This hara bhara kebab is a super delicious Indian appetizer. It is so easy to make and healthy too! It uses all pantry staples and is completely vegan. This dish is an easy and tasty way to add lots of greens in to your day (or sneak into the kiddo’s mouth).
What’s Hara Bhara Kebab?
Hara bhara kebab translates to green filled kebabs(patties).Kebabs originated in the Middle East and are inherently meat based. As with a lot of things, in India we adapted them to make vegetarian versions . This one is completely vegan containing no dairy or eggs and usually in the shape of patties. The commonly used green leafy vegetables to make this kebab is spinach. We will use cooked potatoes as base here and you can shape it any way we like.You can also add peas and corn for an added protein boost, texture and color.
I remember having these at an acquaintance’s wedding a long time ago and absolutely loved it. However I never really found it on most restaurant’s menu.Its something I have always wanted to try making at home. So, I finally made it last year and it was so easy not to mention incredibly tasty!
I made these kebabs on a cast iron pan using very little oil. You can also easily bake or air fry this for an equally tasty option.
We can split the ingredients in to 2 categories ~ vegetables and spices. The base for this appetizer is cooked potatoes, peas, corn and pureed spinach. The spices and herbs include fresh cilantro, ginger, green chillis, garam masala, chaat masala along with rice flour (see recipe notes) and seasoning. We will of course need some oil for pan frying.
You might have heard of Garam masala which is a very popular spice mix and basically translates to “warming spices”. Its easily found at big grocery stores but as always I would recommend going to the Indian store. But what is chaat masala? “Chaat” is a generic term used for umami filled street food in India. This is a different spice mix that is usually mixed in or sprinkled on street food. It is also easily found in Indian or South Asian stores. I would highly suggest including this because it really adds that extra something to the dish.
How to make the kebabs?
We will first boil the potatoes to cook them. Remove the potatoes and blanch the spinach in the same water for a couple of minutes.
Remove the spinach and let it cool down a bit.Squeeze out the extra water and add to a blender along with the cilantro. Blend these two and keep aside. While the potatoes are cooking, heat a pan at medium heat and add a couple of table spoons of oil. Now add the chopped green chillies, ginger, frozen peas and corn. Saute till the peas and corn are cooked.
Now mash the potatoes ensuring there are still lumps and add in the cooked peas-corn mixture along with rice flour. Mix well and add the pureed spinach- cilantro. Add spices, salt and mix well. We can now start shaping the patties. I just decided to shape them round and flat but you can choose to do it however you like.
I used up a cast iron pan to ensure even heating. Then added a couple of spoons of neutral oil like avocado oil and slowly places the patties inside. Don’t crowd the pan and leave plenty of space to flip the patties over. After a few minutes, flip them over and check if they are browning. If not flip it back and let it sit on that side for a couple of more minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side.
Now we can remove from the pan and transfer to a serving dish. Cook any remaining patties until they are all done. Blot any excess oil with a paper towel. A quick side to serve with these kababs is to just eat them with ketchup. Yep, I said ketchup! I can already see some of you turning your noses up with contempt. However trust me when I say it tastes delicious with good ‘ol ketchup. Of course you can also whip up a nice chutney like a mint based one(see recipe notes) or a yoghurt based dip.
You can also turn this appetizer in to a main meal. Just make larger patties and pan fry them. Use this as a veggie burger patty to make a delicious vegan or vegetarian burger.
Did you try and like the recipe? Or did you have some constructive criticism for me? Please leave a comment or question below because nothing gets me going more than my readers’ feedback!
Are you looking for more recipes? Check these ones out ~
Hara Bhara Kebab ( Spinach and Potato Patties)
- 5 Potatoes medium sized and peeled
- 5 cups Baby Spinach rinsed
- 1/2 cup Fresh or Frozen Peas
- 1/4 cup Fresh or Frozen Corn
- 3-4 sprigs Cilantro(Coriander Leaves) rinsed
- 1-2 Green Chillies finely chopped
- 1 inch Fresh or Frozen Ginger finely chopped
- 2 tbsp Rice Flour
- 5 tbsp Avocado Oil
- Salt to taste
- Heat a large pan filled with water up to the 3/4th level. Once the water is boiling, slowly drop the potatoes in the water and let it cook for 15-20 minutes.
- While the potatoes are cooking, heat up a pan to medium heat. Add a couple of tablespoons of oil and add the chopped green chillies, ginger, peas and corn. Cook for 7-8 minutes until cooked. Keep aside.
- Once the potatoes are cooked, remove them from the water without turning off the stove to cool down. In the same water add the spinach and blanch for a couple of minutes. Remove from water and let it cool down for 5 minutes.
- Place the cooled down spinach and the cilantro in a blender and puree until completely smooth. Keep aside.
- In a bowl, add the cooked potatoes and mash till slightly lumpy. Add the peas-corn mixture and mix. Now add the pureed spinach and cilantro. Also add in the spices, rice flour and salt. Mix well.
- Shape the patties. Heat a non-stick or cast iron pan to medium low. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil and once hot place the patties on the surface.
- Let it cook for 5-6 minutes at the same heat level before flipping it. Ensure each side is nicely browned before removing from the pan.
- Serve with a chutney, ketchup or your favorite dip.
- Quick recipe for a green chutney: Put 1/2 cup of mint leaves and cilantro each in a blender along with a green chilli, 1 clove of garlic, small piece of ginger, salt and some water. Grind until it reaches a consistency which isn’t too thick or thin. Add a couple of tablespoons of lime juice and serve.
- If you would rather prefer to keep the spice level low, skip the green chilli in the recipe or sub with jalapeño or a Fresno chile pepper.
- I have not made this dish in an oven or air fryer but would bet this would turn out great in both of those.
- If you want to freeze these, I would suggest freezing the patties before any frying them. Place them on a sheet pan and freeze for a few hours. Remove and stack them in a freezer bag or wrap them up in parchment paper before placing them back in the freezer. Remove and directly pan fry them without thawing.
- Try making these with other greens as well including basil, collard greens etc if you want to sub for spinach. Take care to adjust the quantity with herbs like basil since they are much stronger in flavor.
- You can substitute bread crumbs or chickpea flour(besan) for the rice flour until you reach the required consistency.