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Garbanzo Bean Salad (Kadala Sundal)

by Ammini Ramachandran

Serves 8

This simple and healthy bean salad is prepared as offering at temples. Traditionally this recipe is prepared with Indian garbanzo beans that are smaller in size and have a brownish skin. Dried on canned garbanzo beans may be substituted.

2 cup Garbanzo beans
½ teaspoon of turmeric powder
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons of vegetable, corn or canola oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 dried red chili pepper (serrano, cayenne or Thai), broken into pieces
or ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ teaspoon asafoetida powder
A few fresh curry leaves
2 hot green chili peppers (serrano or Thai), thinly sliced (use less for milder taste)

Wash and soak the garbanzo beans overnight. Cook them with turmeric till the beans are very soft. Drain well, sprinkle with salt and set aside. Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet and add the mustard seeds. When they start spluttering, add red pepper, asafoetida powder, curry leaves and green chilies and sauté for a minute or two. Add the drained chickpeas to the pan and stir continuously for a minute or two. Remove from the stove. Serve warm or cold.

A tasty variation of this recipe is to combine grated coconut and raw mango slices with it. After seasoning the oil with spices add two teaspoons fresh lemon juice along with the drained chickpeas to the skillet. Pan-fry for a minute or two while stirring continuously. Remove from the stove. Sprinkle one medium size raw mango cut into small cubes and ½ cup freshly grated coconut and stir gently to mix. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves. Serve warm or cold.

A financial analyst turned freelance food writer, Ammini Ramachandran, writes about the history, culture and cuisine of her home state Kerala, India, on her web site http://www.peppertrail.com. Her recipes and articles have been featured in The Providence journal, Flavor & Fortune, www.leitesculinaria.com, and www.ThingsAsian.com. She is working on  a cookbook about the vegetarian cuisine of Kerala against a backdrop of cultural and culinary history. She is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and Culinary Historians of New York.

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