Tuesday, October 9, 2018

ghugni recipe #bloggersdurgapujo, a vegetarian Bengali recipe

Ghugni :a step by step pictorial recipe.

ghugni : Durga pujo staple at home

If there is one food I associate with Durga Pujo , other than pujor bhog ofcourse, it is Ghugni.

There are at least five good reasons why Ghugni should be on your menu; it a vegetarian dish, it is made from simple pantry staples like dried white peas, it is super tasty , it’s a great party snack in canapés, it is an authentic Bengali street food dish so you can boast to friends that you know a Bengali dish which doesn’t involve fish.

But, I am getting ahead of myself. I need to tell you why I love ghugni so much.

During Durga Pujo we binge on a lot of non veg. we love to eat out from the numerous stalls, and its an unending menu of kosha mangsho, chicken roll, chicken lollypop, chowmien, and prawn chops.

But, on Ashthami we fast.

And then after pushpanjali prayers, we eat fruits.

And then the rest of the day we eat vegetarian.

That’s the only part my dad has ever been strict about; no non veg on Ashthami. Now , given that the street stalls are all teeming with mouth watering delicacies. It made sense that we eat at home, before we ventured into Pandal hopping on Ashthami.

Thus, came the ghugni eating prior to setting out from home.

We would eat a bowl of ghugni chaat, before we set out for our evening pujo protima outings. For lunch we had bhog, which is always veg, and we were sorted, but for dinner… we always had ghugni.

And that was not the end of it.

On Vijaya Dashami, which is Dussehra in most parts of India, we have guests home after Visarjan. And that day we have lots of amazing food at home, which does include mutton and also an elaborate table of Bengali Mishti’s ranging from rosogulla, to kheer kadam. But we also have Ghugni. Why? Because it pairs really well with indian food, its vegetarian and we might have vegetarian friends over for food, and also because ghugni is an anytime snack. Someone comes home in the afternoon, or early evening, or late in the night, ghugni practically can be had anytime.

That’s not all!

we even had it for people visitingus for Diwali aswell . It has always been our fool proof 'guests dish' for vegetarian guests, and people who love non-veg, relish it too.

Ghugni is a popular street side food as well, and you can get it on your train journeys in the Bengal UP trains.

And that’s why I love it; street food, which is also travel food, which is also festive food, which is also ‘guests at home ‘food. How does one dish go from so many different occasions? How is it so well accepted from the hands of a street side vendor, as well, as from the hands of a homely  mum?

This is the wonder of this simple staple. How to make ghugni you ask ? 

Well, here is the recipe. 

Its pictorial , so just follow along

1.       Take dried white peas/ vatana and soak in water over night.

2.       Boil the overnight soaked peas with a little salt, and a little hing.

3.       Grate one onion, one tomato, and a teaspoon worth of garlic and ginger.

4.       Keep ½ teaspoon of turmeric , red chilli powder, jeera powder, coriander seed powder, garam masala powder. Ready.

5.       Now fry the onion in some oil first.

6.       Then add the ginger garlic paste.

7.       Then add the tomato, only once the onion and ginger garlic are cooked well.

8.       Add all the powder masalas, and cook the onion-tomato paste till it is dangerously deliciously dark.

9.       Then add the creamy boiled peas.

10.   Now add salt to taste

11.   Add pulp of tamarind (soak tamarinds in some hot water) use said water along with the tamarind pulp.

12.   Let cook on low heat, until most of the water evaporates.

13.   You can either serve it quite dry , or a little watery if you plan to have it with chapatti or rice. We generally have it without any accompaniment.
14.   Fry off some slivers of coconut in coconut oil. To add that textural crunch, and milt sweetness of coconuts.

