Kachhi Dabeli – Popular Indian Street Food

Kachhi Dabeli is an extremely drool-worthy, highly popular snack. It is very commonly found on the streets of Mumbai.Ā Kachhi Dabeli consists of a potato filling that is stuffed inside a bun, garnished with spicy peanuts, onion and pomegranate seeds. It is spicy, tangy, sweet, crunchy, buttery; each bite is an explosion of flavour!

This recipe does not feature high on any health food meter, infact, it is indulgent. But with the holidays upon us, let’s pamper our taste buds and burn it off in the new year šŸ˜€

It has several components which need to be assembled and eaten. I have shared a how-to video on my Facebook page.

 

Kachhi Dabeli
Kachhi Dabeli

Most important in making the potato stuffing is the unique masala for the Kachhi Dabeli. It is available in Indian stores, but not readily. I prefer to make my own, this way it is on hand whenever I need it and the magic of freshly ground spices is beyond words.Ā Of course I will be sharing the recipeĀ with you šŸ™‚

In Melbourne, pomegranate is not easy to find in the markets, or it is not always of a great quality. So when I do find the sweet ones, they are certainly precious like rubies, and Dabeli is always on the menu. If you cannot find it though, replace with grapes, cherries or raisins.

Kachhi Dabeli
A drool-worthy plate!

 

Ingredients

  1. For the stuffing :
  • 2 potatoes – boiled, peeled, and mashed
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • Date and tamarind chutney (found in Indian stores)
  • 1 heaped tablespoon Dabeli masala * (recipe given below)
  • 2 tsp oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1-2 tsp red chili powder or to taste
  • 2 tsp chat masala/ dry mango powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • Chopped coriander for garnish
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  1. Dabeli masala (makes about a cup)
  • 4 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 4 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 3 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 10-12 cloves
  • 10-12 dry red chillies
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp Kashmiri chili powder
  1. Spicy peanuts
  • 1 cup roasted peanuts, with their skins removed
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1-2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chat masala or dry mango powder (optional)
  1. For garnish:
  • Chopped onion
  • Chopped coriander
  • Sev or bhujia (these are made of chickpea flour and very commonly used in Indian snacks. They resemble sprinkles but yellow in colour. Find them in the Indian aisle of your supermarket or in the Indian stores.)
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Date and tamarind chutney

Other ingredients:

  • Bun or pao
  • Butter for roasting
Kachhi Dabeli
Layers of garnish

Method

  • First let’s prepare the Dabeli masala. IĀ found the recipe for masala on the internet, sadly I do not remember the source.

In a pan, dry roast all the spices one after the other. Cool them and grind together to a coarse powder. Store in an airtight container. It stays put for over a year.

  • For the spicy peanuts, heat oil in the same pan. Add the peanuts and all the spices. Coat them well.
  • In another pan, heat oil to prepare the stuffing.
  • Add the ginger garlic paste and saute well.
  • Then add the Dabeli masala, and immediately add the onions. Add a little bit of the chopped coriander as well.
  • Add salt, date-tamarind chutney, and rest of the spices. Mix well.
  • Mash or grate the boiled potatoes and add. Mix well. Add half cup water and stir everything together.
  • Check the seasoning and adjust as per your liking.
  • Lastly, garnish with the remaining coriander and lemon juice.
Kachhi Dabeli
Who wouldn’t want to dive into this?

Assembling theĀ Kachhi Dabeli

  • In a deep dish, add the potato stuffing and smoothen it. Now garnish with the peanuts, pomegranate, onion, coriander and sev.
  • Put a skillet on medium heat.
  • Take a bun and make a slit, cutting it three quarters such that there is a pocket.
  • Smear the date and tamarind chutney on both sides.
  • Now add the stuffing, be generous with it but not so much that it spills out.
  • Again, top with some onion, coriander, pomegranate seeds and peanuts.
  • Put some butter on the skillet and roast the bun on both sides, while pressing it down.
  • Now just coat the filling that is oozing out, with more sev!

