Navaratri and Nostalgia – Karuppu Kondaikadalai Sundal/Stir fried Black Chick Peas



This is the week of Navaratri – the Hindu festival devoted to the three women deities – Parvati, Lakshmi and Saraswathi, consorts of Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma respectively.

Religious aspects differ with families and mindsets of families. This holds good for traditions too. But, I strongly believe that the procedural aspects of religion are secondary and so are the mythological stories that have evolved to keep a community within its boundaries. But the traditions that have been transferred through grandmothers and mothers of households holds a community, society and a race intact, without losing its identity.

Passing on stories and memories of one’s childhood to the next generation is an interesting event on a day-to-day basis. With nuclear families as the norm and families living in different countries around the world, the connection between generations has slowly gone to a negative index. Thanks to modern social networking tools and low-cost international call facilities, the widened gap has reduced. But, the role of story telling is switched over predominantly to the parents from grandparents greatly.

This ‘Role Adoption’ of a mother as a story-teller in transferring culture and traditions to the next generation, has its own advantage, especially during festival occasions.

More information had been written on the religious and festive aspects of Navaratri in So, let us talk about the experience of story telling with Navaratri and Nostalgia.

The immediate ones, apart from other elaborate and striking features, that would come to my mind about Navaratri are –

a. Pattu Pavadai – the traditional dress worn by little girls on festive occasions;

b. Carnatic Music – classical south indian music, the classes of which would start from the day of Vijayadasami;

c. Recital of Songs – as small and young girls, we would go in groups or with amma to worship the golu celebrations or the decorative arrangements of our near and dear ones and

d. Sundal – the lentil salad if I could call it which would be made everyday for poojai and also distributed to families in the neighbourhood!

Pattu Pavadai Chattai



Now, as a story teller, Nostalgia hits me first with the Pattu Pavadai Chattai – Pattu – Silk; Pavadai – Full Skirt and Chattai – Blouse; the traditional silk skirt and blouse of the little girls. Everytime I buy new clothes from Chennai, Pattu Pavadai is part of the collection – it comes from various sources – maternal and paternal grannies and other grandmothers and grandfathers of the total clan!

I get them stitched like any other Tamil person in different heights so that my daughter can wear each one new as she grows taller day by day. There is also the concept of ‘duck’ – not the noun which quacks but the verb – the work that the tailor does to alter the height of the Pavadai/skirt. We tell him ‘ducku podunga’ – might have been ‘tuck it in’. He tucks the extra length of the skirt cloth in one or two layers to be unthreaded as she grows and the height of the skirt is increased. What excellent tailoring sense from generations!

When I see her wear the Pattu Pavadai Chattai for any occasion – my childlike senses are rekindled – this time I made the ‘puff kai chattai’ – puffed hand blouse – which I dare not try to wear for my Pudavai/Saree today.



Carnatic Music

Telling her stories of Paatu vaguppu/Music classes, I have become her music teacher too – just the basics!



With the new edition of the same old book of basic classic Carnatic music to the easily portable shruthi box – I try to dig in to memories back home!

Navaratri without Sundal – lentil salad is like Pongal without Karumbu/Sugarcane.(

The protein rich, nutritious sundals are real treat during this festival.  Different lentils are soaked and cooked and seasoned with minimum oil and just stir fried to be presented as a healthy snack. Among the various varieties, it is Karuppu Kondaikadalai Sundal this time.

Now, to the recipe –

Karuppu Kondaikadalai Sundal/Stir fried Black Chick Peas




Chickpeas are a source of zinc, folate and protein.Chickpeas are low in fat and most of this is polyunsaturated. Nutrient profile of desi chana (the smaller variety) is different, especially the fibre content which is much higher than the light coloured variety. One hundred grams of mature boiled chickpeas contains 164 calories, 2.6 grams of fat (of which only 0.27 grams is saturated), 7.6 grams of dietary fiber and 8.9 grams of protein. Chickpeas also provide dietary phosphorus (168 mg/100 g), which is higher than the amount found in a 100-gram serving of whole milk.

Recent studies have also shown that they can assist in lowering of cholesterol in the bloodstream.

Ingredients (serves 3 to 4)

  • karuppu kondaikadalai/black chick peas – 1 cup
  • thuruviya thengai/grated coconut – 1/2 cup yennai/oil – 2 tsp
  • kadugu/mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • ulundham paruppu/dehusked black gram – 1/2 tsp
  • milagai vatral/red chillies – 1 no.
  • kariveppilai/curry leaves – a few
  • perungayam/asafoetida powder – 1/4 tsp
  • salt – to taste



Method of Preparation

  1. Wash and soak black chick peas in enough water overnight or at least for 8 hours
  2. Pressure cook till soft – this might take at least 20 minutes in low-medium heat
  3. Heat oil in a pan and let the mustard seeds splutter and add black gram
  4. When dehusked black gram turns golden brown, add red chillies and curry leaves and saute
  5. Red chillies can be substituted with green chillies if one prefers
  6. Strain the cooked black peas and add to the pan
  7. Add salt to taste and stir fry well
  8. When all ingredients are combined well – this might take five minutes – turn off the stove
  9. Sprinkle freshly grated coconut to serve
  10. Coconut can be added while sundal is still getting stir fried. Then, the colour of fresh coconut is lost but an excellent flavor of pan roasted coconut enhances the salad; While non-roasted fresh coconut might not add those extra calories due to roasting!
  11. The addition of coconut can be left to choose as per family preference
  12. Enjoy the healthy snack which can also be an excellent starter in dinners.



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