India's love for 'chana' or chickpeas is not surprising. You'll find this humble ingredients holding a special place in most of Indian regional cuisines. Be it the quintessential Matra-Kulcha of Amritsar or the famous Kadala Curry from Kerala, every part of the country surprises you with innovative and flavourful preparations made with chana. One such chana-based dish which is much-loved in the Eastern part of the country is Ghugni. Ghugni is a spiced chickpea or Bengal gram based curry which can be enjoyed by itself with masala and onion and or as a meal with hot puris. While it is essentially a vegetarian dish, some people like to add minced mutton (keema) or mutton chunks to it.
It is popular because it can be made easily and is absolutely delicious. The Bengal gram is soaked, boiled, and then cooked with tomatoes and a whole lot of spices like turmeric, garam masala and red chilly powder. The piping hot channa is then garnished with spoonful of hot green chutney, lime juice, chopped red onions and chaat masala. Smoky hot, spicy and tangy, the dish offers a burst of flavours. A similar dish is popular in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh known as Matar Chaat or Matra Chaat which is a bit dry and less spicy than the Ghugni.
In his book, 'The Travelling Belly', Food Blogger Kalyan Karmakar writes about Ghugni and says that it is, "Beautiful, uncomplicated and pure flavours. Ghugni is a Bengali Brunch dish , which is often served with luchis as breakfast or with Kachoris in roadside tea stalls and humble sweetshops. It is curry made with Bengal gram, which are called 'motor' in Bengali. These are round and smaller than the chickpeas used in the Punjabi channa of Mediterranean Hummus... At times Mutton Keema or Mutton chunks is added in Ghugnis in Kolkata."
Kalyan also recommends Subrata Chaat Stall in Chittaranjan Park in New Delhi, especially for their Mutton Ghugni with spicy chunks of meat. In Kolkata, the amazing flavour of the lip-smacking Ghugni that I had outside Victoria Garden stayed with me for days. Have you got any favourite places to have Ghugni ? Do let us know! Or make the dish at home with this quick recipe Chef Aditya Bal and Devanshi.
Ingredients Of Ghugni
- 2 cups soaked white peas
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 tsp garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp ginger, grated
- 1/2 tsp cumin seed powder
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 cup oil
- Salt to taste
How to Make Ghugni
1. Heat oil in a pan. Add onions, ginger and garlic. And saute.
2. When onions get golden brown, add tomatoes, peas, coriander powder, garam masala, cumin powder, water and salt. Cook till they are done.
3. Garnish with onions and coriander.
You can also add minced mutton or mutton chunks, if you want to make the dish more wholesome.