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Thursday, October 06, 2016

Lab-Lab Beans aka Hyacinth Beans Chundal

Lab-Lab Beans aka Hyacinth Beans Chundal sundal navarathri

Chundal ('ch' as in chair, not choir) is a specialty around Navarathri time - the nine nights, ten days long Indian festival going on right now. Each of the nine evenings, a different chundal is on the menu along with a sweet dish.

Almost all beans and pulses and lentils are fair game for making this style of chundal, referred to as sundal by most Tamilians. Black chickpeas, green chickpeas, chickpeas, dried peas,  kidney beans, white navy beans, black turtle beans, black-eyed peas, as well as the top favorite Lab-lab beans aka hyacinth beans aka mochakottai.

Soak the dried lab-lab beans overnight. Drain and pressure cook with salt till cooked but not mushy. This is the tricky part as lab-lab beans is pretty tough to cook quickly. Sometimes, I've had to pressure cook it twice to get the right consistency - firm to the touch and holding shape, but soft melt-in-the-mouth texture when eaten.

Fairly quick and easy to make, with the main flavoring coming from tempering*, plus grated ginger and green chilies, this is a low-fat protein-rich snack that kids enjoy at home.

*Tempering: Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, add a teaspoon of urad dal; when it turns golden brown, add mustard seeds; when they pop, add some cumin seeds, torn curry leaves, grated ginger and finely sliced green chilies. Add in the cooked lab-lab beans, adjust salt to taste and serve warm. Optionally, fresh grated coconut can be stirred in as well.

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