Today is the last day of the Navarathri, the third day of the Saraswathie poosai. Dedicated to Goddess Saraswathie, the goddess of learning, wisdom and the creative arts, it is a special day.

SaraswathieThis day is when a special ‘poosai’ is held in my home. Besides the ‘poosai’ itself and the food, we also used to keep a symbol of an area of learning that we wished to strengthen during the coming year on the ‘poosai’ table. I remember as a child that I used to be excited about this aspect of the ‘poosai’ and particularly selecting the area of education I wished to strengthen. I always used to be the one bringing several school books plus my creative writing notepads to the table. It used to be my hope that my school grades for that year would improve astronomically along with writing and turning out globally acclaimed fictional masterpieces, by having been blessed during the ‘poosai.’ I have retained a fondness for this ritual.

DSC00671After the ‘poosai’ and after the musically inclined in the family had sung a few devotional songs and played a couple of pieces on their flute or violin,  we would quietly read our respective chosen book for the hour. As a kid, I used to be quite impatient towards the end of the book reading hour anticipating the ‘prasadam’ that would finally be served.

For today’s Navarathri recipe, I would like to share my mother’s recipe for sundal, the quintessential ‘poosai’ food that is always made in Hindu homes and temples during festival or special ‘poosai’ days.


Time taken: 35 mins + 6 hours (for soaking)

Serves 4 or 5


  • Chickpeas – 1 cup
  • Onion – 1 tbsp, chopped
  • Dried red chillies – 2
  • Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
  • Coconut chips – 1 tbsp
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Low fat oil – 1 tbsp


  1. Soak the chickpeas for 6 hours.
  2. Boil the soaked chickpeas for ½ hour. Add salt a minute or two before removing from stove and stir.
  3. Drain the chickpeas after removing from stove.
  4. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and fry all ingredients, except the boiled and drained chickpeas, for 5 mins.
  5. Add the chickpeas to the pan. Mix well before removing from stove.
  6. Serve hot.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.


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