Make Ahead

Schezuan pepper spiced South IndianĀ 'sundal'

March  8, 2011
4 Ratings
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

Oh boy, that recipe name almost qualifies as a tongue twister!,

'Sundals' are simple stir fries using lentils or beans as the key ingredient.
Primarily of South Indian origin, they are a staple holy offering during the Hindu festival of Navratri. While the choice of lentils & beans may be numerous, the basic seasoning is almost always a 'tadka' (mustard, a dried arbol & dehusked split 'Urad' dal, sputtered in smoking hot oil) and a pinch of asafetida powder. Certainly NOT toasted Schezuan pepper!
The inspiration for this dish comes from Merill who suggested this recipe
created by chezsuzanne.
Asafetida is a spice pretty much confined to Indian cuisine & it was pleasant to discover that it paired very well with schezuan pepper. The pepper itself lends a nutty aroma that complements the dish beautifully.
Thanks Merill & Chezsuzanne for helping me unlock the potential of this wonderful spice!


What You'll Need
  • 28 ounces can garbanzo beans
  • 1 teaspoon schezuan pepper powder, toasted lightly
  • 1 teaspoon Mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon split dehusked Urad dal (optional)
  • 1 dried arbol chilli pepper crumbled lightly
  • 1 pinch Asafetida
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1-2 tablespoons juice of a lemon or lime
  • 2 sprigs chopped cilantro for garnishing
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  1. Drain & discard the liquid from the can of garbanzo beans. ( the precooked beans have sufficient salt to season the dish, but feel free to add more as per your personal taste)
  2. Heat oil till hot and add the mustard seeds. Once the seeds sputter & pop, add the arbol chilli and asafetida. Stir to combine.
  3. Add the drained garbanzo beans, toasted schezuan pepper & turmeric. Mix well.
  4. Lower the burner to a simmer, cover the pan & cook for 5 minutes till the flavors blend.
  5. Transfer to a serving dish, drizzle with lime/lemon juice & garnish with cilantro.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • creamtea
  • Beautiful, Memorable Food
    Beautiful, Memorable Food
  • Sagegreen
  • Panfusine
  • susan g
    susan g
A biomedical engineer/ neuroscientist by training, currently a mommy blogger on a quest for all things food - Indian Palate, Global perspective!

10 Reviews

creamtea June 5, 2011
Yum. We love chickpeas here. Must try this
Panfusine June 5, 2011
Thanks Creamtea, just adding another sundal made with dried peas, which is the actual variety you would get if you were strolling along Marina Beach in Chennai!
Beautiful, M. June 4, 2011
Szechuan pepper is one of my favorite flavors. This is a really interesting use of this spice!
Panfusine June 4, 2011
Thanks... The credit for idea behind using schezuan spice is attributed to Merill Stubbs, this dish arose from a foodpickle Q & A session..
Sagegreen March 9, 2011
My niece sent me some asafetida from her visit to India. I will look forward to making this in the future! Looks wonderful.
veenaprasad March 9, 2011
Nice to see an Indian recipe using such a non-Indian spice like Szechuan pepper! Will try it.
I love sundal with boiled whole mung beans or black-eyed peas. One of my favorite things to add at the end is grated coconut. One point I'd like to make about asafetida for your readers with gluten issues is that commerically available asafetida often contains wheat.
Panfusine March 9, 2011
It never occurred to me about the gluten in asafetida... thanks for pointing it out!
susan G. June 4, 2011
I have asafoetida from Frontier Herbs, made with rice flour and gum arabic, so it is safe for gluten free needs. I've had it for a while -- is there an issue with freshness/age?
Panfusine June 4, 2011
nope.. It stays for ever. both the big blocks as well as the powders (one container goes a looong way (>6 months with daily use, kept on a shelf at RT) Never seen it stored in the fridge even in the hot humid climes of India.. (it would totally stink up the fridge!!)

it may dry out & become rock hard,if its the block. if this happens I pop the whole block into the microwave for ~ 30-40 S to soften it & pinch off little bits to store. when needed, just nuke a small piece in the microwave. It 'fries' up into a crispy puffball, grate as much as needed from this.
Arathi March 8, 2011
This is genius. I LOVED sundal as a child, and haven't eaten it for years! I'm going to make this as soon as I get some Szechuan pepper, hopefully very soon!