I’m still staggering under the number of sweets I’ve gorged on in the past few days. Diwali season was literally a ‘mithai season’ (sweets season) for me with sweets made at home, others’ homes and store-bought making their merry way into my system. I won’t insult your intelligence by insisting ‘I couldn’t say no’.
Nope, I could have but I am a greedy human being who loves her food too much and does not resist when someone holds a plate filled with goodies under her nose.
However, after that mega sweet binge, my taste buds are protesting even that measly teaspoon of demerara sugar that goes in my cuppa. “We want savoury! We want savoury!” they seem to be screaming.
So while I go back to my warm lemon water routine to clean the system, I’m hoping someone cooks me something spicy and wholesome this weekend. Hint! Hint! Hint!
The ‘mangsho ghughni’ or ‘mutton & dried peas curry’ is a must-have during the Bijoya visits. I did learn and cook this sumptuousness then and even clicked photographs. But then my camera – that I continue to struggle with – decided to play truant. There was an as-yet-unidentified issue with the photographs’ format that was sorted out only a few days ago by a tech-savvy friend.
And since my taste buds are craving the savoury at this point, I decided “now is the time to share”.
The ‘mangsho ghughni’ is a variation on the much-loved Kolkata street food ‘ghughni’ in which dried yellow peas are cooked in a masala gravy and served in disposable bowls made of leaves and a wooden spoon. In most such cases, the ghughni (pronounced ghh-oo-ghh-nee) is vegetarian.
In Bengali homes, though, you will find ghughni made with fried coconut, chunks of potatoes, minced mutton or chunks of succulent mutton. For those who cannot lay hands on mutton and still want the non-vegetarian variety, try lamb.
The key to the perfect ghughni, say experts, is that the peas should be well cooked and whole. As for consistency, aim for a thick gravy and not the slurpy, thin kind.
At home, this is often a snack or teamed with luchi, roti or eaten as a one-bowl meal too. Feel free to figure out what suits your mood. There aren’t very many rules for cooking, unlike baking which is a lot more technical.
Happy cooking and if you are making some of this mangsho ghughni this weekend, feel free to invite me. To stay updated on new recipes, follow (and tag) me on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. You could also subscribe and be a part of the mailing list.
- 1 cup Dried green peas (soaked overnight)
- 200 grams Mutton (cubed)
- 2 Onion (medium size)
- 4-5 Garlic cloves
- 1 Green chilli
- 1 Tomato (medium size)
- 2 tablespoon Mustard oil
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1 Dried red chilli
- 1 teaspoon Turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon Red chilli powder
- Salt (to taste)
- ½ teaspoon Sugar (optional)
- 2 cups Water (warm)
- 1½ tablespoon Ghee
- ½ teaspoon Garam Masala
- ½ cup Coriander leaves
Wash the dried green peas well and soak in a mixture of 2 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and leave overnight in a dry and cool place.
- In a grinder, pulse the onion, garlic cloves, green chilli and tomato into a fine paste.
- Heat mustard oil in a pressure cooker. Once the oil starts to smoke, add the bay leaves, dried red chilli, cooking until the whole spices crackle.
- Pour in the paste and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt to taste and chopped mutton pieces. Mix well, stirring frequently to stop the mutton from sticking to the bottom of your pan.
- Cook for 5 minutes and if using the sugar, add now. Continue cooking until the oil separates from the mutton-masala mixture.
- Pour in the warm water. Check the seasoning.
- Cover and cook on high flame until the pressure cooker releases steam the first time. Cook on low flame until the second whistle that indicates pressure release. Remove from flame and set aside, allowing the steam to release completely before opening the cooker.
- If needed, adjust the consistency with more warm water. Check the seasoning. Garnish with ghee, garam masala, coriander leaves and serve piping hot as a snack, a one-bowl meal, with steamed rice or roti.
- You can cook the peas and mutton pieces in separate containers before bringing it all together.
- To add fried coconut pieces: Fry around ½ cup of coconut pieces in some ghee till they are crisp and lightly browned. Add to the curry before you seal the pressure cooker.
- To add fried potatoes: Chop a medium-sized potato into cubes. Shallow fry these pieces in oil till semi-soft and golden at the edges. Add to the curry before sealing the pressure cooker.