If you recognise what's pictured above, then you guessed it already: Sundal, of course!
Made from a variety of dried beans (most commonly chickpeas), this versatile, easy-to-make dish (pronounced 'soon-dull', though it's anything but that!) is rather under-rated, I feel.
With a little advance planning, it's an excellent snack that can keep you going for hours without craving the unhealthy sorts.
I've made this sundal using fresh black eyed peas also called cow peas, but you can substitute any other kind of fresh or dried ones, like chickpeas, dried peas, whole moong , peanuts, kidney beans. Dried beans will need to be soaked before cooking.
Every once in a while, the little store where I often buy my organic supplies, will have a surprise item.
This time it was these beans. Black-eyed beans, Cow Peas or Lobia. Also known as yard beans, long beans (yard-long beans!) or Karamani.
In this case they were not ultra long, but were mature enough to be peeled to harvest the tender beans inside.
Not all have black eyes. Some are red (the dried seeds of which are also available as Red Lobia), others speckled, and many a varied hue.
Altogether a delightful, motley mix!
They all get a quick wash and steam-cooked in the pressure cooker with a bit of salt. As always I add minimal water - around 40-50 ml and cook as long as small potatoes would take - roughly 5-6 whistles, or simmer-ed after full pressure is reached for 7-8 minutes.
Once cooked, all they need is a quick tempering and garnish.
1. The cooked (or in the case of dried beans, soaked and cooked) beans can stay in the fridge for a couple of days, so it's an easy make-ahead snack, especially if there's some grated fresh coconut in the freezer (something I always stock there!)
2. Chickpeas, kidney beans will take much longer to cook, especially the dried ones.
Cooked Fresh Cow Peas - 1 cup
Oil - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dal (split, husked) - 1/4 tsp (optional)
Asafoetida (hing) - a pinch
Curry leaves - 2 Tbs
Green Chillies - 2, slit
Dried, red chillies - 2,3 broken
Salt - to taste
Grated fresh coconut - 1/2 cup (or as desired)
The chillies can be reduced or omitted altogether if desired, but traditionally sundal is best enjoyed spicy and hot!
Heat the oil in a large kadhai/wok/pan/skillet.
When the oil is hot (not smoking) add the mustard seeds and urad dal,
followed by the hing and red chillies, -
and then quickly the curry leaves and green chillies.
The dry tempering ingredients go in first because once the fresh, green ones are added, the moisture from those slows down the browning process of the dry ones.
A good crackle and pop later (watch out!), once they're all nicely roasted,
Add the boiled peas and heat through, allowing any water to evaporate. This process also 'cooks' the flavours of the spices into the beans.
Adjust salt to taste -