Maximum city, maximum taste - Dabeli

"Where are you from? Searching for an answer, in Paris, in London, in Manhattan, I always fall back on Bombay. Somewhere buried beneath the wreck of its current condition, is a city that has a tight claim on my heart, a beautiful city by the sea, an island state of hope in a very old country. I went back to look for that city. In the looking I found the cities within me."
- Maximum City - Bombay lost and found by Suketu Mehta

I have been breathing, living this book since I picked it up. A love hate essay on my favorite city; Mehta unveils everything - the villagers who come to the city everyday to look for a living, the criminal underworld, the politics and yes, Bollywood.

Reading about the city I love (my home away from home) got me nostalgic about it's food. A typical Bombay snack could only mean vada-pav, but I opted out of deep frying and decided on Dabeli. Dabeli is originally a Kutchi/ Gujarati dish. Just as Bombay welcomes people from all over the country, so does it welcome their food, and Dabeli is now a common snack sold on Bombay's roads.
It is also called Double Roti or Kutchi Dabeli.


(adapted from a recipe by Tarla Dalal)
(serves 2-3)
For dabeli masala:
1-2 red chillies (you can make it as spicy as you like)
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2" stick cinnamon
2 cloves
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
For the filling :
2 medium size potatoes, boiled and mashed
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
a pinch of asafoetida
2 teaspoons dabeli masala
2 tablespoons peanuts
1 tablespoon oil
For assembly:
5-6 ladi-pav/ burger buns
1 onion, chopped fine
1/4 cup sev
garlic chutney (optional) & tamarind date chutney
For garnish:
finely chopped cilantro
a handful of pomegranate seeds (optional)

Roast masala ingredients in a pan for a few minutes taking care not to burn them. Grind to a fine powder.

Heat oil in a pan and fry peanuts till they turn light brown. Remove and keep aside. Next add cumin seeds; when they splutter add asafoetida, dabeli masala, potatoes, salt and a little water. Toss in the peanuts and mix everything well. Remove from fire.

Slice buns into halves and toast them with a little butter on a griddle. Apply garlic chutney if using on one side, tamarind chutney on the other side of the bun. Place a portion of the potato filling in between.

Top with chopped onion, cilantro and sev. Press down, garnish with pomegranate seeds and serve immediately.

Tags: double roti kutchi dabeli tarla dalal tea time snacks low calorie


Blogger BDSN said...

Hi Ashwini...

The way you described about the book really sounds interesting.Could you tell me where I can find this book?Being from TamilNadu I have never visited Bombay as such but I have been to Pune.I have never heard about Dabeli.Well I would surely like to try this dish..Thanks for posting it..

2:19 PM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Bdsn - thanks for visiting. I have been an ex resident of Bombay for 20 years so cant help but gush about the city. The book is excellent too. I got it in San Francisco but just checked on Amazon and see it is available. Do try dabeli and let me know if you liked it.

2:30 PM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Parna - You must try it. But like I said batata vada is unparalleled :-) Do post about it.

4:03 PM  
Blogger Kay said...

oh dear! you won't believe this.... I've been searching for this recipe for ages. I was thinking it was 'kachi dabeli' but your post makes me think, it should be 'kutchi dabeli'.

The first time, I tried in Pune, I died and went to heaven! It was that yummy and got me addicted.

Now, your recipe is on my must-try list.! Thanks a million! :)

6:37 PM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Glad to be of help Kay!

9:39 PM  
Blogger Nupur said...

Great post...I love dabeli! Thanks for writing about the book, I'm going to try and find it.

6:11 AM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Nupur - I know you love the city and its food as much as I do (seen your posts!!). Its a must read

8:49 AM  
Blogger sailu said...

This is a must-try for me,Ashwini.Reading Kay's comment makes me want to try it as soon as possible.Sounds very interesting.

5:27 AM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Sailu - do try and let me know

10:39 AM  
Blogger Nupur said...

Ashwini, forgot to add this before...I use halved grapes as a substitute for totally mimics that sweet burst of flavor.

