Kara Kondakadalai Sundal (Spicy Black Chickpeas Salad)

By DK on Sep 21, 2011
Navarathri Sundal Recipes | Spicy Indian Chickpeas Salad
Navarathri Festival is just round the corner. I am missing my home town already! I miss the environment that this festival brings. People inviting one another to their homes for Golu  (its placement of dolls in a steps type arrangement), distributing sundals, small gifts for kids, devotional songs sung my adults and children during such visits etc etc. Since we did not have a habit of doing such Golu(s), I enjoyed seeing them at relative/friend's house and at Temples. There is this temple near the place where I worked (back home) that I visited regularly. I used to visit it daily after work especially during this festival where this arrangement would be done on a large scale. It used to be so beautiful and on such days I used to bring delicious prasadams home. Sigh!
Image Courtesy: Wikimedia
Golu Image Courtesy: Wikimedia. Ok before I get lost in memories galore, lets come back to this delicious Sundal recipe. When my parents visited me last year, they got me caboodle of tamil magazines and recipe books to cook from (luv them :)) In one of them was this recipe for Hot and Spicy Chickpeas Sundal (a.k.a South Indian style salad for the rest) titled Kara Kondakadalai Sundal. "Kara" depicts "(Spicy)Hot" and "Kondakadalai" is Chickpeas in Tamil. I wanted to try something different than my regular Sundals (that I usually make with grated coconut. Yum!) and tried this. We loved this one and I would definitely make this again. I like this as a dry chickpeas curry too and would like to pair it with a South Indian meal.
Navarathri Sundal Recipes | Spicy Indian Chickpeas Salad
Changes I Made : I made very minute changes to suit the pantry and taste preferences. I used Black chickpeas that I wanted to use up instead of regular White Chickpeas. Also my family has "extremely" low endurance to hot foods (Spice is fine but my husband will run the other way the minute the word "Green/Red Chillies" is mentioned) though I love spicy hot dishes.  But at the rate I have abstained from it in last few years, I am in the danger of developing low endurance too..! Anyways, I used only 1 large dried Red chilli and my husband quipped "Love it. Its perfect. Yes, the red Chilli could have been reduced. I taste it a little but its fine. Does not bother me I think". You think???? I used only 1 chilli! Sheesh! Ok thats my house :) Well you might actually get to use 6 of them as the recipe suggests though I cannot imagine that EVER happening in my place :)
Recipe minimally adapted from a tamil magazine "mangayar malar"
Basic Information
Prep Time: 4 to 8 hours
Cook Time: Under 30 min
Serves: 2 people
Yield: Around 2 cups
  • 1 cup Black Chickpeas
  • Salt to taste
    For the Spice (Hot) Powder
  • 1 tbsp Coriander Seeds (dhaniya)
  • 1 tbsp Black Gram, split, skinned
  • 6 Dried Red Chillies (See Tips)
  • 1/4 tsp Whole Black Peppercorns (Milagu)
    For Tempering
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1 tsp Black gram, split and skinned (urad dal)
  • 1-2 Dried Red Chillies, or as per taste
  • few Curry leaves
1. Instead of Black Chickpeas, you can use white (regular) chickpeas.
2. To make life easier, use canned chickpeas instead of overnight soak and cooking. In that case, make sure to drain the chickpeas and rinse in cold water well before using.
3. Use the Spice powder as per taste.  I used only 1 Dried red Chilli since we hardly consume "Hot" foods. It was borderline hot for us and we loved it. You can add the original amount but reduce the amount of powder you add to the chickpeas if you find it too hot. Also reduce or eliminate the chilliesif you are making it for kids.
4. If you do not want to use the spice powder at all, you can instead follow the other variation of this sundal made with coconut. Recipe is here: Chickpeas (kondakadalai) Sundal
Wash and soak the Chickpeas overnight.
Navarathri Sundal Recipes | Spicy Indian Chickpeas Salad
Drain and add enough water to cover the chickpeas and pressure cook.
Navarathri Sundal Recipes | Spicy Indian Chickpeas Salad
I do it for 2 whistles - about 10 minutes. The texture should be soft yet must have the bite to it.
Navarathri Sundal Recipes | Spicy Indian Chickpeas Salad
While the chickpeas are cooking, lets make the spice powder. Take a skillet, add 1/4 tsp oil to it and roast the spices given under the "Spice (Hot) powder" section (about 4-5 minutes in medium heat).
Navarathri Sundal Recipes | Spicy Indian Chickpeas Salad
Cool it slightly and powder it in a processor until fine. Set aside.
Navarathri Sundal Recipes | Spicy Indian Chickpeas Salad
Remove the chickpeas from the cooker. Drain the cooking water. You can use it to make stock, soups, add to rasam/sambar(s), or instead of water while making your chapathi dough.
Navarathri Sundal Recipes | Spicy Indian Chickpeas Salad
While its draining, lets preparing the tempering. Use the same skillet that you used to roast the Spiced powder previously. Add 1/2 - 1tbsp oil and when hot, add the mustard seeds. When it starts popping, add the Black gram, red chillies and then curry leaves.
Navarathri Sundal Recipes | Spicy Indian Chickpeas Salad
Drop the chickpeas to it and give it a quick toss.
Navarathri Sundal Recipes | Spicy Indian Chickpeas Salad
Add some salt and the spice powder (add little by little to check the spice level)
Navarathri Sundal Recipes | Spicy Indian Chickpeas Salad
Serve Warm or Cold. Try this nice variation to regular Sundals (if you have not done so already :))
Navarathri Sundal Recipes | Spicy Indian Chickpeas Salad
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15 Responses to “Kara Kondakadalai Sundal (Spicy Black Chickpeas Salad)”
  1. Shobha Srinivasa balaji

