When one mentions about the vibrant state of Gujarat, one has to also mention about its most famed street food, the sweet and tangy Dabeli. While Kacchi Dabeli is what it is more prominently known as, this Dabeli recipe of mine too will transport you to Gujarat for a while as you’ll relish it, bite by bite! The Dabeli Masala is one of the USPs of this snack, which is quite popular in Maharashtra as well.
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What is Dabeli
Whether you’re in Gujarat or Maharashtra, it is quite common for you to stumble upon the simple, yet absolutely filling and tasty snack Dabeli. Either on streets or at eateries or if you’re visiting a traditional Gujarati household. Also, the next time you’re onto a Vada Pav recipe, observe how similar it is to the Dabeli recipe. I would say, both are close cousins!
So, you must be thinking as to what exactly the name of this dish means? In Gujarati language, Dabeli means ‘pressed.’ Which is obvious from the way this dish comes together, that is, the yummy Dabeli Masala laden potato mixture being stuffed or pressed between buttered pav (dinner rolls).
Also, more popularly known as Kacchi Dabeli or ‘Double Roti,’ the original Dabeli recipe is believed to be a creation of a certain Keshavji Gabha Chudasama’s who was a resident of Mandvi in Kutch, Gujarat. He started his business in 1960 by selling dabeli. Later generations of his family kept his shop alive in Mandvi till today.
One of the reasons behind Dabeli producing an explosion of myriad flavors in your mouth is the humble, yet robust Dabeli Masala that is an important part of the Dabeli recipe.
This Dabeli Masala is nothing but a dry ground powder made essentially with dried red chilies, some whole spices and salt. Though, the homemade version which I use for this Dabeli recipe has the Kashmiri dried red chilies, cumin seeds, cloves, coriander seeds and cinnamon.
Although the Dabeli Masala is available in all major cities across India, the novel Kacchi Dabeli uses the ubiquitous Dabeli Masala sourced from Mandvi as well as Bhuj in Kutch. These are preferred because of their particular authenticity and taste.
More on Dabeli Recipe
Whether Kacchi Dabeli or the one I make at home, this sweet, sour and spicy snack is for keeps. Just imagine a beautiful dish that comes to life by just stuffing a Dabeli Masala spiked potato filling within our Indian buns or Pav.
Then, jazzed-up with extras like lovely chutneys, fresh pomegranate or grapes, crunchy onions and the savory sev or fried gram flour vermicelli.
And since the day I’ve made one at home, I’ve never visited any of the Dabeli stalls near my home in Mumbai. Happiness and real tasty food indeed are homemade! One more Mumbai special dish that I now cook at home most of the times is the Pav Bhaji.
Preparing dabeli recipe is literally a breeze if you have everything ready at home. Like prepare the Dabeli Masala, chutneys and the potato stuffing and go on assembling the Dabeli. It may look intricate, but is quite hassle-free, trust me.
Since I love working on recipes that are ‘homemade’ from the word go till the end, I also made my own whole wheat buns for this Dabeli recipe.
I had prepared the dough a day earlier, and baked the buns on the day I was actually working on this recipe. If you don’t intend to go overboard, opt for readymade pavs or burger buns.
How to make Dabeli Masala
1. In a small skillet or frying pan, dry roast 1 dried red chili (seeds removed), ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, 2 to 3 cloves, ½ inch cinnamon and 1 teaspoon coriander seeds until fragrant and lightly toasted or roasted.
Transfer the roasted spices to a plate and set aside to cool.
You can’t see the coriander seeds here, as I have used my homemade roasted coriander powder while grinding the masala.
2. Add all the spices in a dry grinder or coffee grinder. Remove the stalk from the red chilli, before grinding it.
3. Grind to a fine powder. You will have some powder left even after adding it to Dabeli. You can use it in some vegetable or rice recipes.
How to make Dabeli Recipe
You will need many elements to make Dabeli. Aside from the potato stuffing, you will also need two chutneys and various topping ingredients.
Since the Dabeli Masala is already made, we begin by making the spicy chilli garlic chutney. You will also need Tamarind Chutney – it can be made ahead or brought from the store.
