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This Protein-Packed Salad Features A Unique Nutrient-Rich Ingredient

Image by Maja Smend / Maja Smend
November 11, 2021
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You may not hear "snack" and think "salad"—but this dish is the perfect blend of snackable with something fresh and nutrient-dense. From the new cookbook Tarkari by Rohit Ghai, it combines chickpeas with tempered spices and fresh sea veggies for a satisfying snack.

The dish, chana sundal, is a healthy protein-rich snack, "and is generally served during religious festivals such as Navratri and Janmashtami," writes Ghai. "It's a southern Indian delicacy with an amazing flavour of grated coconut, asafoetida, curry leaves and mustard seeds."

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This version does deviate slightly from the normal recipe, with the addition of samphire—also known as sea beans or sea asparagus. This sea vegetable is in season in the late summer, so you may not find it easily this time of year, and comes in a few varieties, but marsh samphire is most common. It has a fresh, salty taste that contrasts beautifully with earthier flavors—like the chickpeas in this recipe.

Sea veggies also offer prebiotics, antioxidants, and beneficial minerals like iodine.* Samphire, in particular, has been found to have functional nutrients like fiber, polyphenols, and flavonoids1. This recipe is the perfect thing for getting to know this new ingredient alongside a familiar favorite.

Chickpea & Samphire Salad

Serves 2

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Method

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons black or brown mustard seeds
  • 6 fresh curry leaves
  • 3 dried Kashmiri chilies, broken into pieces, seeds removed
  • ¼ teaspoon asafoetida (optional, see note)
  • 7 ounces (200 g) tinned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1¾ ounce (50 g) fresh samphire
  • 1¾ ounce (50 g) freshly grated coconut, to garnish 
  • 1 to 2 lime wedges, to serve
  • Salt

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the mustard seeds, swirling the pan occasionally, and fry until the seeds begin to crackle.
  2. Add the curry leaves, chilies, and asafoetida, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 45 seconds or until the curry leaves have slightly darkened. 
  3. Add the chickpeas and cook, tossing often, for about 3 minutes, until just warmed through. Leave to cool, then add the fresh samphire and season with salt, to taste.
  4. Garnish with fresh coconut and serve with lime wedges.
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Note: Asafoetida is a combination of dried gum resins from plant roots and is available at Indian food shops and some supermarkets.

Excerpted from TARKARI: Vegetarian and Vegan Indian Dishes With Heart & Soul by Rohit Ghai, Kyle Books; photo: Maja Smend.