    :-o I loved the spice powder and made some right away. I usually make plain sundal with just green chilies, grated coconut and salt but this one might give it that extra special flavour. Loved it!

  2. Tom Benson

    Similar question. I don’t have a inner dish for my pressure cooker, can i just put the chickpeas directly in the cooker, or maybe use a small metal bowl?

  3. Suchita

    Try adding half a finely chopped totapuri mango and a slit green chilli to this amazing recipe (DK, not for you, of course :wink:)- you will see that the mango takes the sundal to a different level.

  4. My all time favourite :) , i do make it atleast twice a month..(as no one else apart from me loves it @ home , else frequency would have been a lot more. :wink: )

  5. Love sundal…remember eating at my friends homes when visiting for Navratri too…these are times when we really miss home.

  6. nyginko

    DK, as always, what a pleasure to read your recipe!
    I want to have the curry/karhi leaves on hand as well as the peas and spices, and last week I made a mail order, finally, for “live” karhi/curry seeds.

  7. Rama

    This is a very nice recipe DK. The powder is a classic Iyengar curry and sundal powder. My mother always kept this in our pantry. You could also add grated coconut to this recipe. It will lend a brilliant sweetness and also modifies the heat from the chillies to make it palatable. Thanks for bringing back some good memories.

    Oh that’s an awesome idea. I think adding grated kopra would be perfect..will def. try that way next time. Thank you for the tip Rama :)

  8. Seriously feel like finishing some rite now, lovely sundal..

  9. kiran singh

    my favourite chickpeas. i realy love it. :-P

  10. I usually make this without the spice powder, using just salt and chili powder. Should taste even better with the hint of spice that you suggest. Will definitely try it next time.

  11. I make this too .. nice variation and tastes great.

  12. Mom and I were planning to make Sundal everyday during navrathri. We were discussing the variations and different recipes. This is one thing I would want to add to our list. That spice powder is definitely a winner.

  13. Just last night was thinking of going on this natural food navarathri fast (anna hazare inspired!) .. Was only thinking of fruits and veggies.. but now seeing your blog, I am thinking, I should allow myself some sundal as well..
    Happy Navarathri to you and your family!

  14. I’ve been reading your wonderful posts for quiet some time. I really like this chickpea sundal recipe, it’s lil different from what i make at home. Adding hot spice powder part. I’m going to try it this way soon.

    One quick question. I see that u put legumes in an ever silver dish and then into pressure cooker. do u add water inside the dish or to the pressure cooker or water to both inside pressure cooker and dish?

    Thank you Abi :). I add water to the pressure cooker and also to the legumes as you can see in the picture. So there is water at the “bottom” of that dish and “in” the dish as well.

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