Dabeli – from the Kutch region of Gujarat to the streets of Mumbai. What a journey of a delicious yet unassuming food, which mysteriously travelled from one place and became one with another place too.
It’s sold on carts on the streets of Mumbai and Gujarat and people throng to eat one. The time of the day does not matter. But what does matter is that you should have inside information which cart sells the most delicious ones. They all make good dabelis but there are some that make them a tad bit better and the regulars at these street side vendor carts know that very well.
My friends “N” and “A” had brought some readymade Dabeli masala (spice mix for making Dabeli ) and Pav ( bread buns) from their trip to Chicago. We all merrily decided to try and make Dabeli one of these days – after all we all do crave a street food or two once a while. Things caught on with us and we never got together to make Dabeli. But I wanted some Dabeli – The arrow had been shot and there was NO turning back. I could even imagine myself eating and enjoying it. For a day or two that was all “he” and “me” could think about.
That is when some other friends came to rescue. This recipe is from the hearts and kitchens of Surangi, Priti, Manisha. I had absolutely no idea about what all goes into making Dabeli and these three wonderful friends guided me through the process. The best part about this recipe is that I got to make the dish from scratch- just the way I like to cook. In case you would like a short cut – do use a readymade pack of Dabeli masala.
The journey of Dabeli from their Kitchens into mine and now on to yours :
- 2 – 3 Tbs Dabeli Masala (recipe and ingredient list follows)
- ½ C Spicy peanuts (recipe and ingredient list follows)
- ¼ C garlic chilli chutney (recipe and ingredient list follows)
- ¼ C tamarind chutney
- ½ C Pomegranates
- 6 Sandwich buns ( I used whole grain )
- 2 C Boiled and mashed potatoes
- ¼ C chopped cilantro
- Butter as needed and liked~
For making Dabeli Masala:
- 1Tbs coriander seeds
- 1Tbs cumin seeds
- ½ Tsp fennel seeds
- 3-4 dry red chillies or use chilli powder as per taste
- ½ in cinnamon
- 3-4 cloves
- 1 black cardamom (seeds only)
- ¼ tsp Asafetida
- 1tsp amchur powder
- ¼ tsp Ginger powder
- A pinch of sugar
- Salt as per taste
Take a non stick pan and put it on medium low heat. Put in the coriander, cumin, fennel, dry red chilies (if using), cinnamon and cloves. Now roast them for a few minutes until you can smell the aroma coming out from these. We don’t need to blacken the spice. Just dry roast them until they are aromatic.
Grind these into a fine powder including the black cardamom seeds. Add the sugar, salt, asafetida, amchur, ginger powder and mix it all together. Your Dabeli Masala is ready. Store in an airtight container.
Making the spicy peanuts
- ¼ tsp red chilli powder
- Black salt
- Amchur powder
- Dash of sugar
- Dry roast the peanuts on medium low heat. Once roasted allow them to cool and then rub them between your palms to release and winnow out the outer covering.
- In a non stick pan, take a tsp of oil and toss in the peanuts. Add the chilli powder, amchur powder, salt and black salt.
- Stir and let the spices cover the peanuts. Add in the sugar. Mix and keep aside.
Chilli and garlic chutney
- 8 dry red chilies soaked in ¼ C of water
- 3 tbs of chopped garlic.
Blend the chili and garlic together with as little water as possible. Vary the quantity of the chili or garlic as per your taste.
OR for a drier chutney –
- 8 dry red chillies
- 2 big cloves of garlic
grind them together until a fine consistency is achieved
Preparing the potato filling:
- Heat some butter or oil and add dabeli masala,
- Fry it for a sec until the spices release an aroma.
- Mix the mashed potato. Add salt to taste, and the cilantro. You may also use some lemon juice if you like.
- And now the fun part – the assembly line
- Spread the mashed potato on a plate. Top it with the peanuts and then add on the pomegranate And some cilantro
- Cut the buns into two
- Spread some red chilli garlic chutney on the inside of one part of bun.
- Heat a pan and add some butter.
- Put the buns, garlic chutney side down on the butter and roast for a few seconds.
- Add the potato filling along with nuts and fruit. Top it with some tamarind chutney.
- Apply butter on the second half of the bun and pan roast it for a few seconds.
- Cover the buns with their second halves and press down on the bun.
You can also add sliced or finely chopped onion to the filling when assembling the dabeli.
Some people like an addition of cilantro chutney and Nylon sev.