Some of our bestÂ childhood memories are of eating Sundal.
Sundal at home. Sundal at the neighbors. Sundalat the Marina Beach in Chennai, Sundal in Chidambaram, Sundal in Pondicherry, Sundal in Vridhachalam, Sundal at the temple, Sundal everywhere.
More a snack than a main course, Sundal is not restricted to Tamil Nadu. In Karnataka, they have a version called Usli.
Tired of writing and reading about Indian dads in India raping their daughters or Indian dads in the U.S. shooting their children, we sought some relief from an old friend – Sundal.
Sundal comes in different forms. What we are enjoying today as we write this post is Black Channa Sundal.
Here’s our recipe for Black Channa Sundal:
1) 1 cup boiled Black Channa (if you are using raw channa, soak overnight and boil for 20 minutes)
2) 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
3) 1/4 cup finely chopped tomato
4) 5 to 6 curry leaves
5) 3 to 4 green chillies cut into small pieces
6) One spoon cooking oil
7) Quarter spoon mustard seeds
8 ) Quarter spoon cumin seeds
9) Pinch of hing a.k.a. asafoetida
10) Pinch of Salt
Heat the Channa for 10 to 15 seconds in the microwave. Add the salt to the Channa and keep it aside.
Heat a small seasoning saucepan on medium flame for a few seconds. Once the pan is hot, add the cooking oil. After the oil becomes hot, add mustard, cumin seeds, green chilli and curry leaves.
As the mustard seeds start sputtering, add the onion and tomato. Mix well with a spoon. Cook for one minute and add Hing (asafoetida) and switch off the stove.
Now, add the seasoning to the black channa, mix thoroughlyÂ and enjoy with a cup of Cafe Estima Starbucks coffee. Nirvana.
N.B.: We did not add shredded coconut or lime juice although they are usually used in preparing Sundal.
My Tamil wife makes “Usli”.. it is made with green beans.. and it is quite different from Sundal.
This does not look as appetizing as our Tamil Sundal.
I have had Sundal at Tamil friends’ places. It is similar or same as Usli, and although can be prepared and enjoyed anytime, I find that for some strange reason, it is prepared more often during some festivals. In Karnataka, we also prepare Kosambari, which is similar to Usli, except that the dal (moong dal mostly) is not cooked, but soaked in water, or horse gram soaked in water and sprouted.
I have fond memories of Usli during Ramanavami, when one also gets to savour a variety of sharbats (or panaka, as we call in Kannada), such as lemon, raw mango (mango is just about available at this time), and Belada Hannu.
The last one, Belada Hannu is a delicious fruit which has a hard outer casing, and on the inside too, you dont get much to eat. But when you take out the pulp and make sharbat out of it, that is when you feel (to borrow your own lingo), this is what Gods must be partaking of in heaven (apart from Pineapple Gojju of course).
Not sure if Belada Mara (tree) grows in the US.
BTW, please watch 12 Angry Men ASAP.
You may be aware that it was entirely shot inside a room. Makes it all the more gripping and you almost feel the stuffiness of the room and the edginess of the 12 men. In fact, the title 12 Angry Men is slightly misleading. I cant explain that without giving away the plot, so go watch it ASAP.
We have had Kosambri to much delight many times in the past. Unfortunately, it’s close to two decades since we’ve had the pleasure.
We’ll see if we can get 12 Angry Men tomorrow at Blockbuster. If they don’t have it, we’ll have to wait for Netflix.
Enjoy Thengai, Mangai, Pattani Sundal.
Basically the recipe remains same as SIâ€™s recipe for Black Channa Sundal, except for the below modifications:
Instead of Black Channa under 1) use 1 cup boiled Pattani (Green Peas) (if you are using dried green peas, soak overnight and boil for 20 minutes)
Instead of Tomato under 3) use 1/4 cup of Thengai (shredded coconut)
Add as ingredient 11) 1/4 cup of Mangai (Raw mango julienne.)
Change Para 3 as : As the mustard seeds start sputtering, add the onion and stir for two minutes then add grated coconut and raw mango julienne. Mix well with a spoon. Cook for one minute and add Hing (asafoetida) and switch off the stove.
Now, add the seasoning to the Green Peas, mix thoroughly and enjoy Thengai, Mangai, Pattani Sundal.
Some of you may get nostalgic and recollect the young boys yelling and selling â€œThengai, Mangai, Pattani Sundalâ€ and intruding into your privacy on Marina Beach (when you were sitting with your girl friend / wife, below a catamaran), while your hands where busy intruding elsewhere.
1. As we were reading the opening line of your comment (Thengai, Mangai, Pattani Sundal), we were transported nostalgically to decades-old memories of the urchins on Marina yelling out the catchy phrase in hopes of emptying their baskets.
And lo and behold you mentioned the very thing (Marina Beach) in your last sentence. 🙂
2. Wonder if the kayya/vaaya birds of the night still show up near the catamarans. 😉
Haven’t been to Marina Beach for many years…
not aware if the kayya/vaaya birds of the night still show up near the catamarans…not sure if the catamarans have been moved further down south, to make the beach free of fishermen.
Can any of the Chennai readers please update?
Guess we may have to wait for your next Tamil movie review, (when they surface here to comment in support of their “Kadavuls” Vijays/Ajiths/Asins/Nayantharas)to pose this question to them.
I enjoy the kokum sharbat from karnataka and Maharashtra…. not sure if its the same as Belada………