Dabeli: Its Origin And Journey To Maharashtra
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The word ‘Dabeli’ creates a tantalizing sensation in our palate with sweet and tangy flavours. The potato and the pav-based dish is amped up with flavourful chutneys and pomegranate pearls. The dish is believed to have originated in Gujarat and has transcended borders to please foodies with its delicious flavours across the Indian subcontinent. Although the dish shares some of its ingredients with Maharashtrian Vada Pav, Dabeli is believed to be the predecessor of this dish. Both the dishes share potatoes and bun but Dabeli comes with a lot more dishes like sev, pomegranate pearls, roasted peanuts, and some common Indian chutneys like tamarind, coriander, red chilli, and dates. These chutneys along with the garnishing ingredients create a delicious flavour and textural variation in the dish. The dish is called ‘Dabeli’ (meaning ‘pressed down’ in Gujarati) as the bun is squashed down before serving.

Upon researching the origin of the dish, the first thing to notice is the original name of the delicacy- ‘Kutchi Dabeli’. The dish derives its name from the Kutch region of Gujarat. Legend has it that the dish first originated in Mandvi- a small city in the Kutch region of Gujarat in the 1960s. Keshavji Malam- a street vendor invented the dish at his shop and started selling it for one anna (six paise). Even today, the shop is run by his descendants. 

The split of the then Bombay happened around that time and the region got split into Maharashtra and Gujarat. With this split, communities from the region migrated. This migration brought the humble Dabeli from Kutch to Maharashtra and has been a favourite street food since then.

This Indian burger has transcended boundaries and is available as a street snack in most states of India now. Not only that, but various vendors have come up with their variations of the dish such as Cheese Dabeli, Matunga Dabeli, Dry Fruits Dabelu, and many more. However, if you want to relish the authentic Dabeli, you must visit Ahmedabad, Surat, and other Kutch areas of Gujarat. But to savour it at home, you can refer to the detailed recipe below.