A crispy and deep-fried combination from Odisha’s breakfast table, Bara Ghuguni also serves as a popular street snack in the region.
Bara Ghuguni, for the unversed, are two separate dishes which are brought together to form an authentic Odia-style breakfast. Bara is a circular, deep-fried bite made from lentil batter. It is similar to the South Indian vada in preparation and shape. While the vada is usually paired with sambhar, a tangy condiment, Bara is clubbed with a delicious dried peas curry. Spicy and hot, the yellow peas curry is spruced up with tomatoes, onions and coriander leaves. Ghuguni is quite similar to the matar served in matar kulcha.
While weekdays are jam-packed with work and deadlines, it is the weekends when you can relax and laze around a bit. Early morning calls and work leave little or no time for anyone to indulge in an elaborate and rich breakfast. People often tend to skip breakfast too. However, during the weekends, when one has a lot of time to spare, cravings start to seep in. There are staple breakfast spreads or meal ideas which are specific to certain regions. For example, in Delhi, an ideal Sunday breakfast is usually Chole Bhature. Deep-fried bhaturas paired with a spicy chickpea dish are a popular street food in the city too. Similarly, in Odisha, Bara Ghuguni replaces Chole Bhature on the plate.
Interestingly, this humble breakfast which is usually eaten on weekends in Odia households, is also sold on the streets in the evening. Bara Ghuguni is served separately by the vendors on the street but people usually eat it together. Apart from ghuguni, even aloo dum and bara are offered as a combination in many places. A hot cup of tea on the side and a plate of bara and ghuguni make for a heavenly breakfast treat from Odisha.
To make the baras at home, you need to soak urad dal in water for a couple of hours and then drain the water to grind it with jeera, ginger and chillies. The thick and smooth paste is then mixed with some green chillies, onions and salt. This is left to ferment for a few hours post which small balls of the dough are shaped. The balls are slightly flattened and a hole is pierced in the centre. These bara balls are then deep-fried in pre-heated oil and taken out when they turn golden-brown.
While baras can be eaten alone, with a tomato ketchup on the side, it is best savoured with ghugunis. To make ghuguni, the yellow dried peas are soaked in water while a mixture of green chillies, onions and jeera is made in a pan with oil. To this, some turmeric powder, tomatoes and other spices are added. Then the peas are dunked in it and everything is combined well. Finally, the peas are garnished with sliced onions and a tangy tamarind chutney.
If you want to try ghuguni, here’s a delicious recipe that you can make at home.