Dabeli is a very popular Indian street-food item which originated in the state of Gujarat, in a place called Kutch. Hence the name, Kutchi Dabeli.
Even though it was first introduced in Gujarat, Dabeli is wildly enjoyed across India, especially in Maharashtrian cities of Mumbai and Pune. Funnily, I had never tasted Dabeli in my life, until we shifted to Pune for two years, shortly after getting married.
Hubby raved about Dabelis that he ate at his office sometimes during tea-time. So much so, that I demanded that he bring me this Dabeli, so that I can see what the hoopla is all about. When I saw it, it looked no different than a normal Aloo-tikki burger (Potato patty burger) There was some difference in the appearance but how much different could the taste really be. It was, after all potatoes based. Well, one bite, and then.. BOOM!
Oh, it was different…and delicious…and spicy….and sweet…and crunchy and so much more! Dabeli was not like anything I had eaten before. First of all, instead of a patty, the filling consisted of a spicy potato paste, which seemed to melt in the mouth into ultimate deliciousness. In addition, this little parcel had SO MANY LEVELS to it. There were peanuts and pomegranate and coconut and sev and sweet chutney and spicy chutney. It was amazing! After that time, hubby and I would never pass a street-side vendor that was selling Dabeli, without stopping the car and getting ourselves one each. Those moments comprise of some of the most fond memories that I have from our stay in Pune.
Nowdays, you get ready-to-use Dabeli Spice mix in the markets and you can use them instead of making your own. The key ingredients here, apart from the potato filling, are peanuts, pomegranate and the two chutneys. It just won’t be Dabeli without these.
So, give this explosive recipe a go friends, and enjoy!
For the Dabeli Spice Mix-
– 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
– 1 dried red chili
– 1 tsp coriander seeds
– 3 cloves
– 1/2 inch piece of cinnamon
– 2 whole black peppers
– 1/4 tsp asafoetida (hing)
For the garlic chutney-
– 2-3 dried red chillies, soaked overnight in water
– 6-7 garlic cloves
– Some lemon, juice
– ½ tsp sugar
– Salt to taste
– Water as required
For the potato Filling-
– 1 cup potatoes, boiled and mashed
– 1.5 tsp prepared dabeli spice mix
– 1 tbsp tamarind chutney
– About ½ cup water
– Salt to taste
– 2 tbsn oil
Other ingredients needed-
– 4 buns
– Some butter
– Some tamarind sweet chutney
– Some roasted and crushed peanuts
– Fine nylon sev
– Pomegranate seeds
– 1 small onion, finely chopped
– Some fresh, grated coconut
– Fresh and chopped coriander leaves
– Let us make the Dabeli spice mix first: In a frying pan, roast all the dry ingredients except asafoetida on the medium-low heat for a couple of minutes or until spices become fragnant. Add your hing just a few seconds before you switch off the gas. Cool and grind the spices to fine dry powder. Your Dabeli spice mix is ready!
– Let us make the garlic chutney now: In a small blender, take your soaked red chillies, garlic cloves, salt, sugar and lemon juice. Add water as required and blend to smooth, thick paste. Set aside.
– For the spicy peanuts: Take your peanuts in a small bowl. Add ½ tsp of your dabeli mix, some salt, sugar and a little melted butter (Adjust the proportions according to your preference, especially the spice mix) Mix well and set aside.
– For making the potato filling for dabeli, heat the oil in a pan, on a medium heat.
– Add your dry spice mix and salt. Mix well and fry for around half a minute.
– Add your mashed potatoes and tamarind chutney. Combine well with the tempering.
– Add in your water in two parts, while stirring the potato mixture till it is well combined with the water. Cook on low heat until you get a consistency of thick paste. Switch off the flame.
-Transfer your potatoes paste to a plate and with a spatula, flatten and arrange it in a smooth, flat layer.
– Add more layers one by one all over the potatoes, with your chopped onion, spicy peanuts, coriander leaves, grated coconut and pomegranate seeds. Set aside.
– Let us assemble our dabeli now. Firstly, cut the bun in between, such that it still remains intact at the end point.
– Spread your garlic chutney on one side of the bun and tamarind chutney on the other side.
– Sprinkle some chopped onions onto the bottom slice.
– Slice a potion of the layered up dabeli stuffing from the plate, such that you get all the layers in it and spread it evenly on the bun. Place the upper side over the lower one, to close your dabeli. Take some potato filling in your hand and paste it on all three sides of your bun, so that they form sort of walls to seal the lower and upper sides of the bun.
– In a frying pan, toast your dabeli on all sides with some butter.
– Lastly, while it is still hot, roll your dabeli over sev and more spicy peanuts, covering the potato edges.
– Serve hot with the chutney of your choice or as it is. Enjoy!
– If you want, you can also add onions to your potato filling. Just add finely chopped onions after sauteing the spice mix and cook until they turn pink and translucent.
– You can use store bought dabeli spice mix or garlic chutney in this recipe to make things easier and quicker!
– Use the dried chillies that are not too spicy. If you do use spicy chillies, just adjust the quantity of the spice mix to be used in various stages, according to your taste and amount of spicyness preferred.