October 15, 2007

Kadalai Paruppu Sundal

Navaratri. The 9-night long festival that brings back a flood of memories. We had a nice golu in our house for as long as I can remember. Every year, we'd try to add to the golu on the two sides. A park one time, a village scene another time. Attention to detail was essential. All schools would close immediately after the Mahalaya Amavasya except for my own. We'd have school till the 5th or 6th day of Navaratri and then remain closed for some 7 days after Dussera. I find it funny to this day that just because it was a central government school, we had to follow the north blindly in terms of holidays.

Fortunately, my school didn't have a quarterly exam system, so we were spared excessive studying during festival time. We'd accompany Amma to Parry's Corner to buy bags, coconuts, sweet lime, betel leaves, turmeric, supari, and some steel items to give away. Then we'd sit late into the night making vettalai paakku bags for all guests.

We had cute invitation cards printed. Amma would draw up a list of people from the IIT Madras directory. Then there was this list of Appa's relatives that we'd send invitations to. Amma's colleagues, our school teachers... so many people. Then H and I would drop these invitations around campus. We'd also get invited to people's houses and everyone used to have the standard, "Oru Paattu Paadu Maa" (Please sing a song!). I was a moody child just as I am a moody adult. And I never did like singing at other people's golus. Forgive me all of you die hard Cartnatic music fans (I am one myself, but even then) for saying this. Maamis would ask me to sing and then give me "expert advice" on technique, gammukkam, taalam (like I went to music class with some other intention!) and succeeded in killing any residual interest I may have had in classical music. Today I regret giving up learning, but try and see the world through the eyes of a 14 year old who has been learning music from the age of 4, who is interested in good music and not necessarily in raagas and azhuttam and all the associated stuff and you'll know what I mean. For those of you who asked about which genre of music I sing: bhajans, semi classical music, hindi film music and retro English numbers.

While Navaratri is almost synonymous with loads of classical music, it is also synonymous with sundal. Nine varieties of sundal on 9 nights. What fun! Much as the family I grew up in is not a believer in "kitchen religion", I indulge every once in a while. While I am not making a sundal every evening this Navaratri, I will be making it on as many days as I can.

We had invited some guests over for dinner on Saturday and made this kadalai paruppu sundal. I was the only one in the group for whom sundal was a tradition. The other three, my hubby included, were from A.P. and had no clue about the navadhanyam for navaratri concept and had never eaten or heard of sundal.
But they loved it and that's all that matters!

1/2 cup Gram Dal (Chana Dal), soaked for 1 hour

1 tsp Oil
1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/4 tsp Urad Dal
1/4 tsp Chana Dal
1 tsp Green Chilli Paste
1/4 tsp Ginger Paste
1 Red Chilli
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
1/4 tsp Dry Mango Powder (Amchur)
1 tbsp Coconut, scraped
Salt to taste

Pressure cook the chana dal with salt for 2-3 whistles. Drain when done.

In a kadhai, heat oil. Add the urad and chana dals, mustard seeds and asafoetida. When the mustard splutters, add the curry leaves, ginger and chilli pastes, and the red chilli. Fry for a minute. Add the cooked dal and a little salt. Cover and cook a couple of minutes with a little water if necessary. Garnish with the scraped coconut and enjoy.

I am sending these to
Viji as my second entry for the RCI - Tamil Festival event. I am also sending this to Vee for her Dassera event.


lakshmi said...

Happy Navarathri!!

Raaga said...

Thanks Lakshmi.

Vcuisine said...

Raaga thanks for the entry. Yet to receive your email. But a noteworthy entry. Viji

Swaroopa said...

nice recipe1 wanna give it a TRY.

Asha said...

Hi Sweetie! Hope you had a great weekend!
Yes, we do "stomach poojas" too on this Sunday for Dasara. One bog feast, not much into anything else!:D
Kosumbari looks yum, I love that too.

sunita said...

That's a new recipe for me...excuse my ignorance, but what is a 'golu'?

Laavanya said...

Raaga, I made the exact sundal for the first day of navarathi's neivedyam too.. I don't have a golu though but my parents do it religiously and enjoy it so much.

Sreelu said...

Raaga, I have been to about 5 golu's this weekend and all of them had sundal as prashad, I don't have daughter else I would have golu in my house too. it was beautiful to see all the dolls and all the girls dressed up like dolls too.

I never learnt music while I was a kid but since past 1 year I have been learning Carnatic music, I guess better late then never for me :)

bee said...

raaga, i used to be asked to sing too, at strange peoples' homes, for no rhyme or reason. and since i learnt carnatic and hindustani, as soon as i sang the carnatic tune, i would be asked to sing a hindustani tune. i mean, they think you're a puppet to entertain them. it was infuriating. finally, i started refusing, point blank.

Happy cook said...

Good recipe.

Rina said...

I have been making sundal only with Channa, never with Channa dhall, this is unique for me.

musical said...

A bit of sundal is always welcome :).

Rajitha said...

raaga...i so remember the paatu padu session...i used to dread going anywhere coz i gotta sing...i was pretty shy!! but there was another girl who was more than willing to sing..but seriously was so bad....i used to cover my mouth to stop my giggles...hehe...

Roopa said...

usuli looks delicious never made with channa dhall though!

Raji said...

I can totally identify with the "paatu paadu" torture:)) I loved seeing the very creative golu decorations at everyone's homes but this torture really made it unbearable to go some...and finally later on, I avoided going to those people's homes.

Suganya said...

Raaga, Been there, done that. Part of the reason why I stopped singing is bcoz of this *paattu paadu* torture. It was horrible to the extent that in all the vidoes shot at our family functions, I will be sitting upset in a corner, bcoz my mom and other maamis tortured and I denied. Haha!

Raaga said...

Thanks all of you for your comments. I really enjoyed reading about your Golu experiences and it feels so good to know that I am not alone in the paattu paadu torture.

@Sunita: A golu is a display of dolls in homes across Tamilnadu for the nine nights of Navaratri. Neighbours, friends and relatives visit each other, sing and collect haldi kumkum and vettala paakku(betel and nut)

Vee said...


Lovely memories and sundal. I love sundals of all types and you talk about 9 different types on 9 nights Wow!

It is sad that you gave up on music because of the constant need of Mamis to correct everything. Hope you are pursuing it at least as a hobby now. How about uploading a audio clip of your singing? That would be cool!

Thanks for participating and warm belated dassera greetings to you!

Ramki said...

Hi Raaga,

Am blogging your sundal as a model recipe in the 1001 Poriyal cookbook at

Thanks for the recipe