You can view the video for assembling the Dabeli on my Facebook page.

All packed and ready
All packed and ready

 

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Kachhi Dabeli - Popular Indian Street Food
Kachhi Dabeli – Popular Indian Street Food

 

Make this recipe ASAP and share your experience in the comments section below.

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Mushroom Matar Masala / Mushroom and Green Peas Curry

Indian food is synonymous with “curry” in the western world. Rightly so, we love our curries and we can never be overwhelmed with the abundance of spices in any Indian kitchen. Mushroom Matar Masala is aĀ semi-dry curry, where some lovely mushrooms and green peas are lathered in the right amount of spices.

My previous mushroom recipe, Goan Mushroom Xacuti recipe, had a bunch of spices completely different from the ones I have used in this recipe. The green peas, albeit frozen, give a dash of freshness to the curry. And I have added some fresh fenugreek leaves, another ingredient I have grown too fond of lately.

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Mushroom Matar Masala
Mushroom Matar Masala

Mushrooms are high in protein and unbelievably low in calories.Ā Fenugreek has a stream of health benefits as well. This curry does not require any dairy additives. All in all, this is a low-calorie, vegan recipe packed with ample nutritive value, and highly suitable for diabetics and weight-watchers.

The mushroom matar masala, along with some hot chapati (Indian flatbread), was our Sunday lunch, which got gobbled down in a jiffy, in contrast to the usual lazy Sunday lunches. And food was ready before time, so I would not credit the hunger pangs. The award goes to…… Oh Modesty where are thou!! šŸ˜‰

Mushroom Matar Masala
Mushroom Matar Masala

What to prepare before you get cooking

  • I used button mushrooms, and these were really tiny. So I just quartered them. Clean and cut the mushrooms to get bite-size pieces as per the size of mushrooms available.
  • For the spices, one of them is crushed coriander. If you have powder, go ahead and use it. But freshly crushed coriander seeds weave a certain flavour magic.
  • Fenugreek leaves are optional. Either use dried ones aka kasuri methiĀ or replace with coriander leaves. But try to add it, as it bumps up the taste as well as the nutrition.
Wipe mushrooms with a wet towel instead of running under water to prevent them from going soggy. Click To Tweet

MUSHROOM MATAR MASALA / MUSHROOM AND GREEN PEAS CURRY

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of chopped mushrooms
  • 1 cup of green peas
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp crushed ginger
  • 1 large or 2 medium sized tomatoes, finely diced
  • 2 tsp crushed coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp red chili powder (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • salt, to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp oil for cooking
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 slit green chili
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh fenugreek leaves OR 1 tbsp kasuri methi
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • coriander leaves for garnish (optional)
Mushroom Matar Masala
Mushroom Matar Masala

Method

  • Heat oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds.
  • Once the cumin crackles, add the garlic and saute until fragrant.
  • Add in the onion, ginger and green chilli. Add a bit of salt and mix well. Cover and let the onion cook till soft.
  • Add the tomatoes and mash them with the spatula. Add tiny bit salt, to hasten the cooking.
  • Cook covered, whilst checking intermittently, till the oil starts releasing from the sides.
  • Then add the spices; turmeric, crushed coriander, red chili powder and the garam masala. Mix well.
  • Add in the green peas and splash of water. Cover and cook. If using fresh peas, give it 10 minutes. For frozen peas, 5 minutes is adequate.
  • Add the mushrooms next and coat well in the masala. You might need to add a little more water.
  • Stir in the fenugreek leaves at this point and saute for a while.
  • Cover and cook until everything comes together. It will take about 5-7 minutes, as mushrooms and peas cook quite quickly.
  • Lastly, stir in the lemon juice. Adjust salt to your preference.
  • Since I used fresh fenugreek, I left out the coriander for garnish. It is a personal choice to use coriander leaves in this recipe and you may go ahead if you fancy.
  • Serve hot with chapati or any Indian flatbread.

