Hara Bhara Kebabs/Tikki
Hara Bhara Kebabs are one of my favorite snacks to enjoy on movie nights or wine nights at home.
What are Hara Bhara Kebabs?
Hara means green, bhara means full. Therefore hara bhara kebabs literally mean kebabs that are full of green vegetables which mainly are peas and spinach. Fresh Coriander and Mint too added for flavoring.
What are Kebabs?
Kebabs are generally made from meat, either minced or whole. It is believed that kebabs originate from the Middle Eastern Cuisine. Usually, the meat pieces are marinated and skewered with vegetable pieces like onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, tomatoes, potatoes to name a few. As for the minced meat ones, spices and flavorings are added to the mince and then shaped on the skewer. Both are normally cooked over open fire. Some however, are pan fried, deep fried or even baked.
Kebabs and India
Its believed that the Afghans brought kebabs to India and became very popular during the Mughal era. Over time so many different varieties of kebabs took place. Right now, there are countless number of kebabs made in restaurants, as street food, in homes, everywhere. So that vegetarians too can enjoy kebabs, veggie versions were created using chickpeas, paneer and vegetables.
Kebabs and Tikkas
When the Royal Nawabs introduced pan fried minced meat kebabs for their old and aged royal members, the term tikka was coined. Not wanting to be left out from enjoying these delicious delicacies, Hindu Rajas started using fresh vegetables. Tikka refers to pieces of meat, fish or paneer which were cooked over open fires. Tikki refers to mashed potatoes and other vegetables that were shaped and pan fried.
Vegetarian kebabs refer to vegetables or paneer on skewers or minced vegetables formed into shapes. These are then pan fried, deep fried or baked. There are a huge varieties of vegetable kebabs, ranging from the famous paneer tikka to dahi kebabs. However, most Indian restaurants will have Hara Bhara Kebabs on their menu as starters besides Paneer Tikka. Usually for the minced or mashed variety, the base to hold all the ingredients together is most popularly potatoes. Having said that these days paneer, boiled chickpeas, sweet potatoes, red kidney beans, soya granules are used too.
Varieties of Kebabs/Tikkis to try out:
- Veg Kebab Paratha – famous street food from the state of Uttar Pradesh, usually meat kebabs are served wrapped in a paratha. I make a veggie version.
- Poonam makes Shammi Kebabs from brown chickpeas and stuffs them with flavorful filling made from milk solids(khoya, pomegranate arils and spices)
- Vegan Hara Bhara Millet Kebabs – Archana combines cooked vegetables and barnyard millet to make kebabs with a crispy coating.
- Have you ever tried whole moong beans in kebabs? You really should try out Sujata’s Green Gram Kebabs.
- By adding two protein packed legumes black chickpeas and red kidney beans is how Renu makes Red Kidney Beans Kebab and Black Chickpeas.
- Swaty makes kebabs using chana dal (split black/brown chickpeas) with yam.
Hara Bhara Kebabs/Tikki
Occasionally when we’ve dined at Indian Restaurants, I’ve ordered hara bhara kebabs or tikkis. However, always felt that I could hardly taste the peas or spinach, it was like have potato tikkis. Making them at home is a whole different story as one can control the amount of ingredients that goes into the kebabs and also cost way less. Usually over the weekend I like to prepare snacks that we can enjoy while watching a movie on the telly. And that’s how I thought of making Hara Bhara Kebab or tikkis at home. The first time I made them followed a recipe that I had cut from Femina Magazine. Over time added a few of my own ingredients to suit our family’s taste buds.
Ingredients required for Hara Bhara Kebabs/Tikki:
- Fresh Peas – some recipes use raw minced ones but I prefer to boil and mince them. I find that the raw taste doesn’t go away as the kebabs are shallow fried in a pan.
- Fresh Spinach – frankly have not used frozen but am sure one can use that. Just make sure its not watery. I literally just blanch the spinach leaves in hot water. Remove them and then allow them to cool and dry a bit on a clean kitchen towel.
- Potato – boiled and mashed, you need it to hold the ingredients together.
- Chickpea Flour – besan, chana atta, used as a binding agent.
- Fresh Coriander – washed and finely chopped. Its then allowed to dry on a kitchen towel.
- Fresh Mint – add a few for flavouring
- Green Chillis – can use finely chopped but I prefer to mince them
- Ginger – either minced, paste or grated
- Garlic – use minced or paste
- Chaat Masala – don’t skip this ingredient as it brings adds a lot of flavour to the kebabs. I bought mine ready made from the store. If you want to make it at home then you can follow Sasmita’s recipe.
- Amchur Powder -that is dried raw mango powder. It adds a different kind of sourness to the dish. However, if you don’t have it add lemon juice.
- Salt – use any
- Chutney – Serve the kebabs with your favorite chutney. I served mine with a green chutney. It also goes really well with a Yogurt Chutney.
- Gluten Free
- For Satvik version, don’t add garlic
HARA BHARA KEBAB/TIKKI
For The Hara Bhara Kebabs/Tikki
- 2½ cups chopped spinach, tightly packed approx 100g
- 1 cup peas boiled/steamed
- 1 cup mashed potato
- ½ cup fresh coriander finely chopped
- 10-14 fresh mint leaves finely chopped
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- 1 tsp green chilli paste
- 1-2 tsp chaat masala powder
- ¼ tsp amchur powder or 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 - 1¼ tsp salt
- 3-4 tbsp chickpea flour besan
- oil for shallow frying
- 12 cashew nuts optional
- Preparation of the Hara Bhara Kebab Mixture:
- Boil some water in a deep pan. Add the spinach and remove immediately.
- Place them on a clean tea towel so that all the water gets soaked up.
- Do the same for the boiled or steamed peas, place them on a kitchen towel so it soaks up the water.
- Add peas and spinach in a food processor. Process to a coarse paste.
- Remove the pea spinach mixture and put it in a mixing bowl.
- Add boiled and mashed potato, salt, chickpea flour, chaat masala powder, amchur powder, mint, coriander, ginger, garlic and chilli pastes.
- Mix well. The mixture should not be too sticky. You should be able to shape it.
- If you find that you can't shape it then add about ¼ cup bread crumbs.
- Grease your hands with some oil and take about a tablespoonful of the mixture and shape into a flattish disc.
- Continue the above process with the remaining mixture.
- Split the cashew nuts into halves.
- Press one half into each shaped kebab or tikki.
- Heat some oil (about 2-3 tbsp) in a frying pan over medium heat.
- Place about 6-8 kebabs and let it cook till it turns golden brown colour. Flip them over gently and cook the other side.
- In this manner cook all the kebabs or tikkis.
- Serve with onion rings and your favourite chutney or tomato ketchup.
- Add spices according to your taste.
- Can replace the potato with mashed paneer.
- Add bread crumbs or crushed poha if you find that the mixture appears watery.
- It is important that the spinach and peas are dried well before processing them.
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