Masala Sundal

Day 2 of school today. I drop them and come home. I feel an amazing sense of calm, at once peaceful and serene.  I do some wall push-ups, a couple of surya namaskars and sit down to sip my lemon and honey while reading the days paper.

I remember an instance when I mentioned to a fellow mom (a house-wife) that it’s good that children will be away at school and she quickly retorted “For you maybe. You will anyway be away at office.” I didn’t understand then. And I don’t understand now. ‘Kids going to school’ is the best alternative for any mom, whether stay at home or office going, wouldn’t you think? It seems logical.


Why would you prefer to watch Hattori, referee their fights and remind them for the 48th time to finish what’s on the plate? Over reading a book, or just being? It beats me.

Did you wonder about the wall push ups? I am going to tell you anyways.


I can’t explain  but I find doing push-ups one of the coolest things ever. I have never managed to myself. That scene in Irudhi suttru where Madhi does her one-handed push ups is one of my most favourite scenes. So my latest goal is to do push-ups, proper boxer kind of push ups, on the floor. I have given myself 30 days to do that. I am starting with wall push ups. I will then move on to inclined push ups and finally to real push ups. I read something in a book recently, something simple and inherently logical that suddenly made tremendous sense to me. If you were to pick something you want to learn, anything at all and if you do it every day for 30 days, at the end of that period, you would have mastered it. Don’t pick Bharatanatyam (this is no Shankar movie) or Karate. Pick something small, something specific. It could be making perfectly cooked rice (my Maamiyaar still doesn’t think I make it right), it could be waking up early, it could be reading 100 pages each day, it could be learning to whistle, it could be anything.

I will let you know how it goes with the push ups. 

In the meantime, here is a recipe to the much loved Masala sundal sold at roadside kadais and at the beach. It is so simple to make in a pressure cooker, I don’t know why I don’t make it more often. I combine everything together in a pressure cooker and cook until the peas are soft and easily mashable. I may then cook it down a little further if it needs to be thicker. But that is it. It is all done in one pot.

God is in the garnishing – Stir in chopped coriander leaves, broken papdi, torn up pooris that turned biscuit like instead of puffing up or cut up pieces of crisp roasted rotis. These add heft to your Masala Sundal and wonderful texture. Top with finely chopped onions. Squeeze a little lemon juice if you wish. Serve hot. I served the roasted roti wedges alongside the sundal to scoop up the sundal with. You could go any which way you please with this.
Masala Sundal
Serves 5
This much loved Masala sundal comes together in a pressure cooker. Lipsmacking! Garnish away.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
  1. Dried White peas – 1-1/2 cups soaked overnight
  2. Onions – 2 medium chopped fine
  3. Tomato – 1 large chopped fine
  4. Tomato – 1 pureed
  5. Ginger – 1-1/2 tsp grated
  6. Green chillies – 2 tsp crushed
  7. Kashmiri red chilli powder – 2 tsp
  8. Coriander powder – 1 tsp
  9. Cumin powder – 1 tsp
  10. Turmeric – ½ tsp
  11. Salt to taste
  12. Water as necessary
  13. Garnishing & Toppings
  14. Coriander leaves – ½ cup chopped
  15. Onion – 1 large finely chopped
  16. Broken papdi/Torn up pooris/cut up toasted roti pieces – 1 cup
  1. Soak white peas overnight. Rinse peas a couple of times in the morning and transfer to a pressure cooker.
  2. Add chopped onions, chopped tomatoes, crushed ginger and green chillies and the spice powders. Add sufficient water to cover the peas mixture (roughly twice the volume of the peas or slightly more). Mix well. Taste the water and add salt accordingly. Mix well.
  3. Pressure cook for 15-20 minutes or till the peas are soft and easily mashable. If the mixture is too runny, bring the sundal to a boil and simmer till the sundal has thickened to your desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  4. Switch off. Top with desired garnishes and serve hot. Enjoy!
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