 

Variations

  • Replace mushrooms with parboiled potato.
  • Replace green peas with boiled or canned chickpeas.

Want to try more simple Indian vegan preparations? Check outĀ Bhindi ki Sabzi / Okra Stir-Fry

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If you try this recipe tag #smitasfoodcharm on Instagram and to follow me click here @smitasfoodcharm

 

 

Mushroom Xacuti/ Goan Mushroom Curry

Till about a couple years ago, I did not fancy mushrooms; but then the affair started and now I can proudly say, “I’m in love.” Mushrooms are loaded with protein and Vitamin D with minimal calories. So for a health buff like me, it is one helluva ingredient.

I usually stir-fry them with some butter and garlic or just add to noodles or Mexican chili to bump up the nutrition. But this time, I decided to hero this little c(h)ap! And what better way than some spicy Indian curry, in fact, even closer to home with this traditional Goan preparation, Xacuti. (pronounced asĀ Shaa-go-tee.)

Mushroom Xacuti
Mushroom Xacuti

I have used white button mushrooms here, but you can go ahead and use whichever edible (obviously!) mushrooms you have on hand. And when I say spicy, that’s what it is – A blast of various spices, each imparting its own unique flavour and aroma. So let’s get started..

Ingredients

  • 250 gm, button mushrooms, diced to bite-size pieces
  • 1 small onion,Ā diced
  • 2 small tomato,Ā diced
  • 2-3 tsp oil
  • 1-2 bay leaf
  • pinch of ground turmeric
  • salt, to taste
  • coriander, for garnishing
  • juice of lemon, as required

To be ground together

  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 3-4 black peppercorns
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 2-3 small pieces of cinnamon
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 green cardamom
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 mace
  • 4 dry red chilli
  • 1 small onion, roughly sliced
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small piece ginger
  • 2 tbsp tamarind pulp
  • 1/3 cup dry or wet shredded coconut
The best part of mushrooms is, absorbing whatever flavours u throw it into! Click To Tweet

Method

  • In a pan, add the spices to be ground together and dry roast it together. Once fragrant, transfer to a blender. (See note below)
  • Roast the onion till slightly browned. Likewise for the coconut. Slightly roast the garlic.
  • Blend all these along with other ingredients to be ground together, with some water, to a paste.
  • In a kadhai~, add the oil. Once heated, add the bay leaf.
Mushroom Xacuti
Mushroom Xacuti
  • Then saute the onion till slightly pink.
  • Next add the tomato and cook till mushy. Add a pinch of ground turmeric and salt.
  • Now add the ground paste and mix together till oil starts separating from the sides.
  • Throw in the chopped mushrooms and coat well with the masala. Add 1 cup of water and check the salt.
  • Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add more water if needed to adjust the consistency.
  • Once off the heat, add the lemon juice and garnish with coriander.
  • Enjoy this sizzling xacuti with bread, chapati*, bhakri* or steamed rice.

Note : For dry roasting spices, pan should always be on medium heat. Add the spices in small batches, never over-crowding the pan. Keep stirring, you must not leave it unattended at any time. Roast for not more than 1 minute. IF it goes black, it implies that the spices have burnt and will have to be discarded (sigh!) Otherwise the recipe will turn bitter.

~round, thick-bottomed, wide-mouthed vessel that is generally used in Indian cooking

*Indian flat-breads made with wheat/rice/millet flour

Variation

  • Replace mushrooms with chicken or red meat. This recipe is originally for Chicken Xacuti but vegetarian version uses mushroom.

 

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Mushroom Xacuti
Mushroom Xacuti

 

Bhindi ki Sabzi / Okra Stir-Fry

Bhindi (Okra) is a popular ingredient in Indian cuisine, which is prepared in hundreds of ways. Probably each state in India has a different style of cooking bhindi. Sometimes as a dry preparation just stir-fried or in a yogurt based gravy or an onion-tomato gravy. It can also be marinated in some spices and semolina and pan-fried or just added in sambar or fish curry.

