If Mumbai has bhel on the beach, the South has chundal that comes cheap! You just cannot escape the high pitched 'thenga maanga pattani sundellll..' cry at Marina Beach in Chennai. The words evoke feelings of nostalgia even as I write them! These days the beaches have been cleaned up and hawkers almost eliminated(a good start!). If you are lucky you may find a lone chundal seller but one with neither 'thenga'(coconut) nor 'maanga'(raw mango)!

Chundal is also an integral part of Navratri celebrations in any Tamil household. One of the major attractions of this festival as a child was being invited to see the 'golu'(an arrangement of idols, dolls and china figurines on steps during Navratri at Tamilian homes) at some mami's (aunty) house. We knew we would be asked to sing a 'Geetham', 'Bhajanai' or 'Varanam' (Classical South Indian Music) and find ourselves rewarded with a 'donnai' (small bowls made of leaves) filled with yummy chundal. These days most people opt for self sticking plastic covers instead of the donnai which is rather sad! The nine nights of Navaratri are reserved for different varieties of chundal and the two most favoured chundals are Konda Kadalai (kala chana) Chundal and Kadala Paruppu Chundal.

Chundals basically refer to any preparation involving dry legumes (peanuts, chickpeas, moong beans, bengal grams etc.) cooked, drained, roasted and seasoned with a generous smattering of coconut and minced green chillies. The result is an awesome dish that can be had on its own as a tea time snack or mid meal filler, and also as a side dish with rasam or morkootan.

Vegan Lentils
Kadala Paruppu Chundal

Recipe: Kadala Paruppu Chundal (Seasoned Bengal Gram)
Prep & Cooking Time: 30 minutes (Including the time taken to cook the pulses)
Serves: 4 people
Recipe Level: Beginner/Basic
Recipe/Post by: Sunshinemom

Bengal grams/Split Chickpeas (chane ki dal) - 2 cups
Oil (preferably coconut oil) - 1 tsp.
Mustard seeds (rai) - 1 tsp.
Dehusked black gram (urad dal) - 1 tsp.
Curry leaves (kadipatte) - 1 sprig
Powdered asafoetida (kuti hing) - 1/8 tsp. (or less)
Fresh, grated coconut (nariyal) - 1/4 cup
Green chillies (hari mirch) - 2

Kadala paruppu
Cooked Bengal Grams

  1. Cook bengal grams with enough water to cover the gram till done. The cooked dal should not be soft or mushy and should retain its shape. If you are using a pressure cooker turn off the stove after 3 whistles. Let the pressure subside naturally.
  2. Remove the cooked dal, drain liquid if any by turning the dal into a colander. Do not discard the liquid as it is nutritious and makes a very flavourful stock for soups and gravies.
  3. While the dal cools, prepare the seasoning. Heat a wok/kadai adding the oil. Splutter mustard seeds followed by black gram, curry leaves and asafoetida.
  4. When the black gram starts turning pink add the cooked and drained bengal grams. Add turmeric powder and salt. Mix well on medium heat till the mixture turns dry and the seasoning is evenly distributed.
  5. Mince the green chillies coarsely with a little coconut. Add this and the rest of the coconut to the seasoned dry dal and stir well till evenly distributed. Serve hot as a snack or as a side dish with any gravy.

Vegan Lentils
Kadala Paruppu Chundal

Suggested Substitutes:
  • Groundnuts, moong beans, black or brown chickpeas, mochchai (fava beans/broad/horse beans), dry green or yellow peas (pattani) instead of bengal grams. Do not use kidney beans and the other bigger varieties for this preparations.
  • If you do not have green chillies, use dry red chillies, adding two broken bits while seasoning in the initial stage.

Special Notes/Tips:
  • Do not use off the shelf dessicated coconut as it does not have the juice or flavour of fresh coconuts.
  • This dish is prepared as an offering during poojai/festivals in South India as it is quick and hassle free.

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  1. Parita // 4 June 2009 at 17:37  

    Wow looks fab..never made chickpeas in this style..nice click

  2. Kalyani // 4 June 2009 at 18:41  

    wow looks tempting & yummy one ... nice pictures .........

  3. Vani // 4 June 2009 at 23:33  

    Looks yum! Purrty pictures too :)

  4. meeso // 5 June 2009 at 01:23  

    Sounds very tasty! Great pic!

  5. Khaugiri // 5 June 2009 at 08:12  

    Looks GR8! Lovely presentation:)

  6. Alka // 5 June 2009 at 10:16  

    Never knew such thing existed,though heard the name many times, but chundal is made like this, was a thing unknown
    Thanks for sharing the recipe,this looks too good and sounds very nutritious too :-)

  7. Prathibha // 5 June 2009 at 15:06  

    Yummy snack..

  8. Kitchen Flavours // 5 June 2009 at 18:46  

    Wow feel like gulping a spoon right now...

  9. egglesscooking // 5 June 2009 at 23:36  

    For 1/2 cup of kadala paruppu I had 1 cup of water and leave it for one whistle. It's cooked well and retains its shape too.

  10. SJ // 7 June 2009 at 22:34  

    I love the way you say chundal instead of sundal :P! I like moongdal and horse gram chundal the best yum!

  11. Nags // 8 June 2009 at 09:19  

    i don't even remember the last time i had sundal. yum!

  12. rekhas kitchen // 8 June 2009 at 13:38  

    yum yum nice recipe and so cute chombu nice pic.

  13. Jay // 29 July 2010 at 00:05  

    One of my favorite snacks and very nutritious! Great recipe. My mom usually uses the small black chickpeas with the thick coats, but she's used yellow chickpeas too. She experimented with black eyed peas, but it didn't turn out as well because I think she overcooked them.