This Ghugni recipe is a vegetarian (also vegan) curry made with soaked and boiled dried white or yellow peas and potatoes, along with a variety of spices. Ghugni is popular in Bengal and other Eastern Indian states such as Bihar, Jharkhand, and Odisha.
This semi-liquid, lightly spiced curry-like stew is high in protein and can be served as a snack or side dish. Ghugni is also a very famous street food in Kolkata and is sold in roadside carts topped with freshly chopped onions, chili and coriander leaves.
In Odisha, this dish is pronounced Ghuguni and is commonly served with bara, aloo chop, samosa, and chakuli pitha. Ghugni is made in Bihar with kala chana or black chickpea.
In this post I will share Bengali style ghugni recipe which is slightly different than Odia and Bihar style ghugni.
Dried White or Yellow Peas: This is the key ingredient of this dish. It is known as Motor kolai in Bengali.
Vegetables: The addition of potato is mandatory in Bengali households, but you can prepare the dish without it. Apart from potato I have used onion and tomato here.
Spice powders: Generally, I use regular spice powders such as turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and red chilli powder in this recipe. I also use a special spice powder known as bhaja moshla in ghugni.
Whole Spices: I use bay leaf and cinnamon stick for the fragrance. However, if you want you can also use other spices like cardamom and clove.
Spice Paste: Ginger paste is a key ingredient of the recipe.
Others: I always use mustard oil to prepare ghugni. You can use any vegetarian oil. Salt and chopped coriander leaves are additional ingredients that you will need.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to make Ghugni
Here is a step-by-step guide to making vegan and protein rich ghugni at home.
Preparation ghugni starts with the soaking of the dried white or yellow peas. It is always recommended to soak the dried peas for at least 5-6 hours. I wash and soak them overnight.
Now take the soaked peas in pressure cooker and cook up to 2 whistle or until they are perfectly done. After releasing the pressure, check the yellow peas if they are not soft then go more one or more whistle. Number of whistles totally depends on the quality of dried white or yellow peas.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan and add cubed potatoes in the oil. Fry them well with little salt and turmeric powder. Once the potatoes turn slightly golden, take them out from oil and set aside.
Add the remaining oil to the pan and, once hot, add the bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Following that, add the chopped onion to the oil and cook it until transparent.
Add ginger paste and mix well. Now add all the spice powders including turmeric, coriander, cumin and red chilli powder. Also, add salt at this stage.
Next add chopped tomatoes and green chilli. Cook tomatoes until the raw smell of tomatoes is gone.
Add the fried potato cubes next, followed by the boiled dried white peas. Mix them well with the spices and add 2 cups of water. Check the seasoning and add salt if required.
Allow the curry to boil for a few minutes, and when the gravy consistency becomes semi-liquid, turn off the heat and sprinkle bhaja moshla on top. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
You can make lot of variations of this popular ghugni recipe. I am listing some of them here:
- Niramish Ghugni or No onion no garlic ghugni is a well-known version of the same. It is mainly prepared for Bijoya Doshomi and other festival days (when vegetarian food is consumed).
- Mangsher Ghugni or Keema ghugni is another flavorful version of ghugni where mutton keema (minced meat) is cooked with dried yellow peas. Chicken keema is also used in ghugni.
- You can also prepare ghugni using kala chana or black chickpea, kabuli chana or chickpea, motorsuti or green peas, etc.
Ghugni stays fresh in the refrigerator for two to three days when kept in an airtight container. Remove from the refrigerator and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave oven before serving.
You can serve ghugni either as side dish or as snack. We prefer to pair ghugni with sada fulko luchi (deep fried puffed bread). You can also serve it with any type of Indian flatbread including roti, paratha, naan, etc.
It is also served as an evening snack with chopped onion, green chili, sweet & sour chutney, bhujia sev, and coriander leaves on top. This is also known as ghugni chaat and very popular street food in Bengal.
Moreover, this stew like dried yellow peas curry is also poured on various chaat such samosa ghugni chaat, ragda patties, phuchka ghugni chaat, etc.
Bengalis are also fond of ghugni-muri (puffed rice) combination.
- Ensure that the dried yellow peas are not overcooked and become mussy.
- Remember to soak the dried yellow peas in advance (at least 5-6 hours) for best results.
- Use of mustard oil brings the authentic taste in the dish.
- You can skip the potatoes, but they add flavor and texture to the gravy.
Bhaja moshla is a roasted spice mix that is used in a variety of Bengali dishes. It is different than garam masala. Whole spices are dry roasted and freshly ground to prepare this spice mix.
Every Bengali family has a unique Bhaja masala recipe with specific ingredients and proportions. I am sharing a quick hack to make this bhaja masala just in minutes. Instead of whole spices, I take coriander powder, cumin powder, balck pepper powder and garam masala powder in 2:2:1:1 ratio and dry roast them for few minutes and bhaja masala is ready in minutes.
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- Pressure Cooker
- Wok or Pan
- 1 cup Dried White or Yellow Peas
- 2 nos Potato, medium cut into cubes
- 1 no Onion, large chopped
- 1½ teaspoon Ginger Paste
- 1 no Tomato, medium chopped
- 2 nos Green Chilli
- 1 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- ⅔ teaspoon Cumin Powder
- 1 teaspoon Coriander Powder
- ½ teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
- 1 teaspoon Bhaja Masala check FAQ section
- Salt to taste
- 4-5 tablespoon Mustard Oil
- 1 no Bay Leaf
- 1 inch Cinnamon Stick
- 2 tablespoon Coriander Leaves (optional) chopped
- Soak dried white or yellow peas for overmight. After that, drain the water and pressure cook the peas for up to 2 whistles, or until done.
- In a pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and fry the potato cubes with a little salt and turmeric powder.
- Once the potatoes turn slightly golden, take them out from oil and set aside.
- Add the remaining oil to the pan and, once hot, add the bay leaf and cinnamon stick.
- Then, add the chopped onion to the oil and cook until it is transparent.
- Mix in the ginger paste thoroughly. Now add all of the spice powders, including turmeric, coriander, cumin, and red chili powder. Add salt at this point as well.
- Next add chopped tomatoes and green chilli. Cook tomatoes until the raw smell of tomatoes is gone.
- Then add the fried potato cubes and the boiled dried white peas. Combine them with the spices and 2 cups of water. Check the seasoning and season with salt if necessary.
- Allow the curry to boil for a few minutes, and when the gravy consistency becomes semi-liquid, turn off the heat and sprinkle bhaja moshla on top. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
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