Sunnundalu is a special and unique Andhra festive sweet made with urad dal (black gram), ghee and sugar or jaggery. These protein rich treats are tasty and keeps well for a few days at room temperature.
Heat a thick bottomed pan or kadai on a low flame. Then add 1 cup urad dal in it.
If you want you can rinse the urad dal first. Spread the lentils on a plate or tray or on a cloth. Dry the lentils naturally or in sunlight. Once the lentils have dried, then add them into the kadai or pan. If you want you can add directly too.
Keep the heat to a low and begin to roast the dal.
Continue to stir often while roasting. Keep on roasting and stirring for even browning and cooking. Roasting urad dal very well is very important. Half-roasted urad dal can give stomach aches.
The dal needs to be golden and become fragrant.
Keep on stirring without a break once the dal begins to get light golden.
When the urad dal become golden, then cool them in the pan itself or you can remove the dal in a plate and let it cool.
Once the urad dal have become warm or cooled down, add them in a grinder jar. Also add cardamom seeds removed from 3 to 4 green cardamom pods.
Grind to a fine flour. It should have a fine texture and be floury.
Now take the urad dal flour in a fine seive.
Begin to sift the flour on a plate or tray or a large bowl or pan.
Keep the sifted urad dal flour aside.
In the same grinder, add the sugar.
Grind sugar to a fine powder.
Now add the powdered sugar to the urad dal flour. If you want you can even sift the sugar and then add.
Mix very well.
Now melt ghee in a pan. You just need to melt the ghee and not heat it.
If adding nuts or dry fruits, you can add some sliced or chopped dry fruits at this step and fry them in ghee till they become light golden.
Add the melted ghee to urad dal + sugar mixture.
Mix thoroughly with a spatula or spoon.
After mixing, the sunnundalu mixture will have a molten consistency and will be a bit fluid. Let this mixture cool at room temperature and let the ghee solidify.
Once the mixture becomes dense, then you can easily shape the mixture into laddu.
Make small to medium sized urad dal laddu. From the warmth of your hands, the laddu will soften while you shape them.
Prepare the remaining sunnundalu like this with all of the mixture.
You can even offer sunnundalu to the deities as naivedyam or serve to your family.
Store the remaining Sunnundalu or Urad Dal Laddu in an air tight box or jar and refrigerate.
You can use either whole urad dal or split dal that have been hulled or husked.
Remember to roast the urad dal really well. They should be half-cooked as this can cause stomach aches.
If using a soft jaggery block, then grate it and add to the urad dal flour.
If using jaggery powder, grind it to a finer texture in a mixer-grinder as sometimes packaged jaggery powder have tiny jaggery lumps in it.
You could omit adding the cardamom powder. Also opt to add nuts and dry fruits of your choice if you like. Chop them and then use as listed above in the recipe instructions.
Easily scale up the recipe if making a larger batch. Note that you will need a large pan or kadai when roasting lentils if you have increased the quantities. Alternatively you can batch roast the lentils twice or thrice in the same pan.