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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Navarathri Chundal


The the 10-days 9-nights festival of navarathri brings back sweet memories... Friday the 12th through Sunday the 21st of October was the Navarathri festival this year.

Chundal ('ch' as in chair) as we called it at home (or Sundal as many others refer to it) is a staple item during Navarathri.

I was not particularly fond of chundal when I was growing up. It was just different types of protein-packed beans mildly spiced and mixed with grated coconut+chilies paste, usually. Nothing exotic. Nothing terribly inviting.

But, now that I have a toddler to make nutritionally balanced food for, chundals have come in very handy. During Navarathri time, traditionally, no garlic or onion or strong masala spices is added to flavor the chundal. However, at other times, I make several variations of the basic chundal just to see which flavor appeals to the discriminating toddler palate ;)

Chundal can be served as a snack on its own, or as a side to complement a meal. Lentils, grams, beans of all kinds can be used. My favorites have been chick peas - both dark and light varieties, black-eyed peas, lima beans, butter beans, fava beans, yellow split peas, brown lentils, navy beans, pinto beans, kidney beans and black beans.

Traditional method: Simply soak the beans overnight (or allow to sprout, if preferred), cook till tender but firm, not mushy. Add some salt and ground coconut+chilies paste, garnish with tempering and curry leaves.

combine dry grated coconut with some green or red chilies in a blender and grind to a powdery paste with very little water - amount of chilies depends on how hot you like it; and usually, for 2 cups of cooked beans, I use roughly ½ cup dry grated coconut

Alternately, I like to add raw green diced mango, or grated carrot, maybe some freshly grated ginger - just about anything to make it a little more interesting.


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