Sundal 1

     My words his experiences.

“I first ate this version of the salad at a festival in my neighbor’s house.  The simplest way to describe that festival is ‘a doll festival‘(GOLU). They keep miniature idols of GOD, and dolls of mythological characters on tiny steps made of wood. The dolls would’ve been collected over many years, received  as gifts, and also inherited from parents and grandparents.  Ladies get together, sing, pray, and give this salad in mini bowls to guests.  

College days were fun. Going to the beach with my guy friends was an experience. Chennai(in the southern part of India) has some of the nicest beaches. We watched kids playing, moms and dads watching over the kids, and couples walking hand in hand. It truly was a sight.

Apart from all of that, beach food was awesome. It consisted of sliced raw mangoes smeared in salt and chili powder, roasted puffed rice, tea sold in aluminum cans, and this SALAD(Sundal). Small boys carrying baskets with this warm salad, shouting out ‘sundal,sundal’ (which meant ‘salad-salad’). We got our salad all wrapped up in a cone made of recycled newspaper. NEAT, huh?


WARM Salad in one hand and the cool sea breeze made us think of one thing. That was one serious issue which seemed to bother us then. HOW in the world do those college boys find beautiful girls? Well,any girl for that matter. We were here sitting, 12 boys men  with not one of us dating or one of us having even plans of dating.  Looking at them was nice but also filled us with some sort of angst.

So many memories, the same food.”


This is a warm cooked salad which is very popular among South Indians, who probably have 1000 different ways of making it. Sauteed onions, with spicy chili, ginger/garlic paste tossed in with beans, some pomegranate seeds all make for a filling and a great side.

This is my mom’s version, quite popular among our friends and family.  My hubby, who has those memories linked to this dish, says “This is the best,I wish I could have one cone, share it with you, walk on a beach and make other men filled with angst.”




3 cups of Garbanzo beans cooked

1/2 cup boiled peanuts
4 green chilies
4 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger root
1 red onion thinly sliced
1/2 cup pomegranate
1/2 fresh grated coconut or frozen
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp chopped cilantro/dill/ parsley


1. Grind green chilies, garlic and ginger to a semi smooth paste.

2. You can cook garbanzo beans and peanuts together with some salt. 
3. In a large pan, add oil.  Once the oil gets a little hot,  add mustard and cumin seeds. Let them pop.
4. Add sliced onion to the oil and fry for a minute.
5. Add the green chili,ginger/garlic paste and fry on medium temperature until the raw smell of the garlic vanishes, do not burn.
6. Add the garbanzo beans, peanuts and mix well.
7. Add the coconut, cilantro and pomegranate and toss well and serve hot or cold.

Note:You can use canned beans, just making sure to rinse it off with hot water very well before using.
This travels very well, but remember to add coconut in the last moment as it can go rancid.
Toss it in with some brown rice and you have a meal.