The one I will present today is called Ghugni, one of the best street foods in Kolkata and rest of the Bengal. It would be difficult to find a school in Bengal with no temporary shop selling Ghugni during the lunch break. Students gathered around the shopkeeper desperately trying to get a plate of Ghugni is a very common picture outside the schools. I think all of us can still smell the taste of Ghugni from that particular shop and have interesting stories centered around that shop. Even though it’s popular as street food, this recipe can easily be replicated at home. Every Bengali home enjoys their own home-made Ghugni as an evening snack or during breakfast on a special weekend. Most of the times it’s served with Poori, Luchi or puffed rice. But sometimes people like just a bowl of Ghugni sprinkled with finely chopped onions, green chilies with lime juice.
For my non-Bengali friends, you can think Ghugni as yellow chickpeas curry. Dried white or yellow peas is cooked with a spicy gravy. Ghugni has different versions, some include meat such as lamb and goat. In Bengali we call that “Mangsher Ghugni”. Today what I made is vegetarian version but has onion and garlic in it. Sometimes it is cooked without onion and garlic too. Whether it’s vegetarian or non-vegetarian , Ghugni is yummy both way . Making Ghugni is not a huge deal, but tricky part is boiling the peas. You shouldn’t over-boil it so that thin skin of the peas floats over. Cooking the yellow peas to perfection is the main key of making Ghugni. So when you make Ghugni follow my instructions religiously :)
Recipe of Bengali Ghugni , serves 4
Yellow Peas : 1 cup
Potato : 1 potato, diced in cubes
Onion : 1, medium sized, finely chopped
Ginger paste : 1 teaspoon
Garlic : 1 tablespoon
Tomato : 1, chopped
Oil : 2 + 3 tablespoons
Dry Red Chili : 1
Green Cardamoms : 3
Cinnamon Stick : 1 inch
Cloves : 3
Turmeric powder : 1 teaspoon
Cumin powder : 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder : 1 teaspoon
Kashmiri Red Chili Powder : 1 teaspoon
Red chili powder : 1 teaspoon
For Bhaja Masla :
Dry Red Chili : 1
Whole cumin seeds : 1 tablespoon
For garnishing :
Chopped Onion- chopped green chilies- chopped cilantro, wedges of lemon and bhaja masla ( optional )
To make Bhaja Masla (roasted spice powder) : Take a pan, heat it up, add 1 tbsp of whole cumin seeds and a whole dry red chili and dry roast them until they are fragrant. Let it cool down at room-temperature, then grind them to a powder.
1. Wash the yellow peas and soak it for at least 3 to 4 hours, preferably overnight. Then pressure cook the peas with salt and turmeric powder on medium flame, wait for 2 whistles, turn off the gas and let the steam release automatically on its own, then Open the lid. The peas should be well cooked but not mushy.
2. In a big pan put 2 tbsp oil, once oil is hot, add the potato pieces. When the color of potato starts to change into golden yellow, remove it from the heat and set it aside.
3. In the same pan, add oil. When oil is ready, put whole dry garam masala (cardamoms, cinnamon, cloves) and add the whole dry red chili.
4. Once they are aromatic and start to spatter, add the chopped onions. Stir it and add little salt. In few minutes, onion changes its color to golden brown. Add the garlic and ginger paste.
5. Stir and cook it, until the raw smell goes off. In a small bowl, take turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chili powder, kashmiri red chili powder, 1/2 tsp sugar add 2 -3 tbsp water into it and make a paste.
6. Add the mixture into the pan. Keep stirring until the oil starts to come out from the side of the pan. Add the tomato pieces and little salt.
7. Once the tomato gets soft, Add the potato and peas, again give some stirs and mix it well at medium flame.
8. Add salt and one or two cups of water ( in which the peas are boiled ). Cover it with lid and let it simmer. Once everything is well cooked (yet peas and potato cubes hold their shape ), check the seasoning, check consistency, adjust accordingly. Add 1 tablespoon of bhaja Masla and mix it well.
9. The consistency of Ghugni should not be too dry or too runny. Turn off the gas, pour it on a serving bowl, sprinkle some chopped onions, chopped green chilies, chopped cilantro and few drops of lemon juice or Tentul jol ( tamarind water ) and bhajamasla.