With the slow change in weather towards cold mornings, I started to crave a hearty meal, like this Chicken Ghugni. This comforting stew is very popular in Bengali cuisine and pairs best with luchi, often served as a snack or weekend breakfast. You can make it pure vegetarian too by omitting the chicken from the recipe.
Kolkata Street Food - Chicken Ghugni
Ghugni is one of the most popular Bengali snacks.
It’s a very popular dish from the eastern part of India. Bengalis are extremely fond of this hearty food. We serve it as snack or chaat or even as a meal.
If you have visited Kolkata, you must have come across this dish even on roadside. It is sold by some local street food vendor.
You can prepare Ghugni vegetarian or add ground meat to it. You can serve in different style. Sometimes in the form of chaat with green chutney and tamarind chutney or with pav (dinner rolls) in the form of quick breakfast. But my favorite way to enjoy Ghugni is with luchi, especially if it's Chicken Ghugni.
Yellow Whole Peas (Holud Motor in Bengali) - We prepare Ghugni with the yellow whole peas. These are sold dried, which you need to soak overnight before you boil.
Ground Chicken - Ground chicken makes the dish more filling. If you like chicken, you will sure enjoy this combination of chicken with peas.
You can make a vegetarian version by not adding any chicken at all.
Potatoes - Bengalies are extremely fond of potatoes, and we like to add it in all our comfort food.
Onion - The pure vegetarian version doesn't call for onion or garlic. But since this is Chicken Ghugni, I had to add onion.
Tomato - For most beans or pea stew I like to add a lot of tomatoes and often use tomato can as it adds that rich color. BUT, for this particular dish, I always prefer using a small quantity of fresh tomato. It mainly to add some sweetness to the dish.
Bengali five spice (paanch phoron) - Panch phoron is a mix of 5 whole spices and is very easy to make at home. We add this spice mix always at the beginning of the cooking, in hot oil to release the aroma.
Spice paste by mixing regular Indian spices with water - My Mom will always add spices with water before adding to the hot pan. This technique mixes the spices evenly to the rest of the ingredients.
Here, we use cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric, fennel powder and chili powder with little water.
Bengali Gorom Moshla - The dish is ended with a little sprinkle of Bengali Gorom Moshla. Bengali Gorom Moshla is mellow and not spicy like the North Indian Garam Masala.
HERE IS THE VIDEO
Important Point on how to boil the yellow peas
These yellow peas are tricky! Just like most dried peas, you need to soak them overnight.
The yellow peas are quite easily available in any Indian store. These appear white or pale white but when soaked, it puffs into a yellow shade.
It’s very common in India to use a pressure cooker to boil peas or lentils, but with these peas in this particular dish, you want it to retain the shape. It’s tricky to use pressure cooker because these can turn mushy very easily.
I prefer to use a heavy bottom pan with a tight lid, so I can keep an eye as it boils. It typically will take about 30 minutes to soften and yet retain the shape. It should be tender but still hold its shape.
Traditionally, it is prepared with yellow whole peas, but you can definitely use any other variety of peas you enjoy. However, do keep in mind it will change the overall taste of the dish.
Yes you can! You can make in advance and serve in the next few days. The flavor of the dish definitely gets better the next day.
Yes, soaking dried peas making the cooking technique faster. You can prepare without soaking too, but keep in mind it will take longer time to boil the peas.
You absolutely can use pressure cooker or instapot too, but you just have to adjust the cooking time as you definitely want the peas to retain shape after boilling
Perfect texture of Ghugni should be a mouthful and have a bite and not soupy or mushy. You definitely need the texture.
You can serve Ghugni in various different ways. Turn it into a snack as chaat, or breakfast with bread, but my favorite is with luchi or with Koraishuti Kochuri for weekend lunch. It's very comforting and perfect for cold days.
- ½ cup 3.80 oz./108 g dried yellow peas (holud motor)
- 1 medium size potato (7 oz)
- 1 medium size onion (7 oz)
- 1 inch ginger
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 green chili
- 2 small tomatoes (6 oz in total)
- 2 small bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon Bengali five spice- paanch phoron
- 3 tablespoons mustard oil
- 2 bay leaves
- 8.80 oz./249 g ground chicken
- 1 green chili
spice paste with water
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon fennel powder
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- Soak the dried yellow peas overnight. It will puff up and turn to a yellow shade.
- Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of salt to the soaked yellow peas. Boil it in a heavy bottom saucepan with lid for about 20 minutes, or until the peas are softened but still retain their shape. Keep the boiled peas aside once done.
- Blend or vert finely chop ginger, garlic and green chili.
- Dice the potato into small bite size, finely chop the onion and tomato.
- In a tiny bowl, add all the spices under spice paste and mix it with water.
- In a heavy bottom pan or wok at medium heat and pour the oil and once it heats up, add the Bengali five spice and bay leaves. Once it starts to splatter, add the ginger garlic and chili paste and stir it around.
- Scatter the onion and toss it around. Season with salt and let it cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the diced potato and let it cook together for 3 minutes. Then add the spice paste that was kept aside and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the ground chicken, stir it around to break it down. Add the tomato, season with salt and a little bit of sugar, cover and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
- Scatter the boiled peas and stir it around. Pour ½ cup water, cover and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Finally, sprinkle Bengali Gorom Moshla and let it cook for a while.
- Enjoy Chicken Ghugni warm with your choice or bread and sides.