4:35 PM  
Blogger GourmayMasala said...

Ashwini -

I love Dabeli!! Thanks for this recipe. I'm gonna try this soon. My local farmer's market carries fresh pomogranate...

10:24 AM  
Blogger lost in thoughts said...


Saw your comment on my blog & came here. Was looking for a good dabeli recipie...found it here :) Thanks.


1:44 PM  
Blogger Menu Today said...

Hello Ashwini,
I stayed in bombay!!!I tasted dabeli,now i came to know the recipe....:)

12:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU oh dear! you won't believe this.... I've been searching for this recipe for ages.
The first time, I tried in Pune, It was that yummy and got me addicted
And ever since i have been looking for the recipe urs is exactly the same and its lighter than vada pav like u said ASHWIN
Rash Gadi

9:43 PM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Hey Rash...glad to be of help. I know how it feels to eat something and not be able to recreate it at home :-) Have fun cookin

10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am an ex resident of Bombay too (mumbai now, although I still think of it as Bombay)And you are right Ashwini, Dabeli and vada pav are the best. I use ready made dabeli masala from Bombay Magic brand. It is very good. Saves me the trouble of making the masala.

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ashwini,

was looking for this recipe ever since we shifted to bombay... we had it once, after we had tried every other "mumbaikar snack"..the vada-pavs and pav-bhajis....
thanks for the determined to try it this weekend...:-)will let you know how it turned out !

2:02 AM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Santhi glad you found the recipe! Hope you enjoy it

1:18 PM  
Blogger Manjula said...

One of my Maharastrian friend had made this Dabeli's. They are delicious. The pomogranate really adds the extra crunch..Yummy...
Great entry for the JFI:Potato

4:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ashwin, I am from Boston... Great Site and Great recipe, I tried Dabeli in my local HOT BREAD bakery it was so good, again thank you for the recipe

9:44 AM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Manjula - thanks
Anon - let me know how it compares to Hot Bread ;-)

7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe.I stayed in Udaipur for a while n i cant forget that theli wala taste,such a delicious dabeli.Now ,being in Florida,i was dying to eat it.I wont get it even in Delhi-my hometown.

8:14 AM  
Blogger aks said...

how can we make that dabeli masala at home..

9:20 AM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Akshata - the masala is included in the recipe. Roast then grind all ingredients to a fine powder.

10:49 AM  
Blogger Eric Parker said...

I discovered this only after someone identified my photo of it - got to try it

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know what's the right kind of bread for dabeli? English muffins...a bit chewy and small and round and similar to a pao. Again if u notice, the pao used in dabeli is a bit different than the pao used in pav bhaji. But like I said before, English muffins are a great equivalent to the pav for this dish!

12:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

awesome..thanks for the recipe..Am pregnant and overseas..been craving to eat a dabeli :)

4:53 AM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Anon - thanks for the tip! I eat English myffins for breakfast but havent really experimented with them in dabeli. Next on my list!

Diva - Glad to help! Get your husband to make it for you, sit back and enjoy :)

11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This recipe of dabeli that you've posted is an absolute genius!My hubby is nuts abt Mumbai street food and was dead delighted when I finally cooked it following ur recipe.Thanks tons!I have myreservations abt Maximum City though...Mehta seems to use this book to flaunt his deep-veined contacts and social networking prowess.

12:13 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

i was lukin for d same recipe for quite sum time cox i had 'dabeli' once b4 using d same recipe n my mom absolutely luvd it...but later i misplaced it..n now here i am..glad got this very recipe dat i was lukin 4...thanz..ciao

1:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Ashwini,
I was here looking for a dabeli recipe for my mum and glad to have found it atlast but what I'm wondering about is the dabeli masala what does this dabeli masala consist of is it just all the masala you have given here or do I buy it somewhere. hope to hear from you.


10:00 AM  
Blogger brdjag said...

the best dabeli is had was in bhuj the bus stand

7:15 AM  

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