there are many variations. Sundal is made with different types of pulses or legumes. But why have sundal just for a special event? Why not have it for a snack on any day?  This is one healthy snack that is packed full of nutrients, super easy to make, and delicious too. Here is a recipe for Chickpeas Sundal.

Sundal: Chickpeas and Coconut Savory Snack:
makes 4-6 helpings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained.
  • 1 red dried chili pepper or 1 green chili cut in half
  • 2 tbsp grated un-sweetened coconut
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida powder. You can get this spice at any Indian store and at Whole Foods. If you are not familiar with asafoetida, it is a spice with a very distinctive aroma and flavor and is used as flavoring and as a digestive aid in many South Indian dishes. You cannot use too much of it, as asafoetida can turn a dish bitter and the aroma can be overwhelming. If you would like to learn more about this healthful spice, I have included a small excerpt at the end of this recipe from an awesome book titled Herbal Transformations by author Uma Swaminathan.
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Oil
  • Salt

Directions:

  • In a pan heat 1 tbsp oil.
  • Add mustard seeds and red chili.
  • After the mustard seeds pop (splutter) add asafoetida powder and let the aroma come through (10-15 seconds).
  • Add chickpea and toss.
  • Add salt, shredded coconut and lemon juice and mix together.
  • Take off the stove and serve at room temperature.

img_6296More about Asafoetida Powder:  I have this very informative book titled Herbal Transformations: Ancient Wisdom Revealed for Health and Longevity by author Uma Swaminathan (my Aunty). In this book there is a section on asafoetida that I would like to share with you.

IMG_5988Asafoetida comes from a perennial plant that when fully mature produces a gum like resin. This gum resin is collected and dried and then used in savory dishes as a flavor enhancer in Indian savory dishes.

img_6257Many consider the smell of asafoetida to be strong and unappealing, but when used in the right way (by gently frying in oil) the aroma it adds to dishes is very unique and flavorful. Uma Aunty describes the uses of asafoetida in this way: “One can safely use a pinch of asafoetida in soups, soothing savory cold drinks, on steamed or sautéed vegetables, fish, and meats. Asafoetida has many medicinal properties. The benefit that most Tamilians are familiar with is it aids in digestion and reduces flatulence and works as an intestinal antiseptic.”

img_6258A pinch is all you need to reap the benefits of this very unique spice. Try asafoetida for yourself and see if this healthful spice can be an addition in your spice cabinet. You can find a copy of the book Herbal Transformations Ancient Wisdom Revealed for Health and Longevity by Uma Swaminathan on Amazon.

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