Sundal Podi is an exceptionally useful condiment or spice mix during Navaratri Festival. An easy to make South Indian spice mix consisting of lentils and red chillies to jazz up your SUNDALS.
Sundal is a stir fry that is made with cooked beans and legumes. Popular Choices are Chickpeas, Kidney beans, Cow Peas, White Peas etc. It hardly takes 5 minutes to put together everything, making it a number one snack choice for South Indians. The best part is, it uses less oil and extremely filling, healthy.
Sundals can also be made with cooked lentils like Chana Dal (Bengal Gram Dal) and Yellow Moong Dal (Pasi Paruppu) as well. Fresh grated coconut is sprinkled on this stir fry with a tempering of mustard seeds and curry leaves.
Some Sundal Varieties on the blog –
- Kondakadalai Sundal (Chickpeas)
- Karamani Sundal (Cow Peas / Black Eyed Peas)
- Rajma Sundal (Kidney Beans)
The word “Kara” translates as “Spicy”. Traditionally, most of the sundals are coconut based. During the 9 days of Navaratri, when you have coconut overdose, your taste buds demand something spicy and voila – Sundal Podi comes to your rescue.
We follow a strict rule of No Onion No Garlic meals, No Outside food and masala rich food during the 9 days of Navaratri.
Navaratri for South Indian women means days of preparation and inviting guests over. Let’s face it, it is a lot of work, especially cooking.
In South India, Navaratri is celebrated by keeping Golu at home. Golu is a display of dolls that depict mythology and stories. It is super exciting to decorate the Golu and add themes etc too which make it interesting.
If you want to read more about the Golu Celebrations, please check out here. Have given a brief about how it is celebrated at our home.
For all the 9 days of Navaratri, we have to make neivedyam or prasad. Sundal is made everyday. One variety each day. Now you can imagine the herculean task to make this for 15-20 ladies visiting your home every day for Vettalai Paaku or Tamboolam.
I soak 2 types of legumes every day so that one can be used for prasad and the other for guests who might visit home. We serve Sundal as snack to anyone who visits home during Navaratri. It is also packed as Tamboolam along with a coconut, betel leaf (vettalai) and supari (paaku).
Along with Sundal, some snacks or light meals are also served, based on when the guests visit.
These days, people prefer snacks as “take away” as they visit many homes and eating a lot takes a toll. Packed stuff can be easily carried home and shared with family also. My MIL always packed Kalavai Sadam or Variety Rice for ladies and I follow her footsteps.
Rice Varieties for Navaratri
- Ellu Sadam (Sesame Rice)
- Kovil Puliyodharai (Temple Style Tamarind Rice)
- Lemon Rice
- Thayir Sadam (Curd Rice)
- Coconut Rice
- Ven Pongal (Best served with sambar and chutney as snack for guests)
Note – Sr. No. 1 to 5 can be packed as Tamboolam for guests along with any variety of Sundal. Puliyodharai stays fresh the longest.
While it may not be possible to grate coconut and stock at home always, Sundal podi mix comes really handy. This has long shelf life too compared to fresh coconut.
How to use Sundal Podi?
- Grind and store the podi or spice mix in a clean dry glass jar with a lid.
- Once cooked legumes are ready. Heat a pan and add ingredients for tempering along with curry leaves. Now add cooked legumes, some of this spice mix (based on the quantity of legumes), salt to taste.
- Stir well and switch off the flame. Serve Sundal piping hot.
Note – You can mix both the grated coconut and sundal podi while making sundals. It only adds to the taste.
I grind a batch of fresh Sundal Podi just 2 days before the Navaratri festival commences. One less thing to worry about if guests suddenly come over.
My maternal side never had the custom of Golu. I was introduced to this post marriage as my MIL started this trend from her maternal side. She was also a good singer and sang devotional songs at home, conducted bhajans etc during the 9 days. I just follow the tradition, no singing involved!
Before you ask me, this is not a once in a year spice mix recipe. Make this and stock in your pantry to use not only for Sundals but also few other recipes, as stated below.
How to use Sundal Podi other than making Sundals?
- Add it to vegetables like Vazhakkai (Raw Banana), Chembu (Arbi) and Senai (Yam) and make quick Podi curry.
- Use the spice mix to cook Potato Kara Kari. I sometimes add this podi with a tiny bit of red chilli powder and a tsp of Sambar Powder. The aroma is unbeatable.
Let us check out the easy recipe and make this batch.
Kara Sundal Podi (Spicy South Indian Lentil Mix for Navaratri)
- Mixer Grinder
- 6 tbsp Chana Dal (Kadala Paruppu or Bengal Gram Dal) 1 tbsp is 15 ml measurement
- 2 tbsp Dhania (Coriander Seeds or Kothamalli Varai)
- 1 tbsp Sesame Seeds (Ellu or Til)
- 14 nos. Whole dry red chillies Check Notes below
- 1/4 tsp Hing or Asafoetida
- 1/4 tsp Sesame Oil for roasting Check Notes below
- Salt to taste Check Notes below
- Heat a pan and dry roast the chana dal until slightly brown. Keep this aside on to a plate for cooling.
- In the same pan, add coriander seeds and saute until you get a good aroma. Remove it on to a plate.
- Now add the sesame seeds and saute for just a few seconds until you hear them pop. Remove and keep aside.
- Add oil to the pan and roast the chillies until the chillies puff up and are coated with oil. Remove and keep aside. Switch off the flame.
- Allow all the ingredients to cool and then grind them along with hing or asafoetida, salt to taste.
- Sundal podi can be stored at room temperature for 1 month. It lasts fresh for 3-4 months in the refrigerator.
- Red Chillies – Use a combination of Kashmiri Red chillies and Madras Red Chillies or Pondi Chillies for the spice. Adjust quantity as per spice tolerance.
- You can use black sesame seeds too.. The colour of the podi would be dark.
- Oil is only required to toast the chillies. Sesame oil lends a good aroma. You can use any veg oil too.
- I add salt to the Sundal Podi. You can skip it, if you like.
This post was released in October 2018 for Navaratri Festival. I have updated the post with fresh content and recipe card.
Tried this recipe? Share it with us! Take a picture and share it via email on [email protected] or you could TAG US on any of our social media handles – INSTAGRAM, TWITTER, FACEBOOK PAGE AND PINTEREST.
Help us Grow! Share the recipe with your family and friends.. Encourage everyone around you to cook at home.
You can also subscribe to our website to receive all the delicious recipes in your mail box.
We will be back again with yet another exciting recipe .. Until then, stay healthy and happy!