Ghugni is spicy, salty, tangy, and creamy from the boiled peas, and crunchy from the fried coconuts and the toppings, and just served with chopped onion, or crunchy sev, and even pomegranates if you feel like, add roasted peanuts if you feeling like it, squeeze of lime if you don’t mind and extra tang, sprinkle chopped coriander and mint on top to make it look pretty and more herby.
don't hesitate to substitute dry mangoes for the tamarind, or chaat masala, or use pre soaked tinned peas, or coconut flakes instead of pieces, in short, play around, and make this recipe your own.

Ghugni is what will make all your vegetarian dinners a hit, you never again need to worry what to serve your vegetarian friends.

Ghugni : bengali vegetarian dish with white peas.

At home , I started making it for special occasions only. and then it escalated to us having ghugni every week. I am guessing you will be making this every week as well. it's that simple, fast and addictive. 

This year too, like last year, I am celebrating Durga pujo, not just with my family, but my blogging family aswell. Last year we were 4 bloggers participating, and this year we are 19 bloggers strong, sharing Pujo memories, nostalgia, pujo from around the country, fashion, food and everything in between.
Come join us by following the hashtag #bloggersdurgapujo on Fb, twitter, and instagram. and if you havent already to join my bengali language mini crash course by searching #bongtalk on facebook and instagram. :)

List of Participating Bloggers
Dr. Amrita Basu (Misra): https://healthwealthbridge.com
Anupriya Gupta: https:////www.mommytincture
Indrani Ghose: https://isharethese.com
Kapila Rattan Bhowmik: www.everylittlethinghappiness.com
Dr. Kuheli Bhattacharya: http://www.thefoodietrails.com
Paromita Biswas: https://goodtimestrails.com
Sayanti Mahapatra: http://bingeonbasics.com
Shalini Magdel Das: http://lostloveadventure.com/
Shruti Dugar: http://webofwords.in
Sonia Chatterjee: https://soniasmusings.com

Monday, September 3, 2018

Goa walking food tour : Goa on my Plate

When I first started The Foodietrails Blog, it was to get to experience a place and its culture and history, through the food that the people of that place cooked, served and enjoyed. And to me nothing says ‘experience a place’ like walking the streets and eating local cuisine, aka a food walking tour.
For years I had contemplated starting my own food walking tour, and have written blogs on the same to help tourists and travellers get more of a Goan experience on their travels.

And thus, I started my own Food and history walking tour in Goa , called ‘ Goa on my plate.’

Goa, unlike rest of India was never under British Rule, the Portuguese occupied Goa for over 4 centuries and another difference is that unlike rest of India which considers their occupants (Britishers) as unwelcome Rulers, many in Goa consider the Portuguese as ancestors. 

For a lot of Goans this would be common knowledge, but for me it had been utterly fascinating and I was amazed at the twists of fate that had led to the Portuguese rule of Goa from 1510 to 1961. As an outsider who is now an insider, I have a unique outlook to what Goa means to me.

Me in my official Goa on my plate T shirt

The team from Thinkin'Culture outside Mary Immaculate Church , Panjim

I was delighted and honoured to have been able to take a group of ten travellers from Nagpur in a food walking tour of Panjim, seeing some local street graffiti, some historical architectural monuments, and also eat some super local food.

 From physically taking a large group of travellers through the city, showing them places of historical importance (like where the Portuguese landed for the first time in India, or where the famous battles were fought) , to taking into account all the dietary specifications of the people ( most of them ate no egg, even in cakes or desserts). A food walk was an immersive experience not just for the guests , but for me too.

Our meeting point was the Iconic Panjim Church or the ‘Our Lady of Immaculate conception ‘ church. But to my amazement, these guys had never heard or seen the church! They had only known Panjim for the Casinos !

The chapel turned Church has served as an Iconic backdrop for many Bollywood films (eg, Josh), and can be seen on many fridge magnets and keychains, but we went into the strategic location of the church, and the significance of the bell, which came from another historical church , the St Augustine’s church, which now lies in Ruins, but even the ruins have played scenic roles in films like Singham and others. The local touch was my telling them about the live naitevety scenes on the eve of Christmas with goats, Cows , ducks et al and last year the naitevety scene was created out of plastic bottles and plastic wastes.

