Chickpeas with Coconut Sauce (Shundal)

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Chickpeas with Coconut Sauce (Shundal)

This past week, a friend came to visit me. Of course, I never can resist treating my visitors to some creations from my kitchen, especially when this guest was interested in some basic cooking instructions in addition to a meal. What a learning experience that turned out to be. I was rather surprised at how much I take for granted in the kitchen — experienced cook that I am, I rarely give much thought to the process of soaking beans, cooking temperatures, chopping methods, cooking times and other essentials.

In addition to serving some old favorites, like mung beans with paneer cheese, some new dishes appeared on the menu. My friend really likes beans and Indian flavors, so I turned to my new copy of 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer for some inspiration. The biggest challenge with this book is deciding on a recipe, packed as it is with straightforward and simple ideas. I finally decided upon a chickpea shundal. Shundals are moist curries that are usually made with whole legumes — often black chickpeas — and traditionally served during India's Festival of Lights and presented as an offering to Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of learning and knowledge. An appropriate choice, as this past week was all about sharing.

Chickpeas with Coconut Sauce (Shundal)

I served this dish with lime flavored rice with split peas, a recipe from the same cookbook.

Chickpeas with Coconut Sauce (Shundal)Chickpeas with Coconut Sauce (Shundal)
Recipe by
From 660 Curries
Cuisine: Indian
Published on October 14, 2008

Spicy chickpea coconut curry served during the Indian Festival of Lights holiday

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  • 1 1/4 cup dried chickpeas (3 1/2 cups cooked)
  • 1-inch piece dried tamarind pulp
  • 2 tablespoons chana dal or yellow split peas
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of coriander seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 4 dried whole red chilies
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon asafetida
  • handful of dried curry leaves
  • 1 cup shredded fresh coconut or 1/2 cup dried coconut
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • Rinse and soak the chickpeas in enough water to cover for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a saucepan and cover with fresh water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce to simmer, and cook until the chickpeas are soft — about 1 - 1/2 hours. Drain and set aside.

  • If using dried coconut, reconstitute it by combining with 1/2 of boiling water. Let sit for 15 minutes, then drain in a sieve, press out excess liquid, and set aside.

  • In another bowl, combine two cups of hot water with the tamarind. Let sit for 15 minutes. Strain, reserving the liquid and discard the tamarind pulp.

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the chana dal or split peas, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and dried chilies. Stir and fry until the split peas and seeds turn reddish brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat with a slotted spoon and transfer to a spice grinder. Process until finely ground.

  • Return the pan to the heat and add the oil. When hot, throw in the mustard seeds. When they begin to turn grey and pop, add the cooked chickpeas to the pot, along with the salt, turmeric, asafetida and curry leaves. Stir a few times, add the tamarind water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.

  • Remove from heat, stir in the ground spice mixture, the coconut, and chopped cilantro. Serve hot or warm.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Chickpeas with Coconut Sauce (Shundal)


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a lovely meal to share with a dear friend! And thanks for the coconut shout-out. . . always happy to see more coconut in recipes! :)

test it comm said...

I really like the sound of this chickpea and coconut curry!

Meeta K. Wolff said...

I really love chickpeas - that's why I am always excited to find new recipes. This with the coconut is great!

Beth (jamandcream) said...

I love chickpeas too, just wish I could persuade hubby to eat them

Sangeeth said...

i love chickpeas too...the pic looks so perfect!

Ivy said...

I never had coconut in a savory dish. Indian cuisine is so interesting.

Anonymous said...

What a fab recipe - love chickpeas, and love coconut, love curry. I'm keen to try this out and will watch out for your recipe for the accompanying lime rice too.

Fitness Foodie said...

This is a great chickpea dish. Love the spices, it sounds so flavorful.

Susan said...

I can taste it from here! The sesame oil sounds deliciously different for an Indian curry.

Spice Rack said...

Coconut sauce has a rich creamy flavor and it is perfect with spicy foods. Chick peas and coconut sauce is a good combination especially when you add it with regular herbs and spices found in your spice rack. Better have an organized kitchen / spice rack to have a more efficient kitchen.

anthony stemke said...

Great chickpea meal, love it.