Snacks Zephyr's Corner

Sundal, a Navaratri prasadam

Navaratri is the time of fasting and also feasting. While North Indians fast all day and prepare special fasting foods before breaking their fast at night, in the south, they make a feast, offer to the Goddess after elaborate puja and then gorge on it. The fasting is for the rest of the day!

Navaratri being both a religious and social occasion – especially among women, there is the custom of haldikumkum wherein women visit their neighbours, relatives and friends and exchange what we call vethalai-paakku (betel leaves and supari) along with some fruit, coconut and prasad of the day. Nowadays, there is the custom of also giving gifts along with it.

Coming to sundal, this is generally a savoury item — though some are made with jaggery too — which is made of whole pulses and dals. This is offered to the Devi along with some sweet dish like kheer or hallway and then given along with the vethalaipaaku. Small children get a packet of this when they accompany their mothers or sisters. Read about this custom and the celebration of Navaratri in Tamilian homes here.

Sundal is a very simple yet the yummiest snack one can have. One of the most famous sundals is made of white matar, (pattani in Tamil), which used to be sold on beaches in Chennai during summers. It is made with bits of green mango and coconut and tasted heavenly. The vendor’s cry of ‘thenga, manga, pattani sunda! (coconut, mango pattani sundal!) used to have a whole bunch of kids and even elders drooling!

Kabuli Chana Sundal
Kabuli Chana Sundal

Here I am sharing the basic recipe of the sundal with suggested pulses for more varieties.

Though you can make them during Navratri for bhog, you can make them anytime to munch on.

Cowpea Sundal
Cowpea Sundal


Chawli/barbati/cowpea   –     1 cup (soaked for at least 4-5 hours)

Red chillies                         – 2 (broken into half)

Green chillies                     – 1 or 2 cut into large bits

Curry leaves                       -2 sprigs

Mustard                               – ½ tsp

Urad dal                              – ½ tsp

Hing                                     – a large pinch

Turmeric powder              – ¼ tsp

Salt to taste

Grated coconut                  -2 tbsp

Oil                                         – 1 tsp



  1. Pressure cook the chawli with the turmeric for 2-3 whistles or till cooked. It should be firm and not turn mushy or too soft. Drain the water and set aside.
  2. In a kadhai heat the oil, add the mustard seeds and urad dal. After 30 seconds, add the hing, red and green chillies and curry leaves. Let the mustard crackle and the dal turn golden brown.
  3. Now add the drained chawli and salt to taste. Mix it well and let cook for 2-3 mins. Mix well as it cooks.
  4. Switch off heat and add the grated coconut.
  5. It tastes good both hot and cold. Can be substituted for dry subzi, or eaten as a snack.
Double Beans Sundal
Double Beans Sundal

Note: I have given one recipe as a sample. You can use chana – both black and white, white and green matar, whole moong, groundnuts, chana dal, moong dal, rajma or any other pulse that you fancy. The soaking time will be more for some, while some like moong dal need to be cooked in a pan and not pressure cooked because it will turn mushy in no time. Generally though overnight soaking is recommended.

Mungfali Sundal
Mungfali Sundal


  1. Thanks for sharing delicious recipe of chawli sundial, it looks very delicious soon I will try . पर अच्छी बात तो यह होगी कि आप मेरे लिए बना दें
    Even I make sundal many times but I always make with black chana.

    1. Of course I will make when you visit us next 🙂 Black chana sundal is a must for Ganesh Chaturthi. But for Navaratri, when we have nine days of festivities, we make a different sundal every day. Some even make with corn and rajma!

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