The dabeli is one of my favourite street foods from Gujarat. I love it to bits, and so does the OH. We love the way it combines different flavours – sour, sweet and spicy – that explode in your mouth simultaneously with each bite. Memories of delicious dabeli that I have hogged on the streets of Ahmedabad still linger in my mind, and that is one reason I never tried making it at home. I feared I would not get the same taste, and did not want to corrupt the beautiful memories I have. Yes, I am crazy like that.
However, all of this changed today, because of a sudden, strong urge that overtook me to eat dabeli. Not just any dabeli, but exactly the type I had all those years ago. The internet revealed to me a number of different recipes, and after about an hour of browsing, I decided to do it my own way – a mish-mash of a few recipes that I had read on the net. And, I must tell you, the dabeli turned out finger-lickingly good. I am overjoyed. I can now conjure up this flavour from a bygone era whenever I want to.
Here is the method that I followed:
Ingredients (for 2 people):
For the green chutney:
A handful of fresh coriander leaves
4-5 green chillies
Method: Remove the stalks from the green chillies, and cut them into pieces. Roughly chop the coriander leaves. Grind the coriander and the green chillies with a little water, till it forms a chutney-like consistency. Keep aside.
For the sweet chutney:
A small ball of tamarind
About 1/2 cup of jaggery (crushed)
1 teaspoon of cumin (jeera) powder
Method: Soak the tamarind in warm water for about 10 minutes, and then extract the juice from it. Strain the juice to remove any impurities, and add more water if required. Heat the tamarind water in a pan, along with the crushed jaggery. Let it cook together till it thickens a little. Add the cumin powder just before taking off from the heat. Mix well, and keep aside.
For the masala peanuts:
1 cup of raw peanuts
Salt to taste
Chilli powder to taste
Method: Dry roast the raw peanuts in a pan, and let them cool. Skin the peanuts when cool, and break into pieces. Add the salt and chilli powder to taste. Keep aside. Alternatively, you can use ready-made masala peanuts that are easily available in most shops.
For the filling:
2 medium-sized potatoes (boiled, peeled and mashed)
1 cup of pomegranate seeds
1 small onion (finely chopped)
A few stalks of fresh coriander, finely chopped
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon of garam masala
1 teaspoon of amchoor powder
1 teaspoon of chaat masala
Red chilli powder to taste
2 tablespoons of sweet chutney (as above)
2-3 tablespoons of masala peanuts (as above)
Turmeric powder to taste
A pinch of asafoetida powder
A few cumin seeds (jeera)
1. Heat a little oil in a pan and add the hing and cumin seeds. When they start turning brown, add the mashed boiled potatoes.
2. Turn down the flame, adding salt, red chilli powder and turmeric powder to taste, the chaat masala, garam masala, and a little water. Mix well.
3. Mix half of the masala peanuts, half of the pomegranate seeds, finely chopped coriander and onion, and sweet chutney to taste into the potato mixture. Turn off the heat, and keep aside.
For the assembling:
Green chutney to taste (as above)
Sev (ompudi) to garnish
Sweet chutney (as above)
Green chutney (as above)
Finely chopped onions (to garnish)
Masala peanuts to garnish (as above)
Pomegranate seeds to garnish (as above)
4 small sweet buns (typically, buns are used to make dabeli, but if you don’t have them, you can use slices of bread instead, like I did)
1. Apply green chutney on two slices of bread, and sweet chutney on the other two slices, as per your taste. If using buns, slit them down the middle, horizontally, and apply sweet chutney on one side of them and green chutney on the other side.
2. Put the potato stuffing into the buns/place it on the bread.
3. Garnish with pomegranate seeds, sev, masala peanuts, finely chopped onion and more sweet chutney (optional), and cover the buns/bread slices.
4. Apply oil to both sides of the sandwich/buns, and toast them a bit on a hot tawa. You can also use butter to do this.
Eat hot or cold with tomato ketchup or a mix of green and sweet chutney. Soak in the bliss.