Marina Beach Thengai Mangai sundal


Choosing a healthy breakfast by itself is definitely not a simple task and choosing a vegetarian breakfast for Phase 1 of South beach diet is even more a tougher task. I can hear people saying “Eat cereals!”. Well, there is no carbs in the phase 1 of SBD. So cereals are ruled out. Even choosing a healthy cereal with whole grain, fiber and zero sugar is equally tough.
Breakfast to me should have good amount of protein, fiber and good carbs. That should be something that will give me the energy to work effectively during the morning and importantly something that will keep me full and happy. The typical Indian menu like pongal (rice-lentil risotto), dosa (savory rice pancakes/crepes) or idly (steamed cakes) or upma (Top chef master’s winning dish) is packed with bad carbohydrates. Infact if we make the same dishes with brown rice or quinoa, they become the ideal dish for the phase 2 and 3 dieters of South Beach diet.
Any dish with eggs are perfect for breakfast during phase 1. Offlate my mom follows SBD once a while, so I had to come up with  vegetarian options. We have been making patties with lentils or steamed lentil balls or boiled legumes tempered with South Indian spices for her. One protein rich dish that fits the requirement of South beach diet (phase 1) is our good old sundals. The most famous dish from the world famous Marina beach is mangai thengai sundal (legumes cooked with mangoes and coconut). For a true blue Chennaite like me, the thoughts about Marina and the food scene revolving around it would bring back wonderful childhood memories. You can read more about my love for Marina here. 

There was a debate in the SBD forum on whether raw mango be considered in phase 1 of South beach diet. To me, raw mango is a vegetable and I felt that I could eat it in phase 1. I have eaten our marina sundal during phase 1 and there was a good amount of weight lost during this phase. But experts from SBD said that the green raw mango is a fruit and shouldn’t be included in phase 1. So its upto you to make the decision. For phase 1 dieters, avoid carrots and mangoes and proceed with the same recipe.

Since it had been a busy week for me, let me run to the post right away. For this sundal, the green peas (dried version) are cooked to perfection and exotic South Indian spices are tempered in oil and mixed to form a uniform coating. Finally generous amount of tangy green mangoes and creamy coconut are added to make it taste out of the world. They have close to zero fat per serving. You can cucumbers, carrots to make it even more fibrous. Our simple snack with legumes like dried uncooked green peas is protein packed and has good carbs so the sugars will break down slowly in to the blood stream and this will keep you full for longer. I make them over the weekend and stays good for two days. If you plan to use it for than 2 days or want to freeze them, then its a good idea to add coconut fresh when serving. Coconut is highly perishable and it will spoil the dish very quickly if not stored carefully.


Serves 4
Source: My mother

  • 1 cup dry Green Peas (available in Indian grocery stores)
  • 1/2 tablespoon or less olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard  seeds
  • 1 table spoon black gram dal
  • 4 whole dry red chillies
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • A pinch of Asafoetida
  • 1/4 cup fresh or dried grated coconut
  • 1 medium sized raw mango – grated1 medium sized carrot – grated (optional)
  • Salt to taste


  1. Soak dry green peas in water for 8 hours. Later, cook them in pressure cooker adding 2 cups of water and little salt. Cook for 1 whistle.
  2. If cooking in a pan, cook them covered with 3 cups water for 30-45 minutes. Don’t overcook it. It should stay whole and less mushy.
  3. Heat oil in a pan. Once the oil ripples add mustard seeds, asafoetida, black gram dal, red chillies, curry leaves and saute for 2 minutes. Then add coconut and finally cooked green peas and little salt. Toss to combine.
  4. Switch off the flame and mix in the mangoes and carrots. Serve hot with masala chai.
Additional notes:
  1. Soak green peas for minimum 6 to 8 hours and add only required water while boiling and keep in pressure cooker only for 1 whistle minutes, not more than that because peas will get over cooked and become mushy.
  2. An ideal snack or breakfast dish for phase 2 and 3 of South beach diet.
  3. Also perfect for those who are looking for healthy eating options.
  4. This dish can be eaten by pregnant women with gestational diabetes.

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  1. OMG!! Memories of this sundal from marina beach comes flooding to me..I miss Madras! 🙁

  2. looks yummy and healthy too..
    love it!
    you should publish an Indian veg book for South Beach diet! I love your these healthy dishes!

  3. hmm.. dint know sundal can be made with green peas too.. looks yummyyy
    my first visit to your space & I love it.. happy to follow you 🙂

  4. i havent really tried sundal before, but this def looks like a good recipe 2 start with. I am loving all the beautiful pics.

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