Ghugni – Bihari Potato-pea gravy

Today’s special is Bihari Ghugni, a warm, hearty potato-pea gravy that’s easy to make and fantastic with pooris or rotis. This is the way our canteen Bhaiya makes Ghugni and he is from Bihar. Many a days we’ve been wrenched from our excel files by the ghugni aroma that wafts up from the ground floor kitchen to our cubicles on the third floor. We love watching Bhaiya in action especially when he’s making samosas. Once he even let me try making a samosa and I just about finished making the samosa when our boss arrived. I innocently walked out of the kitchen hoping he’d not seen what I was doing. He’d deport me to the canteen kitchen permanently (which I wouldn’t really mind).

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I was surprised that the ghugni was as simple as he said it was. But the taste is awesome. What’s more, it’s a one-pot pressure cooker gravy that’s quick and easy. Once you dump ‘em all in the pressure cooker, your job is done. While deciding the dishes for this state-wise menu, my most important criterion was that it should meld with our everyday cooking (as much as possible) and my family should be able to enjoy it. This ghugni is all that and more. The authentic version on the internet seems to use black gram but I am happy with the version that my canteen friend gave me.

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I’d lost my only chance of visiting Bihar when I didn’t make it for a Bihari friend’s wedding in Bihar. I wish I had. Bihar sounds like just the place for a hungry food blogger – litti chokha, kebabs, Rabri Jalebis.. Oh my, love it all.

Prep time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 25 mins
Serves: 4-5


Dried green peas – 1-1/2 cups soaked overnight
Potatoes – 2 medium peeled and cubed
Onions – 2 medium chopped fine
Tomatoes – 2 medium pureed
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Red chilli powder – 1 – 1-1/2 tsp
Cumin powder – ½ tsp
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Garam Masala powder – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Water as necessary
Cinnamon stick – 1 inch piece
Green Cardamom – 2 whole
Oil – 2 tsp


1.      Rinse dried green peas in 2-3 changes of water. Soak overnight.

2.      Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add the cinnamon stick and green cardamom. When the cardamom is nice and plump, throw in the rest of the ingredients. Add the chopped onions, ginger garlic paste, soaked peas, cubed potatoes, tomato puree and the spice powders and salt. Add sufficient water – about 3 to 3-1/2 cups. Mix well. Taste the water and adjust seasoning.

3.      Cover and pressure cook for 20 minutes or till the peas are soft and mushy. Serve hot with pooris or rotis.

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  1. Padmapriya Pugazhendhi says:

    Wow it exactly looks like our canteen bhaiys’s ghugni. Seeing this delicious flavourful curry and soft crispy poori makes me think of those evening times we used to relish this combo amidst the mosquito bite 🙂

  2. Usha Rao says:

    haha, you might not mind being deported to the kitchen but you might be in trouble if he gives you two jobs. Ghugni sounds and looks like a simple delicious dish.

  3. Meenu says:

    Rubri Jelabi sounds like the height of decadence! This gugni is sooooo drool worthy. Also, what to do if you live with a partner who wants pooris with only the traditional south Indian Aloo bhaji?! 🙁

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