Ghughni/White Peas cooked with Tomatoes, Onion, Potato, Coconut, Coriander, Cumin into a lip-smacking Curry paired with Focaccia with Rosemary n Nigella seeds
Ghughni is childhood flavored with beautiful spices, coconut, tomatoes, tamarind water n a dash of lime n puffed up Luchis or slices of white charred bread slices. Now that is a taste of culinary heaven and I wanna go back to that as often as I can because it takes me on two parallel journeys-one across the timeline to my childhood and another over the rainbow of flavors. Ghughni is a fantastic medley of white peas cooked with fried coconut slices, tomato, potatoes, red onion, a touch of ginger, garlic, a touch of red chili powder, turmeric, coriander n cumin, fresh coriander leaves- a huge depth of flavors as you are imagining- a great Eastern Indian Curry if you want to call it a curry, I will only call it ‘GHUGHNI’-spelled as ‘Ghoo-gh-nee’.
My mother makes it really well, there is something special n delicate about the way she cooks it that makes this lip-smacking good, as a kid whenever there was ghughni being made at home, I would grab some tamarind, put it in a tea cup n sprinkle a touch of pink rock salt, a tiny red chili powder, a touch of salt n some water to dilute it to prepare tamarind water, so when it was ready I would take a bowl of ghughni n add a dash of that tamarind water and woo! What a beautiful explosion of flavors. I would always share the tamarind water with my father who loved it, with my didi. And one thing I always love eating ghughni with are Luchis/Poori-deep-friend flat bread, another favorite is the white bread charred over direct flame.
In fact this combination is very popular till date across many eateries in Bengal, specially the small eateries across the streets, this combination is often called together ‘ghooghni-pawroti’, pawroti is the local name of a sliced white bread- so this is pretty special. Paranthas go really well too with ghooghni, another good combination is crispy puffed rice called ‘Muri/Murmure’- the puffed rice adds a new texture, their crunch combined with the soft melting white peas. Now-a-days when I go to the morning vegetable market I see the busy vegetable sellers having their breakfast with ghooghni n muri.
Focaccia is a flat bread risen by yeast, first of all the dough of a focaccia is a fantastic pizza base, the dough is little difficult to deal with because it is very sticky, so whenever you are making the dough I will always advise you to use a pastry scraper when making the dough, one hand to scrape the dough and another to do the kneading, because of the use of warm water in the beginning the dough gets very sticky. In fact you might feel helpless when the dough is almost hanging from your hands but just scrape it from the surface and keep kneading, don’t try to scrape it off your hands too much, scrape from your hands only when you feel you can’t knead anymore like this n carry on n trust me the dough will come together, the dough will be ready when it begins to appear smooth and it will stick a lot less in your hands which will take about 10 minutes of kneading, the final dough will still be soft n sticky but lot less and when you push a finger into the dough n take it off the dough will come up again.
Before the focaccia goes into the oven you sprinkle a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil on top of it which gives it a fruity finish and in my bread I have added nigella seeds/kalonji/kaalo jeere along with rosemary and the smell that came out of the oven I can’t even describe that to you in words. It was like unreal, subtle but so powerful that it made me sniff near the oven door, somehow the smell was so amazingly good it reminded me of an ice-cream which I have never eaten, I knew the bread was salty but that smell did steal my heart away and it kept reminding me of ice-cream.
Anyways I hope you make both these recipes together n experience beautiful flavors, so let me give you the recipe.
For The Recipe: You will need
So now the bread is ready and tell me the feeling when you smelled the air while the bread was in the oven, it was unreal wasn’t it? Now for the ghughni, prepare tamarind water or cut some lime, sprinkle a bit on top of the ghughni and scatter some fresh coconut slices all over and then cut the bread into stripes, now dip the bread and scoop out the ghughni on the bread and into your mouth. Soooo good…right! See I told you…n Bon Appétit!