Black Chickpeas Curry (Ghugni) Recipe:
A spicy black chickpeas curry, the Bihari recipe popularly called Ghugni.
Nostalgia of home cooked food that I grew up eating and the fact that my Mom is visiting me these days is the inspiration that went behind preparing this dish. You may call it a version of the famous ‘choley’ but this one is made with the black chickpeas instead and the recipe by origin is a Behari (originating in the state of Bihar), so no its not called chole or choley. It is called ‘ghugni’ and is a spicy curry with smoky flavours of coriander and cumin seeds. I won’t even say it has a balance of tang or sweetness, it is rather out and out smoky and spicy in flavour.
We’d be served this as a prized Sunday breakfast quite often with a choice of Indian bread, either plain Parathas or Plain pooris or even the Kachodi (I’ll share the Behari take on this recipe soon too). As a matter of fact there were two version to the same recipe, one that was quicker and would be served when Mom was not in the mood for the other more elaborate version, and that would be kept for special occasions. The difference between the two is by large only the consistency of the gravy, the one I’ve shared here (the special version of course) has thicker and fuller gravy, and takes much longer to fry the spices. So, incase you are in hurry you must just skip the first step, i.e skip making the paste of a black chickpea altogether and reduce the quantity of water at the end to adjust the gravy.
It’s amazing how even after the breaking away from Bihar and becoming Jharkhand now, we almost refer to everything back home as Behari, seems we’ve not come to terms with using the term Jharkhandi even after a decade. Trust since I should call myself a Jharkhandi by roots now, so should I also call my recipe of a Jharkhandi origin. I’ll leave that one for you to decide and shall rather concentrate on enjoying my curry.
Ingredients (Serves 4):
- 1 and ½ cup black chickpeas, soaked overnight to make approx 3 cups of soaked black chickpeas
- 4 medium onions, thin sliced
- 1 tbsp garlic paste
- 2 green chillis chopped
- 1 tsp cumin seed
- 1 large bay leaf
- ½ tsp coriander seed, optional
- 1 tsp turmeric pwd
- ½ tsp red chilli pwd
- 1 and ½ tbsp coriander pwd
- ½ tsp cumin pwd
- ½ tsp black pepper pwd
- Salt to taste
- 2-3 tbsp ghee (Indian clarified butter)
- 1 tbsp mustard oil (any other cooking oil can be used)
- Take ½ cup chickpeas and approx I chopped onion and make them into a coarse paste using an electric grinder, and keep aside.
- In a kadahi (wok or any deep skillet) heat the oil and add bay leaf, cumin and coriander seeds and fry till they pop, add onions and green chillies and fry till they turn golden pink. Add the entire soaked chick peas and fry for a minute.
- Then add garlic paste, turmeric pwd and salt and fry for a minute or two. Add the red chilli pwd, coriander pwd and the black chickpeas paste and fry together on a low to medium flame until a little oil appears at the sides (Do not expect the oil to separate if you are using the chickpeas paste). It will take about 20 minutes.
- Then add the cumin and pepper pwd, fry for another minute and turn off the stove. Now cook the chickpeas along with the fried spices and 3 and ½ cup water (use a little watter to starin all the spices from the skillet) in a pressure cooker, on medium flame for 4-5 whistles or until chickpeas softens. Leave on for the pressure to release, stir and check for the consistency of the gravy. Reduce on a high flame for a couple of minutes if required, but I don’t require to reduce any further.
- Serve hot with your favourite Indian bread.
Dos and Don’ts:
- As already said, avoid adding the black chickpeas and onion paste if you do not mind a thin gravy and are pressed on time.
- Adjust the quantity of chillies to suit your taste.
- The no of whistles required for cooking may vary; idea is to cook till the chickpea softens.
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