Of the four big metropolis in India, Mumbai, New Delhi & Kolkata have a roaring street food scene each with their numerous yet unique offerings, the odd one out (& I'm gearing for a heated argument with the other half as I type this) is Chennai in the south which.. well, I'll take the 'fifth' for fear of possible hate mail!
Even as I speak of the street food scene in Chennai as a possible ignoramus, one dish that stands out is the 'thaynga maanga pattani Sundal' (transalation: Coconut, mango (that was pretty easy), Green peas sundal). Its sold on the shores of Marina beach by vendors carrying around a large stainless steel canister and a tower of paper cones (or eco friendly bowls made of dry teakwood leaves pinned together with tiny twigs, called 'dhonnai'). the crunch of the fresh shredded coconut and the finely chopped (almost to a chiffonade) raw mango, makes this a delightful yet healthy treat.
A bowl of sundal, sunset, sand between the toes, and sea breeze blowing briskly from the Indian ocean,... as the song goes...'these are a few of my favorite things'!!
dried green peas
black mustard seeds
split dehusked urad dal
whole dried arbol chili
small fresh green chiles (cut into small pieces)
inch piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
fresh curry leaves torn (10-12 leaves)
Fresh frozen shredded coconut
fresh green raw mango, peeled and finely chopped (almost shredded)
Soak the green peas overnight till plump. Adding adequate water & turmeric cook the re hydrated peas till soft, but firm. Drain cooking liquid, add salt as per personal taste and set aside. In a microwave, thaw the frozen coconut to room temperature and set aside.
In a skillet, heat the oil. When almost smoking hot add the mustard, urad dal and the arbol chile. When the mustard sputters and the dal turns golden brown, add the ginger, green chili, curry leaves and asafetida and stir.
Add the cooked green peas, mix to combine ingredients. Lower heat, cover and cook for ~ 5-10 minutes
Add the coconut to the sundal, mix well and remove from stove.
Garnish with the finely chopped raw mango and cilantro and drizzle with lime juice prior to serving.