Make Red Chilli Garlic Chutney
4. Soak 1 to 2 dried red chilies (stalks and seeds removed) in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes. Drain all the water after the chillies are softened.
In a small grinder jar or a small blender, add the soaked red chilies, ⅓ cup peeled and roughly chopped garlic cloves, ½ tablespoon lemon juice and salt to taste.
5. Grind or blend to a smooth fine consistency. Add water if needed while grinding. Keep this chilli garlic chutney aside.
Make Potato Filling
6. Boil 3 medium-sized potatoes in a stovetop pressure cooker or the Instant pot or in a pan on the stovetop adding water as needed. The potatoes have to be cooked until fork tender. Peel, mash and keep the potatoes aside.
Next, in a pan or kadai (wok), heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add ½ teaspoon cumin seeds and let them splutter.
Add ⅓ cup finely chopped onions. Sauté the onions till they become soft.
7. Add 1 pinch asafoetida (hing) and fry for a few seconds on a low heat.
8. Add 2 tablespoons Tamarind Chutney to the onions and mix well. The sweet tamarind chutney can store-brought or homemade.
9. Add the mashed potatoes and mix well.
10. Add 2 teaspoons of the prepared Dabeli Masala powder to the mashed potatoes.
11. Mix well and add salt.
12. Cook the potato mixture for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring. If the mixture looks a little dry, then add 1 or 2 tablespoons water. I did not have to add any water to the potato mixture.
13. Once done, spread the potato filling on a plate.
14. Sprinkle ¼ cup grated coconut on the potato filling. You could use either fresh grated coconut or desiccated coconut. Note that coconut is optional.
15. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of chopped coriander leaves.
16. Now, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of fresh pomegranate pearls or grapes or both. I did not have grapes.
Roast Buns or Pav for Dabeli
17. While all of the above was happening, my wheat flour buns were ready from the oven.
18. Slice the bun or pav into two. On a tawa or skillet, melt some butter or heat oil. Lightly roast the buns or pav on it. Set aside.
19. Assemble all the ingredients in one place for making Dabeli. The picture below mentions all.
20. Apply a layer of tamarind chutney on one halve of the pav or bun and the prepared red chilli garlic chutney on the other halve.
21. Take a portion of the prepared potato filling and put it on top of one of the halve of bun or pav.
22. Add some chopped onions and coriander leaves.
23. Top it with some roasted peanuts and fresh pomegranate pearls. Sprinkle some Dabeli Masala also.
24. The last topping is of sev. You can also roll the stuffed buns in the sev.
25. Cover with the other halve of the pav or bun in the same way. Make more Dabeli and enjoy this yummy snack.
- Substitutes: Swap Coriander Chutney or Cilantro Mint Chutney for red garlic chutney; pav bhaji masala for dabeli masala; spiced or masala peanuts for plain roasted peanuts; chopped grapes for fresh pomegranate pearls or even both.
- In case you have readymade Dabeli Masala at home, use that. But I would suggest making it from scratch as then the flavors hit on a different note!
- You can skip adding the grated coconut on the cooked potato filling.
- If you have leftover Dabeli Masala after using it in this recipe, use it to sprinkle on your rice based dishes, vegetable or even dal recipes. It only enhances the flavors.
- While cooking the potato mixture, if you feel it is a bit dry, add about a tablespoon or two of water.
- Leftover potato mixture and no pavs? Worry not. Stuff the mixture between bread slices and make a filling sandwich out of it.
Dabeli consists of a spiced potato masala that is stuffed between pav slathered with sweet chutney, red chili-garlic chutney and then topped with an earthy dabeli masala, chopped onions, coriander leaves, fresh pomegranate pearls, peanuts, sev, etc.
Dabeli is a popular street food from Gujarat. The most authentic version is that of a Kacchi Dabeli which actually belongs to the Kutch district of Gujarat, also famous for its salt deserts.
Well, a Dabeli can be termed as India’s best answer to a western burger since the look is similar to that of a burger. However, the ingredients of this particular recipe and the unique Dabeli Masala in it makes it way different from a burger.
Yes, certainly you can use the pav bhaji masala in place of the Dabeli Masala. However, my recipe does mention the method to make this special masala as well, and it is quite easy. So, you know what to do!
