Sundal, an easy fried chickpea sauce from South India

Chana Sundal is one of my favorite chickpea dishes to make, in part because it’s so easy to put together and in all because it’s so delicious. In this simple Tamilian stir-fry, the chickpeas are mixed with some simple spices, including curry leaves, mustard seeds, and chilli. Fresh coconut and cilantro add even more flavor. Sundal is served as a snack during the Navratri festival, but is also a delicious and healthy side dish with almost any main dish. This recipe is ready in under 15 minutes and is gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free, and of course vegan.

A steel kadhai with chana sundal garnished with fresh coconut with lemon slices on the side.

A chickpea chana or sundal is one of my favorite recipes when I’m in a hurry to find the time and want something tasty that I can mix with just a few ingredients, in a pot and in under 15 minutes.

When most people think of chickpeas in the context of Indian cuisine, the dish that probably comes to mind is chana masala. Other legumes are often paired with curries or dals or seasoned dishes. But dried bean stir-fries are just as easily found in many Indian regional cuisines, including usal, a stir-fried sprouted bean made in Gujarat and Maharashtra.

A sundalo is the Tamilian version of a dry bean sauté and is usually made during holidays, including Ganesh Chaturthi and Navratri, which are celebrated right now. The sundial is given to visitors on each of the nine nights that Navratri It is celebrated. A sundalo chana is the most common, but they are often made with other beans as well, including brown chickpeas (kala chana), black-eyed peas, peas, and even pinto beans (rajma). The cooks vary the spice blends and legumes used, creating an entirely new dish with a few minor changes for each of the nine nights.

One of the reasons I love this dish is because it’s really easy to edit and you can combine it with the most basic ingredients or those you have on hand. The recipe I have for you today is uniquely mine and I hope you will like it. Preserve some of Sundal’s most common ingredients, such as curry leaves, mustard seeds, and coconut, by adding an ingredient not often used – garlic – and a few other spices. Desi, my Tamil resident, has never been a huge fan of the sundalo, but he loves this version. Hope you will try it.

Close-up of chickpea sundial with grated coconut and a green napkin.

Why will you love this stir-fried chana sundal / chickpea sauce?

  • It’s delicious. This is why we eat anything, true, and this channa sundal will leave you flabbergasted. It’s spicy, flavorful, and garlicky. You will have a hard time keeping yourself from taking it out of the wok and filling your mouth.
  • It’s easy. If you start with canned chickpeas, you can make this recipe in 15 minutes flat.
  • It is healthy. Spices are great for you and chickpeas, as you know, are health stars, rich in protein, fiber and lots of good things for you. This is an incredibly nutritious snack or side dish. If you are careful what you eat, this dish would make a great addition to your diet. It has only 81 calories and 4 grams each of protein and fiber per serving.
  • It’s unique. I like to share with you Indian recipes that you will hardly find in Indian restaurants. This dish, while not something you can order, is easy enough to make at home for a taste of something different and delicious.
Overhead photo of a kadhai with chana sundal with curry leaves and lemon slices on the side.


  • Chickpeas or chickpeas. I use mostly canned – make sure you filter all the water and filter the chickpeas. You can also cook dried chickpeas from scratch. Soak overnight and boil or pressure cook. Cooked chickpeas should hold their shape but will break easily if pressed between your fingers.
  • masala paste: garlic, green chili like jalapeno, And cumin seeds.
  • Coconut oil. This is for tempering the spices. Use any vegetable oil that is tasteless. Don’t use olive oil please.
  • Spices: Black mustard seeds, asafetida, ground coriander, turmeric And paprika (or Kashmiri chili powder).
  • Herbs: curry leaves And coriander.
  • Unsweetened grated coconut. You can use fresh or frozen. Make sure you thaw it if it’s frozen.
  • Optional: Lemon juice or lemon wedges, to sprinkle just before serving.

How to make the sundial?

  • Drain the chickpeas in a colander. In a mortar and pestle make a coarse paste of cumin seeds, green chilli and garlic. Set aside.

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