04 March 2009

Ghoogni/ ghugni (Sautéed green peas salad with Bengali five spices)

5. 3. 2009

This dish used to be a Thursday ‘fast’ special. Papa used to (still does) fast on Thursdays, which means he skipped breakfast and a proper lunch. Mamma used to make ghoogni for him and we joined in as well. I think most families from Bengal and Bihar – neighbouring states, they have a lot of food and cooking in common – have fond memories of ghoogni.

The other day a college mate in New York – we were ‘speaking’ after nearly eight years! – mentioned reading my post on sandwiches in Australia. I had mentioned the ghoogni in passing in that post. “I wanted you to know this,” she said and proceeded to tell me that reading the post reminded her how much she loved ghooghni. She had called her mom back in India for the recipe and has since made the dish a number of times. I was quite touched. Ghoogni in New York and now ghoogni in Melbourne. Hah, culinary conquests I say!

I was trying to get a nutritional value chart or figures on green peas when to my greatest surprise I came across an Indian government website. Imagine my shock to learn that the Food and Nutrition Board, Ministry of Women and Child Development (Govt of India, 2008) has a website with Indian recipes and nutritional values attached. I really did not expect an Indian government website to think like that. The site also has a ghoogni recipe. While the website is not very eye-pleasing and the recipes are rather swiftly dealt with, here’s to the Indian government at least trying out new things. Check out the website. (Green pea nutrition chart --->)

Ghoogni/ ghugni (Sautéed green peas salad with Bengali five spices)
Serves: 2
Cooked on: Low heat
Accompanimen: A dash of lime juice along with a steaming cup of tea or soup!
Try this with: Soft, white bread or puris


  1. This is a rather quick and very versatile dish that can be happily modified to suit your taste. With or without spices, the green peas make for healthy eating. There is a Bengali version of the recipe as well as one that comes from Bihar. Some also like making this with minced meat, but we are sticking to the vegetarian version. I shall be making my version!
  2. It can be made using either green peas (fresh or frozen) or chickpeas. If using frozen green peas, do thaw them (naturally or in the microwave); for using chickpeas it’s a good idea to soak them overnight. I prefer making ghooghni with green peas.
  3. Today’s recipe only uses green peas, you can add numerous other vegies as well. While technically it won’t be ghooghni; it will make for a darned tasty dish. Just remember that everything has to be finely chopped/diced.
  4. Vegies that go very well with this dish: Baby carrots, corn (steam them first), baby corn, button mushrooms and potatoes. If you wish to use other vegies, feel free; just remember not to overpower the flavour of the green peas.
  5. I prefer my ghooghni to be somewhat sweet-n-spicy; however, you can skip the garam masala and simply stick with salt and pepper. It still tastes good! Butter your bread and pile it up with ghooghni or have a bowlful with a steaming cup of chai or even your favourite soup.
  6. Also, chai in India means tea and not the just the full-of-spice tea that you get in jars in Australia.

Vegetable/canola/olive oil: 1 TBS
Peas: 2 cups, fresh or frozen (thawed)
Onion: 1 big, finely chopped
Ginger: 1 TBS, skin removed and finely grated
Tomato: 2 medium, finely diced
Fennel: 2 TSP (optional)
Red chilli ground: 1 TSP (optional)
Dry mango powder/ amchoor: ½ TSP (optional) OR
Sugar: 1 TSP
Salt: to taste
Black pepper: 1 TSP
Garam masala: 1 TSP (optional)
Lemon juice: 1 TBS (optional)


  1. Heat oil in a wok/pan with lid. Once the oil is hot, add the fennel seeds and allow to splutter. The fennel is optional; you can skip it.
  2. Once the fennel splutters, add the onions and fry them till they turn slightly pink. Now add the grated ginger and fry for 3 minutes.
  3. Next add the salt, pepper, red chilli powder and garam masala and fry for another 3 minutes till the onions are coated with the spice mixture.
  4. Add the tomatoes and fry till the tomatoes – mashing them with the spatula – till the tomatoes soften and are pulverised.
  5. Fry the mix for 3-4 minutes till the spices start sticking to the bottom of the wok/pan (but can be easily scraped off). This is your sign that the masala (spice mix) is cooked.
  6. Finally add the green peas and cook for another 3 minutes till the peas get a ‘shine’ on them.
  7. Sprinkle a little water, cover the wok/pan and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the lid, sprinkle the amchoor or sugar and fry for 3 minutes.

You’re done! Squeeze some lemon juice and you’re ready to go.
Want to know more about your peas? Here’s where you go.


Anonymous said...

Use to be our dependable companion during early morning hunger raids - unlimited ghugni with egg toasts and chai by the side. There couldn't have been a tastier and cheaper breakfast for perenially bankrupt hostellers :)
2/3 hits for me - carry on the good stuff!


Eve* aka JB said...

@ Raven: thank-you for that. Ghoogni is fast becoming my comfort-food here..except that i need to buy more amchoor. See you around..

chandni said...

hey,.....though I hadn't heard the word "ghugni" before...I do use a similar recipe as an accompaniment to alcohol when friends come for dinner...

I haven't used sugar ever...but I try it with kaala chana as well...tastes pretty neat!

Another difference I noted is that u use fennel here...I use jeera...but next time i'll try the fennel...I love that spice in food and think it makes a mundane dish delightful!

Eve* aka JB said...

@ Chandni: Oh i know the kala chana version you're talking of... Real spicy, except I skip the tomatoes. Hmm, I will buy some kala chana, don't have any at home and make some for myself. It's been a while... thanks for reminding me. SIGH. I love cooking, but would love to eat someone else's haath-ka Indian food.

Goofy Mumma said...

You will not believe this, but I made Ghoogni just last weekend at home! And enjoyed it to the hilt! Oh! I so love it. My recipe is very different from yours, and it looks very different too, but then who cares as long as we are happy lapping it up!

Jhoomur aka JB said...

@ Goofy Mumma: Seriously kya?! One little matar and we have three different recipes. Will you share the recipe? Will try it out and put it up, duly attributed to you and linked to your blog.

@ Chandni: Same for you lady, if you wanna share the kala chana recipe...

chandni said...

of course! will send it on email :)

Mamma mia! Me a mamma? said...

The ghoogni with keema was a picnic favourite!

BTW, something for you on my blog, sort of like a promise fulfilled!


Swati said...

winter evenings....dinner of ghugni and toast and aloo ki bhujiya...divine...thats the stuff childhood memories are made of
btw....long time reader but first time commenter :)

Eve* aka JB said...

@ Swati --> Hello then! And yes, appreciate the effort. ;)

Eve* aka JB said...

Mamma Mia...saw that...will respond in detail soon

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe.

It tasted really good, I even dropped in some steamed corn.


Eve* aka JB said...

@ Sajiv: Thank-you for making the effort to tell me that. Always glad to be of service! :)