The whole reason I tried baking the pav buns at home was to make dabeli. For those of you who don’t know, Dabeli is a Gujarati/Maharshtrian street snack which pairs soft pavs with a spicy potato curry.
I was racking my brains (they need much racking always!) to come up with some interesting Sandwiches and Wraps for the Blogging Marathon that I’d not blogged about before. I have a homemade subway sandwich post and posts on mixed nut butter as well as a spicy Indian-palate-friendly peanut butter and both of these could be turned into potential sandwich posts.
Then, I also thought about salad and spread-based sandwiches, but they’d already been blogged about by other participating bloggers. I even thought of doing a cookie sandwich or even a sandwiched layer cake, but then, that would be streching the ‘sandwiches and wraps’ theme a bit too much.
Then, the other day, I was sitting in a chaat (street snacks in India are referred to as chaat) joint and happily stuffing dabeli (buns stuffed with a spicy potato curry) down my throat when it struck me I could make this for the marathon! And since I’d never (successfully) baked yeast bread/bun before, I thought I might give it a shot (yet again). I wanted to make the whole thing from scratch, right from the buns, to the spice powder used for the potato curry and the curry itself.
From proofing the yeast (i.e. adding yeast to warm water to activate it and make it froth up) to getting the dabeli on the dinner table (yes! We had dabeli for diner that day!), it took the better part of the day, but was well worth the effort. Not that it occupies you all the while. Just that there is a lot of waiting in between the two dough ‘rises’. The hands-on time on the buns would have been around 45 minutes and 20-30 minutes on the dabeli curry.
The recipe and the number of steps may seems intimidating at first, but it is all actually quite simple if you tackle them one at a time. The only thing that was sorely missing that day was groundnuts! It is the very soul (ok, not really, but it is an intrinsic part of this chaat) of dabeli. I used cashews instead and it was sort of an okay substitute. I also gave the pomogranate pearls a miss since I did not have one at home, but I don’t think any of us really minded.
(Makes 4 Dabelis)
Pav – 4
Potato Curry (recipe follows)
Tamarind Chutney (Khatti Meethi Chutney) – 2 tbsp (Grind together 1/8 cup of dates, 1-2 tsp of jaggery (molasses) and 1 tsp tamarind paste with a little water into a smooth paste)
Coriander-garlic chutney – 2 tbsp (Just grind ½ cup of chopped coriander leaves with ½ green chilli, 1 clove of garlic, 1 tbsp water and salt to taste)
Roasted peanuts (skins off) – 2 tbsp
Sev/Gram flour vermicelli – 2 tbsp
Coriander leaves for garnish
Pomegranate – 2 tbsp
For the dabeli masala powder:
Dry roast the following ingredients together and powder fine. Use as required *
Cumin – 2 tsp
Coriander seeds – 4 tsp
Cinnamon – 1 inch piece
Dry red chilli – 1
Cloves – 2-3
For the Potato Curry:
Potato – 2 big or 3 medium, boiled and roughly mashed
Tomato – 1, chopped
Oil – 2 tsp
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
Turmeric – 2 pinches
Dabeli masala powder – 2 tsp
Asafoetida – 2 pinches
Lemon juice – 1 tsp
Sugar – ¼ tsp (optional)
Salt to taste
Prepare the potato curry first
Heat oil. Add cumin seeds and asafoetida
Add tomato, turmeric and dabeli masala powder
When tomato seems well cooked (less than 5 minutes), add some water^ and mix well
Add potato and salt. Mix well and cook for a few minutes
Remove the curry from heat.
Add sugar (if using) and lemon juice and mix well
Assembling the Dabeli:
Cut the pav buns into two
Toast with some butter
Apply ½ tbsp of the green chutney on one half and ½ tbsp of the tamarind chutney on the other half of each bun
Place 2-3 tsbp of the potato curry on one half
Add some roasted peanuts, pomegranate pearls, sev and chopped coriander leaves
Place the other half on top and serve
*This will give you about 2-3 tbsp of Dabeli masala powder. Since you need just 2 tsp for the potato curry, you can use the balance in place of garam masala while preparing other curries. Alternatively, halve the quantity and grind
^The curry shouldn’t be a runny gravy, but not too dry either. So adjust water accordingly