Bhindi ki Sabzi
Bhindi ki Sabzi with Phulkas

Okra is my husband’s favourite veggie. In early courtship period, when I was all set to impress him, bhindi was what I planned to cook. Little did I know that even though it tastes so good, preparing it can be a messy and frustrating ordeal. The insides of an okra contain a slimy, gooey substance which leaves its presence on your hands, on the knife, chopping board, just about everywhere. Everyone who has cooked okra has definitely been there.

Are you wondering how to enjoy okra sans the muck? It’s your lucky day for I have outlined tips right from buying good bhindi to preparing as well as cooking without the sticky goo coming in your way!

Bhindi ki Sabzi
Bhindi ki Sabzi

TIPS FOR SELECTING OKRA AT THE GROCERS

  • Did you know okra is called Ladies’ finger? There is a pretty good logic behind this. An okra should be slender and delicate like a lady’s finger. Such okras cook well and taste better. Hence select the slender, delicate ones (don’t go around comparing them with your fingers though!! šŸ˜€ )
  • The pointed end should be flexible and bend easily. If it is tough, that okra won’t cook well. (Just bend slightly to check, not necessarily break it.)
  • As with any other produce, the surface should be free of dark spots, blemishes or bruises.
Okra is called Lady's finger because it should be slender & delicate like a Lady's finger! Click To Tweet

HOW TO CLEAN AND PREPARE OKRA

bhindi

  • Okra stays in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Just wrap in a plastic bag.
  • When you wish to cook, wash in cold water and pat dry. Drying the okra well is a very important step.
  • Cut off the pointed end and the remaining stalk.
  • Okra can be cut in rounds or lengthwise. While cutting rounds, I prefer using a sharp paringĀ knife in a palm-grip just so that I don’t need the chopping board!
  • Wash the knife and board immediately as once the slimy substance dries, it is tougher to clean off.

There are many fancy styles to cook bhindi. But my favourite is this simple stir-fry with hot phulkas (thin whole wheat rotis.) So lets get started..

Bhindi ki Sabzi
Bhindi ki Sabzi

BHINDI KI SABZI / OKRA STIR-FRY

Ingredients

  • 250 gm okra (bhindi)
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 3-4 curry leaves
  • A pinch of asafoetida (found in Indian grocery; can be left out)
  • 2 green chili, slit in half
  • 2 tbsp dried mango powder (amchoor)
  • Pinch of ground turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil

Method

  • In a wok, heat oil. Add the mustard seeds and let them crackle. Then add the asafoetida and curry leaves and cook for a couple of minutes
  • Add the onion and saute well. Fry the onion till it is golden. Meanwhile. add the green chili
  • Once the onion is golden, it is time for okra. Mix it well with the onion and keep sautĆ©ing.

Now comes the tricky part!Ā 

Okra will start releasing gooey threads which seem to increase as you go on stirring. Read on to know how to tackle this menace!

  1. No water – Come what may, DO NOT ADD WATER!!
  2. Not adding salt yet – Salt causes release of moisture and that’s the last thing we wish for
  3. Sour / tangy agent – Sour agents counter the stringiness of the okra. Once the threads reduce, the okra can fry well. Examples are lemon/lime juice, tomato, yogurt, tamarind, kokum, amchoor. In this recipe, I am using amchoor (dry mango powder)
  • Keep stir-frying the okra. I am assuming you have added the sour agent, amchoor, in this case. Add the turmeric as well.
  • Once okra seems to be cooked well, season with salt.

Serve this bhindi ki sabzi with some hot Indian flat bread. We prefer the thin phulkas made of whole wheat flour as it goes perfectly with this modest okra stir-fry.

Do you prepare okra? Do you like it? Do you have a favourite preparation? Also, if you would like to read more okra recipes do let me know in the comments below.

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Bhindi ki Sabzi / Okra Stir-Fry
Bhindi ki Sabzi / Okra Stir-Fry