You can use masala peanuts or even masala chana dal in place of the plain roasted peanuts.
A mint coriander chutney is a good option in place of the red garlic chutney.
Please be sure to rate the recipe in the recipe card or leave a comment below if you have made it. For more vegetarian inspirations, Sign Up for my emails or follow me on Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.
Dabeli Recipe | Kacchi Dabeli | Dabeli Masala
For the dabeli masala
- 1 dry red chilli
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds or ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ inch cinnamon
- 2 to 3 cloves
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
For the red chilli garlic chutney
- 1 to 2 red chillies (seeds and stalks removed), soaked in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes
- ⅓ cup garlic cloves – peeled and roughly chopped
- ½ tablespoon lemon juice
- salt to taste
For potato filling
- 3 potatoes (medium-sized) – boiled, peeled and mashed
- ⅓ cup onions – finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons dabeli masala
- 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 tablespoons Tamarind Chutney
- 2 to 3 tablespoons grated coconut – fresh or desiccated, optional
- 2 to 3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
- 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 tablespoons water – optional
For serving dabeli
- 4 to 5 Pav or burger buns, sliced in equal halves and lightly roasted in some butter or oil
- ¼ cup roasted peanuts
- ¼ cup chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
- ¼ cup sev – finer variety
- ¼ cup pomegranate arils
- chilli garlic chutney (prepared as mentioned in the recipe), as needed
- Tamarind Chutney – as required
Making dabeli masala powder
- Dry roast the red chili, cumin, cloves, cinnamon and coriander seeds in a small frying pan or skillet until fragrant and lightly toasted.
- Transfer to a plate and set aside to cool.
- When cooled, add all the ingredients in a dry grinder or coffee-grinder.
- Grind to a fine powder. Set aside.
Preparing the red chilli garlic chutney
- Remove the stems and seeds from 1 to 2 dry red chillies. Soak the chillies in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes. When the chillies soften, drain the water.
- In a small mixer-grinder or blender, add the soaked red chilies, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Grind or blend to a fine and smooth paste.
- Add water if needed while blending. Keep aside.
Making potato stuffing
- Boil the potatoes in a pressure cooker or Instant pot or in a pan on the stovetop with water until fork tender.
- Peel and mash them. Set aside.
- In a frying pan or wok(kadai), heat oil. Add cumin seeds and let them crackle.
- Then add chopped onions and fry the onions till they become soft.
- Add asafoetida/hing and fry for a few seconds on a low heat.
- Add the sweet Tamarind chutney to the onions and mix well.
- Add the mashed potatoes and again stir to combine to get an even mixture.
- Add the prepared dabeli masala powder to the mashed potatoes. Mix well and add salt.
- Cook for 2 to 3 minutes stirring the mixture often.
- If the mixture looks a little dry then add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water. When done, spread the potato filling on a plate.
- Sprinkle some grated coconut on the potato filling.
- Add chopped coriander leaves on top.
- Next add pomegranate seeds or grapes or both. Keep the potato filling aside.
- Assemble all the ingredients mentioned under the list "For Serving Dabeli" in one place.
- Apply the sweet tamarind chutney on one halve of the pav or burger bun and the red garlic chutney on the other halve.
- Take a portion of the potato filling and place it on top of one of the halves of the pav or bun.
- Add some chopped onions and coriander leaves
- Top it up with some roasted peanuts and pomegranate seeds.
- Sprinkle some dabeli masala also. Lastly top it with sev.
- Cover with the other halve of pav or bun.
- Prepare the remaining dabeli pav in the same way and serve warm.
- Instead of the red garlic chutney you can also use Coriander Mint Chutney or Coriander Chutney.
- Dabeli masala powder is easily available in Indian cities and online. So you could use ready dabeli masala.
- Other variation is to add pav bhaji masala instead of dabeli masala. The dabeli will still taste good.
- Lastly to add more spice, add spiced or masala peanuts instead of plain peanuts.
Nutrition Info (Approximate values)
This Dabeli recipe from the archives first published in February 2012 has been republished and updated on November 2022.