I feel if I am asked to exist on Mumbai street food or chaat as it is locally called all my life I would gladly do it. And mind you that is not an exaggeration. The diversity available with this kind of food makes my job all the more easier. So, when a friend sent over some of her homemade “Dabeli” for me to try on I knew I wanted more, and I mean a lot more. That naturally meant I had to make it and post it on the blog which is exactly what I did. I am proud to say it is India’s answer to the burger/sloppy joe’s and packs a lot more punch compared to either of them.
Now if y’all are wondering what exactly is a Dabeli then imagine a local bread i.e. pav stuffed with delectably spiced mashed potatoes and topped with a bunch of delightful goodies ranging from different chutneys to a crunchy snack called sev to sweet pomegranate seeds. Now if that does not make you drool then I do not know what will.
This dish did not exactly originate in Mumbai but is a gift from our neighboring state of Gujarat and a very tasty one at that. The people in this state are a genuinely warm and affectionate lot whose cuisine accurately reflects their personality. They do not eat a lot of meat, so they have an immense array of vegetarian recipes to choose from with most of the recipes being mildly spiced.
One of my first roomies when I came to the US was a Gujarati guy and our friendship which has lasted 2 years is still going strong. It should come as no surprise to y’all when I say the friend who sent over the Dabeli to us is also a Gujarati.
Eating that authentic Gujarati Dabeli bought back nostalgic memories of my college days i.e. snacking out with my buddies after college at the local snack shop. Here are some other favorites of mine from those days. PANI PURI and Black Bean Sev Puri
One of the essential ingredients of this recipe is that typical spice blend or Dabeli Masala which gives the dish its unique flavor. There are plenty of variations of what makes a good blend depending upon the Gujarati household. As for me I was in a hurry to make this recipe so I went to the Indian store and bought a premade one.
Considering the other flavors that were going to go in the recipe I kept the potato mixture extremely simple with chilies, a tangy dry mango powder and the dabeli masala. Sometimes you do not need to do a lot for the food to taste good.
Now it was time for the toppings to work their magic. There was a garlicky tone to the dish due to a garlic chutney and then there was something sweet and tangy with a tamarind chutney.
But that is not all since there was nothing crunchy yet. So, in went the masala peanuts (spiced peanuts) as well as the thin sev.
This entire thing is precisely packed in an Indian bread called pav which is like a dinner roll but made without eggs. It can also absorb the chutneys without turning soggy which makes it an ideal vehicle.
I couldn’t wait to dig in and get messy with the toppings all over my face. Wifey prolonged my agony a bit more by making me take pictures first. Finally I got my hands on the Dabeli and my world was instantly a better place.
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Dabeli – A Popular Indian Chaat
- 5 Russet Potatoes diced and boiled
- 5 Green Chillies
- ½ large Onion diced
- 2 tsp Dry Mango Powder/Amchur Powder
- 1 ½ tsp Dabeli Masala
- 1 cup Roasted Peanuts
- ½ tsp Tumeric
- ½ tsp Red Chilli Powder
- ¾ tsp Dry Mango Powder/Amchur Powder
- 12 Garlic peeled
- 1 tsp Red Chili Powder
- 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1 cup Nylon Sev
- ¼ cup Garlic Chutney
- ½ cup Tamarind chutney
- ¼ cup Onion finely chopped
- 1 cup Cheese
- Butter for toasting
- 6 Dinner roll/Pav
- Heat butter in a pan. Saute onions and green chillies.
- Add amchur powder, dabeli masala and fry for a couple of minutes.
- Add boiled potatoes, salt, pepper and mix. Sprinkle water if required.
- Set aside to cool.
- Heat one tbsp oil in a pan. Toast the peanuts along with the tumeric, red chili powder, dry mango powder and salt. and mix well.
- Garlic chutney
- Blend garlic, lemon juice, red chili powder and salt in a blender until smooth.
- Slice a dinner roll.
- On one side spread garlic chutney. Add a layer of dabeli filling and top it with onions, peanuts, sev and cheese.
- On other side apply tamarind chutney.
- Crisp it slightly on a skillet with some butter.
- Serve hot.