A Sundal for Navratri

A Sundal for Navratri

Each of the nine nights and ten days of Navaratri celebrates a different form of the divine Goddess. And in honour of this, a different variety of sundal is made as neivedyam and offered as prasadam to visitors. The sundal can be sweet or savoury. It is said that sundal is made during the festival because the Goddess is very fond of this dish, but I believe it has more to do with the nutritional value of legumes.

One of my favourite sundal varieties is made with chana dal. The trick to making this sundal is pre-soaking the chana for a few hours before boiling it in a heavy-bottomed pan until it is just tender enough to squish between the fingers, but strong enough to retain its shape. During the festival season, I usually boil a large batch of legumes in a vengalai panai, a bronze vessel, as it cooks perfectly every time.

After we chant the Lalitha Saharananam (1000 names of the Goddess) an aarti is performed, following which, the prasadam is distributed

Rupa Balachandar’s Recipe for Sundal

1 cup dry channa dal pre-soaked in water for 2 hours
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
3 cups water (add more if you want to reserve the liquid for rasam)

For the tempering
3 tbsp coconut, grated
2 tbsp peanut or sesame oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
10-12 curry leaves
1 dried red chilli
1 tsp green chillies, finely chopped
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Coriander, chopped fine, for garnish
Salt, to taste

Boil the pre-soaked chana in 3 cups of water, with turmeric and salt.
Cook on a low flame for 10-18 minutes, until the dal is soft but not mushy. Then strain and set aside.
Heat oil in a wok.
Add the dry red chilli, mustard seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves and green chillies.
Add turmeric powder and salt, and saute for a minute.
Then add the cooked dal and coconut. Mix well about for a minute, then turn off the flame.
Garnish with coriander leaves, and serve warm or room temperature.