How to Make Authentic Chickpea Sundal: Ingredients, Preparation, and Cooking Tips

Photo of author
Written By Haryana’s Restaurant

Authentic Indian Food – Classic Indian Cuisine in Terrace BC

Imagine a dish that’s not only packed with flavor but also brimming with nutrition. Chickpea Sundal, a South Indian delight, fits the bill perfectly. Traditionally prepared during festive occasions like Navratri and Ganesh Chaturthi, this simple yet satisfying snack has found its way into everyday cuisine.

The beauty of Chickpea Sundal lies in its simplicity. With just a handful of ingredients—cooked chickpeas, fresh coconut, and a few aromatic spices—you can whip up a dish that’s both delicious and healthy. Whether you’re looking for a quick snack or a protein-packed addition to your meal, Chickpea Sundal is a versatile option that never disappoints.


For Chickpea Sundal, you will need the following ingredients to prepare this flavorful, protein-rich dish.

Chickpea Preparation

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas (soaked overnight)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon split black gram (urad dal)
  • 1 dried red chili (broken into pieces)
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 1 pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • 1 green chili (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh coconut
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • Salt to taste

Required Tools and Equipment

Tools and Equipment

  • Large Saucepan or Pressure Cooker: To cook the chickpeas until they are tender. If using a pressure cooker, it will reduce the cooking time significantly.
  • Colander: Essential for draining the soaked chickpeas before cooking them.
  • Medium-sized Bowl: For soaking the chickpeas overnight or for several hours.
  • Frying Pan or Skillet: Needed for tempering the spices and mixing the cooked chickpeas.
  • Spatula or Wooden Spoon: To stir and combine the ingredients without mashing the chickpeas.
  • Measuring Spoons: Ensure accuracy when adding spices and other ingredients.
  • Grater: For grating fresh coconut.
  • Knife and Cutting Board: For chopping fresh ingredients like cilantro and curry leaves.
  • Serving Dish: For presenting the finalized Chickpea Sundal.

Cooking Tips

  1. Soaking the Chickpeas: Soak the chickpeas overnight in enough water to cover them completely. This ensures they cook evenly and become tender.
  2. Cooking the Chickpeas: Use fresh water for boiling to avoid any lingering hardness. If using a pressure cooker, cook for 3-4 whistles.
  3. Tempering Spices: Heat the frying pan or skillet over medium flame before adding oil and spices to bring out their full flavors.
  4. Stirring Carefully: Use a spatula or wooden spoon to gently combine the chickpeas with the tempering mixture to avoid breaking them up.
  • Pressure Cooker: Speeds up the chickpea cooking process.
  • Mortar and Pestle: For freshly grinding spices if you prefer a more intense flavor.
  • Microplane: For finely grating the coconut, providing a smoother texture.

With these tools and additional tips, you’re well-equipped to prepare an authentic and flavorful Chickpea Sundal.


Follow these steps to create a delicious Chickpea Sundal. Proper soaking and cooking are key to achieving the right texture and flavor.

Soaking the Chickpeas

  1. Measure Out Chickpeas: Measure 1 cup of dried chickpeas.
  2. Rinse Chickpeas: Place the chickpeas in a colander and rinse thoroughly under cold water.
  3. Soak Chickpeas: Place the rinsed chickpeas in a large bowl and cover them with 3 cups of water. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  4. Set Aside: Let the chickpeas soak for at least 8 hours or overnight. This softens the chickpeas, making them easier to cook and digest.

Cooking the Chickpeas

  1. Drain and Rinse: After soaking, drain the chickpeas and rinse them with cold water.
  2. Cooking Method Selection:
  • Saucepan: Transfer the chickpeas to a large saucepan and cover with fresh water by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 45-60 minutes until tender.
  • Pressure Cooker: Place chickpeas in a pressure cooker with enough water to cover them by 2 inches. Secure the lid and cook on high pressure for 15-20 minutes. Release the pressure naturally.
  1. Test Doneness: Check a chickpea by pressing it between your fingers. It should be tender and creamy inside.
  2. Drain Cooked Chickpeas: Once cooked, drain the chickpeas again and set them aside for the next steps in your Chickpea Sundal recipe.


Follow these steps to prepare Chickpea Sundal, an easy and flavorful dish enjoyed during festivals and daily meals.

