Ghugni is a classic Bihari cuisine recipe! As you travel along the streets of Bihar, you are sure to find this wonder, served with hot Pooris or parched grain! Ghugni can be made with Bengal gram or white peas depending upon the cuisine; Bengal gram for Uttar Pradeshi or Bihari cuisines and white peas for Bengali style Ghugni. Here, I am recreating the Bihari version, the way it is traditionally made.
Ghugni, for me, apart from the regular days, is a patent dish that is prepared in our homes the morning after, a day of fasting. The reason being that Bengal gram is extremely rich in proteins and nutrition. And what better way than to break a fast with spicy, yummy Ghugni and plain boiled rice! It just makes your day, trust me!
Another particular occasion when this recipe is made, is when we have any guests over from our native countryside; instant harmony attained!
So you see, Ghugni is a hot favourite among Indian households, especially mine, thanks to its evergreen, irresistible characteristics! Serve it with just anything and you have a winner! 😉

Serves 4
2 cups Bengal gram, soaked in water overnight
6 large onions, sliced
5 tbsp mustard oil + 1 tbsp ghee
2 pinches of asafoetida
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp black peppercorns
4 green cardamoms
1 black cardamom
1 small cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
2 dry red chillies
2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
2 green chillies, slit
3 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp roasted cumin powder
1 tsp black pepper powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
2 tsp salt
Juice of 1 lemon

Step 1: Heat 1 tbsp mustard oil in a pressure cooker. Add 1 pinch of asafoetida and 2 sliced onions and sauté on low heat for 5 mins till it turns translucent. Add 1 tsp turmeric powder and 1 tsp salt. Mix well.
Step 2: Add the soaked Bengal gram and give it all a mix. Add water till the contents are fully immersed with the water level an inch above the Bengal gram.
Step 3: Close the pressure cooker and boil the Bengal gram till 10-15 whistles or 30 minutes, dividing the time between 20 minutes on low flame and 10 minutes on high flame.
Step 4: After the pressure cooker cools down, check whether the Bengal gram has cooked. It is essential that the legume cooks completely here. Boil again if required. Set aside.
Step 5: Heat 4 tbsp mustard oil and 1 tbsp ghee in a karahi. Add 1 pinch of asafoetida, cumin, black peppercorns, green cardamoms, black cardamom, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and dry red chillies.
Step 6: After a minute, add 3 sliced onions and sauté for 5 minutes. Add ginger-garlic paste and mix well.
Step 7: In the meantime, grind the remaining 1 sliced onion and green chillies to a paste. Add it to the karahi. Mix. Cover and let it roast on low flame for 5 minutes.
Step 8: As the oil starts to separate, add red chilli powder, coriander powder, roasted cumin powder, black pepper powder, 2 tsp turmeric powder and 1 tsp salt. Mix everything. Cover and let it roast further for 10 minutes on low heat for the flavours to evolve well.
Step 9: As the spices roast, grind 1 cup of the cooked Bengal gram to a paste. Add it to the karahi after the spices begin to stick to the base of karahi. Mix well so that the flavours are incorporated well. This mixture is the base of the gravy.
Step 10: After 5 minutes, add the remaining cooked Bengal gram. Give it a mix.
Step 11: Add 2 cups of water or as required to get a slightly thick gravy. Add garam masala, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Step 12: Add lemon juice, mix and check seasoning. Serve hot garnished with chopped onions and green chillies!

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