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New Year’s Ghugni

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Apparently, it’s a popular tiffin item in the city where many of my family still call home. Ghugni’s typically made from whole yellow peas, and garnished with raw red onion, cilantro, and cross sections of hot peppers.

I grew up with it as just another daal that my mom made primarily in the winter – though her recipe called for channa daal instead of whole yellow peas. Canned Garbanzo beans were just more readily available in grocery stores of the south/central U.S. of the nineties.

Even though her recipe morphed from minute, relished bites to planned-over batches, she kept that spirit of street food for her ghugni: it was always a treat to eat, rarely made more often like her standard daals. Until, of course, she decided that it was another standard in her daal repertoire. Though the family’s not vegetarian, there were days we chose to eschew meat – and there were always the afternoon snacks that we indulged in, imagining the street vendor’s cart that my dad always stopped by on his way home from college.

At some point, my mother decided to try her hand at making ghugni with black-eyed peas – I remember it as evolving one New Year’s Day, when my dad wanted black-eyed peas and my mother decided to put her own stamp on tradition.

Behind that story is a salient detail: the pound bags of dried beans were quite likely on sale – particularly the black-eyed peas, given the proximity to the holiday. I’m sure my father, in his great wisdom, picked up more bags than my mother would want. And since it was the dead of winter, my mother made her usual filling fare of ghugni, simply substituting one pea for another, and making a large enough batch to last the week.

I just finished eating the batch I made for New Year’s.
And yikes, I forgot to take any pictures.
And no, I usually don’t make it more than once a year, for New Year’s.

My planned over pot of ghugni lasted because I keep forgetting that I’m feeding a couple of adults, and possibly a couple of New Year’s house guests. Even with the enticement of new flavors (without too much heat) for their palate, I haven’t met too many people who are eager for a dish of black-eyed peas, even if served with naan.

A shame. Or perhaps not. More for me.

Images by Kaberi Kar Gupta and Joana Petrova.

Written by marginfades

January 11, 2012 at 5:00 am

Posted in Food

Tagged with , ,

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