Other interesting facts that we shared were;
Did you know that Vasco Da Gama had never come to – Vasco da Gama the port city in Goa ?
Did you know that Vasco Da Gama had actually never been to Goa ?
Did you know that Goa was never ordered to be captured by the King of Portugal, King Manuel, he had sent the Governor to capture only Hormuz , Aden and Malacca on his voyage?
 And that when Governor of Portuguese state of India, Afonso de Albuquerque , had captured Goa, and for a short while afterwards, King Manuel had even contemplated giving up the colony of Goa back to the Indian subcontinent ?

participants enjoying the local Goan flavours

Bespoke Food walking tours : Goa on my Plate

selfies with the Nagpur team from Thinkin'Culture

We walked along the some of the most colourful lanes in Goa, the Fontainhas area, and at in Iconic Goan Cafes serving local food inspired by the Portuguese, as well as neighbouring areas of Mangalore. We visited quaint cafes like the 31 January Confeitaria, the iconic Café Central, and the ever busy and almost a century old Café Bhonsle.

We discovered the graffiti work curated by Haneef Quereshi and his team from Street-art, St-art, India. The theme of most of their art work is how Goans perceive tourists and how tourists in turn perceive Goans, and it seemed apt since we were on a journey of discovery ourselves.

We walked down roads with historically significant dates like 18 june Road, and 31 January road, and we walked past places with interesting pasts like the Panjim General post office, and the Adil Shah Palace. And I shared how the Portuguese had indeed sailed in on their Caravelas into the river Mandovi and the summer palace of Adil shah was the first and the most important area captured by the Portuguese. It was here on these very streets that the Portuguese decided to fill the streets with chillies and hot spices that they were carrying as cargo, so that the enemy soldiers could not cross the spice laden streets.

The team from Thinkin'Cuture discovering colourful lanes in Fontainhas

The famed Goan Almi Mushroon, each leaf filled with Mushrooms were for Rs 400, these local wild mushrooms are like the Indian Truffle

Discovering Local wall art in Panjim, with Goa on my Plate
 We ended our walk with the eggless dessert Serradura –translated into Saw dust Pudding because of the crushed Marie biscuits that are sprinkled on top of the condensed milk pudding, giving it a saw-dust like appearance. The Serradura was infact a popular dessert of Macau , which too was a Portuguese colony. And you can see the travel of influence through the food story here. There are many desserts which are famous and prevalent in Goa, and these make use of egg yolks, such as the Bebinca and Pasteis de nata. The use of egg yolks in desserts, have an interesting back story as well.

Since we didn’t have too many non-vegetarians on this leg of the food walk, we went to just one stop for the inimitable street food of Goa, the Ros omelette, which serves up a fresh fluffy omelette doused in spicy chicken Xacuti curry and topped with onions and lime wedges. Chicken and beef cutlets, mutton croquettes, prawn rissois and pork mince pies are other non-vegetarian Goan snacks that I hope to introduce to on other food walks.


Ros omlette , with Goa on my plate

In Forensic medicine we call it Locard’s principle, that when two objects come in contact, there is an exchange. In forensic medicine it is the trace remains of blood and fingerprints, and when people meet it is often an exchange of ideas and when cultures and countries meet there is an exchange in trade, spices, food trends. With the food walk, I hope to be able to educate, entertain and inspire people to experience Goa like they haven’t before. Locard’s principle also suggests that the exchange is never one way, and by taking my love of food from an online to an offline audience, I myself have experienced Goa in a unique way, through the eyes of a traveller.

If you wish to join me on a food walk around panjim email me on :


Thursday, June 21, 2018

The fantastic 5 Sunday brunch at Park Hyatt Goa

This father’s day, we made it a family event at the fantastic five brunch at Park Hyatt and I realised it was the perfect option for families.

