Sundal is a simple to make, tasty, low fat and filling snack that can be made with a variety of beans or some lentils like split chick pea or even peanuts. This is my go to snack when I want to make something quick and it is a great source of protein and nutrition, no wonder it ranks among my favorite snacks from south Indian cuisine. Traditionally I cook the lentils or beans in the pressure cooker and proceed with the seasoning it on the stove top.
Recently my pressure cooker, which gets a lot of use, especially when cooking different types of lentils, probably decided it has done enough work and just quit on me one day. As is usually the case with these things it chose the worst possible timing to quit, right in the middle of lunch preparation when I was already running late and my stomach was making sure I knew that lunch time was getting very close :-) Luckily for me I figured out the cooker seemed to be malfunctioning on time and managed to salvage both the brown rice and lentils that were cooking inside it.
Since then I have had to improvise and devise new ways to cook lentils, and the solution I have found is....the microwave. The first time I used the microwave for cooking lentils, it surprised me how effective the microwave was in doing this job and pretty quick too. Somehow I assumed that it may not do as good a job as a pressure cooker, but I was wrong. I have since used the microwave to cook lentils for most of my dishes including sambar, rasam and dhal and it does the job correctly each time. So I was not surprised to see that my split chick pea sundal made entirely in the microwave turned out so well, every single lentil was cooked to perfection. So for those of you who have been requesting me for a microwave only recipe, here is a healthy and tasty snack made entirely in the microwave......
Ingredients and Method to make Split chick pea sundal
1/2 cup split chick peas (chana dhal/ kadalai parappu)
salt to taste
2 tsp coconut oil (or any other oil)
3/4 tsp split black gram lentil (udad dhal)
3/4 tsp mustard seeds
1 Thai or Indian variety green chilli (cut very fine) ( Or according to taste)
pinch of asoafoetida powder (hing)
3 to 4 tsp grated coconut (fresh or frozen)
Place the split chick pea in a microwave safe glass dish or any other microwave safe container. Add water to it sufficient to cover the lentils, swirl it once or twice with your hand and drain the water.
Soak the lentils in fresh water for at least an hour. ( Typically I add water that is at least 1/2 an inch higher than the quantity of lentils, this gives it enough room to expand)
Place the microwave safe dish with lentils in the microwave and cook on high for 2 minutes. Continue to cook the lentils in 2 minute increments. Skim off the froth from the top of the water when it forms. Also stir the lentils regularly and add water if required. The lentils need to be cooked until soft but should not get mushy, each lentil should stand separate.
When cooked, remove lentils from dish and place in a different bowl.
Add coconut oil (or other oil ) to the microwave safe dish and heat on high for 30 seconds or so until the oil heats (will depend on the strength of the microwave)
When the oil is hot, add split black gram lentil to it and heat on high for 30 secs to a minute. The lentil will start to sizzle but will not change color.
At this point remove and add mustard seeds to it and heat on high for about 1 minute.
The lentil would start turning reddish and the mustard seeds would begin to pop. Add green chilli, pinch of asafoetida and heat again for about 30 secs to a minute until the green chillies start to change color.
Add the cooked lentils to this seasoning, add salt to taste, mix well and heat again on high for about a minute for the flavors to mingle.
Finally garnish with grated coconut and serve hot or cold as a snack.
Serves approximately 2.