Ghoti Gorom is most definitely the baap of all munchies, in my opinion.
(Of course there’s jhaal muri and badam makha, but Ghoti Gorom rules)
Remember reading about this experiment back in school? Where that scientist would ring a bell everytime before feeding a dog, the observation being the dog eventually salivating profusely at the very sound of the bell ?
That was the story of my life,(and still is) throughout childhood, when the jingling of the Ghoti Gorom walla’s bells would start sounding when he would enter my lane.
I would run upto my mom or dad (completely ignoring the annoyed look on my tutor’s face) and beg them to give me a rupee so that I could buy my fix for the evening. Of course I wasn’t allowed to eat Ghoti Gorom everyday. I was a very little girl when this magical snack made an entrance in my life. And our relationship is going steady till date! I used to call it “jhaal chhara” for some reason back then. I am not sure why.
Ghoti Gorom is basically salted chanachur mixed with onions, green chillies, and the star of the show, amra, (or Makok as they call it in Thailand) which is a very sour and tangy fruit. This is what gives the Ghoti Gorom that special X Factor! But because it is not always abundantly available, vendors replace it with raw green mango and grated carrot.
So what is so special about this snack? Why am I, or most of us crazy about it? Because it is the ideal on the go snack. It is
- Inexpensive : the minimum cost being just INR 5 !
- Light weight & easy to carry, because of the quantity.
- Easy to hold and eat with one hand while you hold on to your bag/phone/chhata with the other
- Doesn’t fill you up so you can always go back home and have bhaat.
- Absolutely delicious!
I don’t know much about the history or origin of this snack. But I do remember chatting up one day with the Ghoti Gorom guy at the Tollygunj:Chowrasta auto stand. He’s a friendly man, always smiling. So he told me that the Ghoti Gorom originated in Bongaon, North 24 Parganas, West Bengal and that’s where all the vendors get their raw material. From the vessels to the Jhuri Bhaja. Most Ghoti Gorom vendors come from Bongaon, Habra, Chandan Nagar, etc boarding local trains, and then they spread out across the city, treading through Calcutta’s streets and by lanes, selling their savory snack which is kept warm under burning coals. You will see these guys every where, from auto stands, bus terminals, to busy markets, your para and its surroundings. So whether you are waiting in line to board an auto, or strolling through Princep Ghat, attending coaching classes or just relaxing at home, that familiar jingle of the Ghoti Gorom bells will always catch you attention. Before you know it, you will find yourself reaching out for a ten rupee note to get your self a large cone of Ghoti Gorom. Which is amusing because I have bought this for as low as one rupee back in the day. Times change.
Its actually very easy to make at home, as the ingredients are few and easily available. But try as I might, I have never achieved that authentic taste. Maybe its the coals, or maybe its the vendor’s art. Nevertheless, here is the recipe.
You need :
Plain salted Chanachur. I got mine from the murir dokaan near my home.
One slice of Raw Green Mango(peeled). I couldn’t fine amra anywhere.
Finely very finely chop onions, green chillies, green mango and put everything together with the chanachur in a bowl. Add chaat masala, add some mustard oil if you wish to.