Yesterday was the start of Navarathri/Navratri, a festival celebrated with full of enthusiasm all over India. Just like its diverse language and culture, this festival is celebrated differently in each state. Navarathri means “nine nights’ and this year it is from Sepetmeber25th to October 3rd. Even though every states celebration will be different with one thing unique in this festival is that everybody worships Goddess Shakti/Devi. First, in the form of Goddess worshipped as Durga/Kali or as Goddess Lakshmi or as Goddess of Wealth and finally as Saraswathi/ Goddess of wisdom. This Kadalai sundal /brown chickpea salad is offering on one day during 9 days festival.
Amma used to keep Gollu/ kolu/Tier of dolls. When people visit each other’s house to see the Kolu, usually they are given prasad (the offering given to God that day), kumkum and a small bag of gifts. These are only given to girls and married women. In the evenings, a “kuthuvilakku” (small lamp) is lit in the middle of a decorated “kolam“(Rangoli) in front of the Kolu and devotional hymns and shlokas are chanted. After performing the pujas, the food items that have been prepared are offered to the goddesses.
This Navarathi is more special to me as we are planning to do Vidyarambam for my son which means a child starts learning from the auspicious day of Vjayadashmi (i.e. from the last day of Navarathri). This is an important ritual in my home state Kerala, India, read more from here. Even though he started going to preschool, we didn’t did this ceremony so we are going to doing it this time. Last year he was so young only 1 year 8 months to do this ceremony. In my home town during the Vijayadashmi the offering will be puffed rice (malar) kadalai sundal( brown chickpea salad) , uzhunuvada( spilt black gram fritters) and payasam. I am planning to make few of the offering on the day.
Do you know, this kala chana/ brown chickpea are served as offering in Devi temples? It is an indigenous crop and its dark color represents fertility, nutrition and hardiness. That is why it is soaked overnight, cooked and offered to the Goddesses.
Coming to kala chana/ brown chickpeas are smaller than the regular chickpeas, also it is indigenous to Indian Subcontinent, as well as Ethiopia, Mexico, and Iran. It has thick coat than its other counter parts. Rich in fiber than other variety and resulting in low glycemic index than the other regular chickpeas ( Kabuli chana). Make sure to soak it over night, my friend Ammini Ramachandran mentioned in this article that you should soak the chickpeas overnight with little bicarbonate of soda to the soaking water. This trick prevents the calcium in the water from cementing together with the pectin molecules in the chickpea’s cell walls.
After soaking overnight, wash it in running water for few times, then pressure cook till 5 whistles. Once pressure cooker has cooled down, remove the kala chana/ brown chickpeas and wash once again with water. If you are making sundal then heat little oil in the pan and add mustard seeds, urad dal(split black gram) curry leaves and red chilies, then once mustard seeds pops, add cooked kala chana/ brown chickpeas, salt and coconut pieces. You can add freshly grated coconut but I prefer small coconut pieces as my mom adds to the sundal. It is easy delicious filling snack you can have any time of the day.