Preparing the Tempering

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds and let them splutter.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds and 1 dry red chili, broken into pieces.
  4. Stir in 1 tablespoon of chana dal and 1 tablespoon of urad dal. Sauté until they turn golden brown.
  5. Add a pinch of asafoetida and 10-12 curry leaves. Fry for a few seconds until fragrant.
  6. Toss in 2 finely chopped green chilies and sauté for another minute.

Finishing Touches

  1. Add the cooked and drained chickpeas (2 cups) to the pan with the tempering.
  2. Stir well to coat the chickpeas evenly with the spices.
  3. Add salt to taste and cook for 2-3 minutes until the chickpeas are heated through.
  4. Remove the pan from heat and mix in 1/4 cup of freshly grated coconut.
  5. Garnish with finely chopped cilantro if desired and serve warm.

These directions ensure your Chickpea Sundal comes out perfectly seasoned and delicious every time.

Serving Suggestions

As A Snack

Chickpea Sundal makes for an excellent healthy snack. Serve it warm in small bowls for a satisfying mid-afternoon bite. The combination of protein-rich chickpeas and the fresh, crunchy texture of coconut and spices provides a fulfilling and nutritious option. Pair the sundal with a refreshing drink like buttermilk or a light herbal tea.

As A Side Dish

Include Chickpea Sundal in your meal as a flavorful side dish. It pairs beautifully with South Indian main courses like sambar rice or curd rice. The lightly spiced and aromatic nature of the sundal complements the flavors of these dishes. You can serve it at room temperature, making it a convenient addition to any meal.

During Festivals

Chickpea Sundal is particularly popular during festivals like Navratri. Serve it in small portions on banana leaves as an offering or prasad. Its minimalistic ingredients and simple preparation symbolize purity and devotion. Ensure you prepare it without onions and garlic if you are following traditional fasting rules.

In Lunchboxes

Chickpea Sundal is an excellent addition to lunchboxes. Pack it in an airtight container to maintain freshness. The robust flavors and hearty ingredients make it a delightful meal to enjoy on-the-go. Add a small serving of fruits or yogurt to complete the lunch.

As A Salad

Transform Chickpea Sundal into a salad by adding some fresh veggies. Toss in chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots. Dress it with a squeeze of lemon juice for an added zing. This adaptation provides a refreshing, crunchy variation to the traditional sundal.

With Bread Or Crackers

For a contemporary twist, serve Chickpea Sundal with whole-grain bread or crackers. Spread a generous amount of sundal on top of the bread or use it as a dip with crackers. It is a delightful way to enjoy this traditional dish in a modern format, perfect for parties and get-togethers.

Make-Ahead Tips

Soak the Chickpeas

Begin by soaking the chickpeas overnight. Place 1 cup of dried chickpeas in a large bowl and cover them with water. Ensure there is at least 2 inches of water above the chickpeas as they will expand. Let them soak for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse the chickpeas before cooking.

Cook in Advance

Cook the soaked chickpeas in advance to save time. Place the soaked chickpeas in a pressure cooker or large pot with enough water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Add a pinch of salt. If using a pressure cooker, cook for about 2-3 whistles, or until tender. If using a pot, bring to a boil, then simmer for about 45-60 minutes, or until the chickpeas are soft but still hold shape. Drain and cool completely. Store the cooked chickpeas in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Prep the Coconut

Grate fresh coconut in advance and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This will save you the step of grating coconut while making the sundal. If fresh coconut isn’t available, you can use desiccated coconut. Measure out the required quantity and set aside.

Ready the Spices

Measure out the necessary spices and keep them ready. In a small bowl, combine 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp urad dal, 1 dried red chili (broken into pieces), and a pinch of asafoetida. This will streamline the cooking process and ensure you don’t miss any ingredients.

Assemble Just Before Serving

Keep all prepped ingredients ready and assemble the Chickpea Sundal right before serving. This keeps the dish fresh and flavorful. When ready to serve, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan, add the prepared spice mix, and let them splutter. Then, add the cooked chickpeas, a pinch of salt, and mix well. Finally, add the grated coconut, stir to combine, and cook for another minute before serving. This way, you can enjoy the Chickpea Sundal at its freshest and most delicious.


Chickpea Sundal is a versatile and nutritious dish that’s perfect for various occasions. By following the preparation steps and utilizing the make-ahead tips, you can ensure a seamless cooking experience. Whether you’re serving it as a snack, a side dish, or incorporating it into your lunchbox, this traditional South Indian recipe is sure to delight your taste buds. Embrace the simplicity and flavor of Chickpea Sundal and enjoy this wholesome dish at its freshest and most flavorful.

Leave a Comment