The Hum Paanch series at Park Hyatt Goa, for Rs 1400 for a non alcoholic brunch, a treat for the entire family

The chicken cutlet pao got a five star upgrade, with chicken kismoor, lime wedges and lasun pickle
 Our family is a melting pot of food preferences ; while my mother in law is all about experimenting and experiencing anything that she doesn’t cook at home, my father –in- law prefers the home cooked Goan staples of rice and curries. The husband is keen on healthy grills and dry meats, I am all about the indulgent desserts and cheese boards.

So when Park Hyatt Resor and Spa announced the launch of their 5 distinct culinary experiences, in the form of their 5 speciality restaurants coming together under one massive epicurean experience, I knew it was the perfect fit for the two fathers for father’s day.
My mother-in law eating fancy exotic cuisine, which she got to try for the first time at the buffet, love to giove them new experiences. and my father-in law happy to have the simple Goan red rice and Goan baked breads and the familiar Goan cuisine

The brunch is not your average, multi cuisine spread, or even dining in a multi cuisine restaurant, because this is about 5 distinct kitchens, 5 separate teams taking care of the cuisine they do best.
And so Casa Sarita, the Goan Soeciality restaurant morphed into the Goan Priestess, Da Luigi the Italian speciality restaurant morphed into the Italian Empress, Palms the sea facing grill speciality restaurant came dressed as the sea food emperor, Masala the Indian speciality restaurant became the Indian Magician, and village café turned into the street style star.

couldnt get enough of tthese white chocolate and almond rocks topped with a sugar coated rose petal, which my son thought were jujubes :)

The cheese and charcuterie grazing platter, a sight to behold.
The gorgeous Park Hyatt property, which offered father's day games art art work for kids, play area and bonding activities and plenty of open spaces to run around.

The customary mom and baby cup of cheers with our tea cups.

couldn't help posing with this beauty

Each of these desserts signified us as a family, the flamboyant blue and white with a base of brownie is me, the clean classic chocolate bar , the husband, and that adorable tart which stole my heart has got to be the apple of my eye, my son.

The fantastic five brunch is a first of it's kind concept meal by the resort, and I think it's a fantastic move, in that it showcases each of the speciality offerings in a stellar manner. we loved the prawns grilled on open flame, the chicken dimsums , and the tava mutton in this monsoon season, and judging by the fantastic turnout of people, this concept biffet lunch is going to be a sizzling success all through the rainy season.
If you cant make up your mind if you want fish curry rice, or a grilled chcken and roast potato kind of meal, or a wok tossed noodles and creamy pasta dish, then decide to have it all at the newly launched sunday brunch for the monsoon season at Park Hyatt. do call in advance and book your tables though, because this one is extremely popular . 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Cafes of Goa : Monsoon Trail

So you plan on visiting Goa in the rains, but still want to visit quirky and cute places, with instagrammable food, which is good for you, also meet other people, collaborate on projects and soak in the artsy vibe of Goa in the monsoons.

This post is just for you!

Three cafés which are open during the monsoon season in Goa, where you can come in to dry yourself off, do a spot of shopping even, eat some gorgeous food, and who knows even make a local connection .

The project Café , Assagao.

Imagine a 130 year old Portuguese Villa housing a lifestyle experience space, with Food, design, retail, and gallery space. The restaurant/café within this art gallery like space, serves up some vibrant and fresh salad, like the fig and blue cheese crumble salad we loved, and also south east Asian cuisine like a thai green curry. But we loved their rendition of Serradura the most, with dessicated coconut crumble, and creamy biscuity bits to add to the wonder.
The Project Cafe , Goa 

What’s exciting? The outdoor café which is inspired by Bismarckia leaves, notice the leaves marked on the concrete tables, and a giant mural on the wall of the tree as well.
watercolour workshop with Allen Shaw, the project cafe Goa

