Time flies by so fast. It seems just like yesterday when I was in school. Its strange that a Bengali girl’s Ghugni christening happened behind the Green Gates of a convent school.
Those are the earliest memories of me as a six-year-old running like cattle on cue with the bell of the recess at 11:45 AM to the lunch shed. Why? To get a ladle-full of piping hot Ghugni from Goat Sister! Nobody knew her real name. We all called this aging nun *Goat Sister*, probably because she was predisposed with chin hair. And all that a leaf-plate full of happiness cost us then was 25 paisa.
But soon the lunch hour ritual in our school ended ‘coz Goat Sister passed on. RIP dear Sister and your lip-smacking ghugni. (I am eager to meet you in Ghugni Heaven.)
My next memorable ghugni experience came along with an idli-sambar wala in our colony who sometimes came in with ghugni on his rickety bicycle. Simmered boiled yellow peas, garnished with spices and onions. Much like my Mum’s Grandmother- Nani’s.
Nani’s ghugni was called Sanatan’er Ghugni, probably because she made it just the way some ghugni wala in Calcutta called Sanatan did!
Sanatan’er Ghugni has remained with me all these years. Replicating it is also pretty easy, considering recollecting the recipe is just a phone call away. My Mum is very reliable and doesn’t act pricey when I ask her to patiently run me through (and repeat) the ingredients, process, cook time, et. al. I think Mum also feels immensely happy sometimes that she can proxy-cook for me though only with these traditional recipes from so far away.
Here is how to make Sanatan’er Ghugni:
2 cups yellow peas, soaked overnight
2 medium size potatoes cut in cubes
2-3 tablespoon fresh coconut chopped into small pieces
1 tablespoon ginger paste
Few green chilies slit lengthwise
1 tablespoon mustard oil
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon red chili powder
Pinch of baking soda
For the garnish:
2-3 tablespoon finely chopped coriander
Few green chilies finely chopped
1 small onion finely chopped
Bhaja masala (cumin seeds and coriander seeds dry roasted and coarsely ground)
Tamarind-jaggery chutneyBoil the yellow peas with turmeric powder, chili powder, slit green chilies, ginger paste, chopped coconut, mustard oil, baking soda, salt and sugar. Mid-way add the diced potatoes.
Cook the peas till they are mushy and get squished between your fingers. The water in it should also evaporate leaving a thick consistency to the peas, potato and coconut. Adjust the seasoning of salt and sugar, it should be a good balance of both.Garnish the ghugni with chopped coriander leaves, green chilies, onions, a drizzle of the chutney and the bhaja masala. Serve while its still warm.
Mildly flavored yet bursting with memories. God Bless Goat Sister, Nani and Sanatan for leaving behind a legacy of Ghugni for us.
I can now die happy, for I have recorded what belongs to them and is priceless…
For everything else, there is Google!