Friday, July 2, 2021

Recipe of the month: Hara Bhara Kabab

I'm bringing you yet another Indian savoury recipe to make up for the lack of this category of recipes in the past year 😊

Hara bhara kababs are one of my most favourite Indian snack! These vegetarian kababs are pan-fried spiced cutlets/patties made with a mix of spinach, green peas and potatoes. They are delicious, satisfying and reasonably nutritious as well. I am pretty sure I have mentioned this before but I love any dish that showcases herbs and greens. The vibrant green color and fresh 'herb-y' flavour really appeals to my senses. 

My husband made these kababs for the first time sometime last year. The recipe he followed suggested to finely chop the spinach and mash the cooked peas instead of pureeing them together. As a result, the kababs were not green in color and taste-wise, missed the mark as well. He was quite disappointed with the outcome and began scouting for other recipes. 

He tried the recipe you see in this post (with his own modifications) next and it was a total winner! He baked the potatoes in the oven and crumbled them while still hot thereby allowing all the steam to escape. This ensured that the potato mixture was free of the dreaded moisture (which can make the kababs soggy). He then pureed the spinach, peas and herbs with the aromatics without adding water (this is key!) to make a thick paste. The roasted gram flour and breadcrumbs helped to bind the mixture together to form a stiff dough which was easy to shape. He adorned each kabab with a cashew nut and shallow-fried the kabas in a mixture of ghee and oil on medium flame until browned and crispy. He has made it a few times after that and it always turns out so good. I'd even go as far as saying that it was restaurant quality. The children and I absolutely love it and keep encouraging him to make it! 

I am the one responsible for pan-frying the hara bhara kababs that you see in these photos and if you were wondering, yes, I tend to roast them a little more than what is considered normal 😛 You can cook them until the desired color and crispness, okay?

This is a great snack to make for the kids, during tea time or when you have guests. You can make them ahead of time, shape the kababs and refrigerate them. After that it is only a matter of shallow-frying the kababs which doesn't take very long. We like to eat these kababs with mint chutney and a tomato-based chilli sauce but any savoury yoghurt-based sauce or dip would go well too. 

Try this recipe folks. I am sure that you will love it!

Hara Bhara Kabab

Preparation time: 45 min; Cook time: 15 min
Total time: 1 hour
Serves: 4
Recipe category: North Indian/Snack 
Recipe level: Easy 
Recipe source: Adapted from here


4-5 medium-large potatoes 
300 gm fresh spinach (palak)
1 small bunch of fresh coriander leaves 
10-12 fresh mint leaves
1 cup cooked green peas 
2-3 bird's eye green chillies
2” piece of ginger
4-5 cloves garlic
2 tbsp roasted gram flour 
1/2 to 3/4 cup bread crumbs (adjust as required)
1-1/2 tsp garam masala 
1 tsp chaat masala 
Salt to taste 
A handful of cashew nuts, halved, for decoration Optional
Oil for shallow frying
A few tbsp ghee, Optional


1. The ideal way to cook the potatoes would be to bake the potatoes in an oven at 180 deg C for 40-45 mins till fork tender. Or else you could also steam the potatoes. Peel, mash and spread out on a broad dish when still hot to release all the steam. Keep aside to cool completely.

2. Chop garlic, ginger and green chillies roughly 

3. Wash spinach and dry thoroughly

4. Add a tbsp of oil in a pan and fry the chopped ginger, garlic and chilli in for 2-3 mins

5. Add the peas and fry for another 3-4 mins

6. Add the spinach and let it wilt. Add 1/2 tsp salt and fry for a few mins   

7. Let the mixture cool completely. Add to a blender along with the mint and coriander and blend to a thick fine paste. Do NOT add any water. Add it to the crumbled potatoes. 

8. Heat a little ghee in a small kadai and fry the gram flour over a low flame for 3-4 mins. You could also do this dry (i.e. just roast the gram flour without the ghee but addition of ghee improves the binding of the dough and the subsequent flavour)

9. Add this gram flour mixture along with garam masala, chaat masala and salt to the potato mixture and blended paste. Mix thoroughly to form a firm dough that can be shaped into patties. Add the breadcrumbs as required to get the required firmness of the dough. Check the seasoning and adjust accordingly. 

10. Make round patties from the dough and top each with a cashew nut

11. Add 1 tbsp oil with 1 tbsp ghee (the ghee is optional) and shallow fry the patties on medium heat on both sides till brown and crisp

12. Sprinkle with a little more chaat masala if desired. Serve hot along with chutney or sauce of your choice

  • Use the freshest herbs for best results
  • Preferably use russet potatoes since they have low moisture content
  • The more devoid of moisture your potato mixture and blended paste is, the less breadcrumbs you will need to form the dough. Try to use as less breadcrumbs as you can as using too much can compromise the flavour
  • You can shape the patties any shape you like (rounded square, round, oval or long rectangular sticks shaped around bamboo skewers)
  • To make this recipe vegan, skip the ghee altogether and use only vegetable oil to shallow fry the kababs
  • You can use sweet potatoes and carrots if you want to make these kababs more nutritious and less calorific
  • If you don't have roasted gram flour, you can use powdered poha/avalakki instead
  • Leftover patties can be used to make a delicious desi burger with mint chutney, tomatoes, onions, cheese & lettuce


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