Kara Sundal Podi / Spicy South Indian Lentil Mix for Navaratri Sundals

Kara Sundal Podi / Spicy South Indian Lentil Mix for Navratri Sundals – A spicy lentil or dal mix from South Indian Cuisine

Kara Sundal Podi / Spicy South Indian Lentil Mix for Navaratri Sundals

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 –

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.

Sundal Podi for Navaratri

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).

Spicy Sundal Podi

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

NoteSr. 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.

Sundal Podi Recipe

Kara Sundal Podi (Spicy South Indian Lentil Mix for Navaratri)

Vidya Narayan
Kara Sundal Podi is a Spicy South Indian Lentil Mix used to make Sundals, a snack or prasad made during Navaratri. Sundals are vegan and plant based protein snack made with cooked legumes and beans. They are healthy and nutritious for all age groups.
0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Cooling Time 5 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Condiments
Cuisine Indian, South Indian
Servings 100 gms


  • 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. 
Keyword Navaratri Recipes, Podi Recipes, South indian condiment, spice mix for sundals, Sundal podi, tamil brahmin recipes
Tried this recipe?Share your feedback @masalachilli_vidyanarayan or tag #masalachilli_vidyanarayan

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 – INSTAGRAMTWITTERFACEBOOK 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!

Vidya Narayan

Views: 3401

Vidya Narayan

Hi Everyone, I am Vidya Narayan & Welcome to my blog MasalaChilli. Born in a Traditional Palakkad Iyer (South Indian) Family with strong value systems to an exceptionally strong and independent Single Mom, spent most of my childhood studying well (as most Iyer girls do).

This Post Has 34 Comments

  1. We often make sundal, but I have never tried making it with podi. Awesome share, Vidya! 🙂

    1. Vidya Narayan

      Thanks so much, I make both versions of sundal and distribute in tamboolam every year. This year finally the recipe made it to the blog.

    1. Vidya Narayan

      thanks Jyoti so much

    1. Vidya Narayan

      Thanks Nisha.

  2. mayurisjikoni

    Read about your previous Golu and its so interesting to learn about different cultures and traditions. I remember a Tamilian neighbor of mine in Bangalore, putting up these miniature dolls and figurines for the Navratri festival. Looking forward to your this year’s theme. Podi mixture sounds delicious. would love to try it out for a sundal dish.

    1. Vidya Narayan

      Thanks so much and shall share the Golu pictures soon.

  3. Sujata Roy

    I have made one flavourful podi masala. Now one more to try. Thanks for the recipe and lovely informative write up. Perfect share for super busy ladies in this festive season. Awesome share.

    1. Vidya Narayan

      Thanks, that was the idea Sujataji, trying to make lives easier by these podi recipes. Navratri is a busy festival for ladies.

  4. Amrita

    This cannot get better dear! Absolute must for all kind of Sundal! Its a very valuable post!

    1. Vidya Narayan

      Thank you Amrita.

  5. Sundal podi is the saviour during navrathri busy times. I have a slightly different recipe, this time i will try yours too. I like the colour of your podi.

    1. Vidya Narayan

      Thank you Seema. Let me take a look at your version too. Each home has a different version and tastes unique too.

  6. Rita

    Easy and tasty one, Vidya
    Happy Navratri ? ,I am too excited and love to do garba.

    1. Vidya Narayan

      Wish you the same Rita and thank you. I wish I knew how to do the Garba.. Enjoy and have fun!

      1. Rita

        Thank you Vidya. Garba is easy just try to get in circle in starting when it’s slow. You will enjoy and get it easily.?

      2. Vidya Narayan

        You make it sound so simple. Thank you. shall try someday for sure.

  7. Sasmita Sahoo Samanta

    Love the shot sweetheart !!! Podi sounds delicious and flavourful .. Awesome share for theme definitely 🙂

    1. Vidya Narayan

      Thank you so much

  8. dpranita583

    We say ”pudchutney” to it .I gives nice aste with rice. You have made it more tasty.

    1. Vidya Narayan

      The rice based podis are different but may have the same ingredients as well. This is specifically for Sundals only. Thanks so much.

  9. Preethi Prasad

    Love this Sundal podi. Bookmarking this recipe. An absolute saviour .Fantastic share Vidya.

    1. Vidya Narayan

      Thank you Preethi!

    1. Vidya Narayan


  10. Sujata Shukla

    What a lovely idea to make Sundal making even easier! I must try making a standard Sundal podi too!

    1. Vidya Narayan

      Thank you so much

  11. Priya Vijay

    I loved your write up about Golu and can totally relate to what you said about the festive ambience in the air for all 9 days. It is one of the best festivals that I have cherished from my childhood. I would look forward to keeping the golu and go about with decorations and show off the creativity to all visitors, but sadly my husband’s side the custom of golu is not there, but I hope I can start it sometime sooner 🙂
    Have been following your recipes for quite sometime now, and needless to say they are amazing !

    1. Vidya Narayan

      I hope and pray you start the Golu custom soon and enjoy the festivities. Thank you so much for all the kind words dear Priya. Cheers!

  12. Bhawna Sisodia

    Loved making this podi recipe, my family thoroughly enjoys it ! I didn’t make it very spicy as my son is the one who loves it the most . I added it to the eggplant fry and it came out really good ! Thank you Vidya for sharing this wonderful recipe with us !!

    1. Vidya Narayan

      Thank you so much for your feedback and glad the family enjoyed it. Appreciate all your kind words dear Bhawna.

Leave a Reply

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.