The famed blue cheese and fig salad , worth the hype , the project cafe , Goa

Millennial travel goals: The project café loves to collaborate with skilled travellers, and we have attended a pop up with a travelling chef couple from Lisbon, as well as a watercolour travel journalist from Berlin, and a visit to project café could lead to connecting with interesting people from around the world doing interesting things on the sphere of art, design , food and more. Infact you can reach out to them if YOU want to do a workshop or an exhibition as well.
Dinner Pop up with Travelling chefs Tony Santos and Marta fernandes from Lisbon, The Project Cafe , Goa

Artjuna, Anjuna.
A café restaurant which believes in Organic food, enough to not serve any chicken or meats, because they may not be sourced from organic farms. But trust me, you don’t miss the meats. They do serve fish, and the tuna and avocado salad is amazing. Between instagram worthy smoothies and shakes, and fresh organic sourdough bread and gluten free banana cakes, there is much to choose from.

Artjuna, Anjuna, Cafes of Goa. Of Mezze platters and instagrammable salads

when smoothies and salads are bae, head to Artjuna, Anjuna
treehouse playarea, artjuna
 Whats exciting?  All through monsoon, you have movie nights, and also there is a lovely book library overflowing with books, so that you can cozy up in a chair with a book, and watch as the rain washes of the beautiful green trees in the area. Kids also have a tree climbing play area, and a place to enjoy nature and the monsoons while you can keep a watchful eye from your cozy corner.

Millennial travel goals: A large Yoga and pilates area, a mixed martial arts area, a shop filled with quaint India inspired curios and jewellery, which is all very affordably priced to take back as souvenirs from your travels. Most of the belts and handbags are made in house, and are all unique bespoke pieces.

The book library, artjuna, Anjuna

Shakshuka , at Artjuna, Goa

Natti’s Naturals, Anjuna.

A white Goan Potuguese home, nestled in a wooded garden, is home to one of the more popular natural food movements in North Goa.  A menu teaming with breakfast bowls and healthy superfoods, like Kombucha, acai berry smoothies, granola trail mixes, not to mention lactose free nut milks, and gluten free desserts which will have you weak at the knees, but healthy in heart and gut.

Natti's naturals, Goa

ecofriendly soaps, using natural soap berry, reetha

quinoa salad, acai berry smoothie bowl, kombucha , hummus falafel mezze platter.
all so instagramable and all so deliciously good for you. 
What’s exciting? An Natural food  store, which even has environment friendly detergent soaps for your clothes and home washing purposes. Throwback to Indian ethos of care and nurture, they store and sell, unique health foods like apple cider vinegar from Himachali apples, and organic indian spices an oils and organic milled grains, apart from your nuts , and granola trail mixes.

Millennial travel Goals : At the time we went, young Caroline from Canada was painting a magical garden of cornflowers and dragonflies on the dried leaf walls of Natti’s Natural. A chance to work and share your skill, while you travel and experience a country , is an exciting prospect to the millennial traveller. And we loved connecting and interacting with this effervescent soul who was visiting India to learn Yoga.

Millenial traveller , Caroline, with her artowork in the background, Natti's Naturals

Gluten free chocolate cake and Banana cake with organic honey, Natti's Naturals

Monsoons are the perfect time to travel to Goa if you are looking for the offbeat, the economical, the slow paced travel. If you are looking for an immersive travel and food experience , then I hope this post helps you get the most from your #monsoonsingoa experience, also if you are a local Goan, then this would be the best time for you to get to know the hippy chic travel lifestyle of the world travellers and what makes Goa such a hotspot for millennial travellers.

If you liked this post, I would really appreciate that you shared it on your social media.
Also follow me on Instagram  @thefoodietrails on facebook page @thefoodietrails and if you do visit the places do tag me and use the hashtag #goafoodietrails 

Want to read more?

Read the foodies guide to the Goan Fish Thali
Read the three Best times to visit Goa