Hara bhara kabab are a popular healthy and delicious appetizer cum snack made with spinach, potatoes, peas, spices and herbs. These vegan and gluten-free spinach potato patties are filled with a burst of Indian flavors and are super addictive! These easy vegetarian hara bhara kabab are hearty, healthy and are sure to satisfy the palate. Serve them with a cup of Indian chai, green chutney, mint chutney or with your favorite dip. In this post I share with you 3 easy methods to cook these hara bhara kabab – pan fried, baked and air fried.
About hara bhara kabab
Hara bhara kabab are North Indian vegetarian kabab patties made with spinach, boiled potatoes, herbs, green peas, flour and spices. The word ‘Hara’ means ‘green’ in Hindi and ‘bhara’ means ‘filled’ and kabab is a piece of meat or vegetable that is most commonly char grilled.
So hara bhara kabab are vegetarian kababs that are filled with the goodness of greens. These are a popular appetizer in the North Indian restaurants. These are super-duper delicious with a damn good smoky flavor since they are grilled in tandoor, a clay oven.
But not all restaurant serve the best hara bhara kababs. A lot of times you will also find them super soggy, greasy and tasteless.
My easy recipe will help you make the best hara bhaara kababs at home, better than what you may encounter in a lot of restaurants. The only thing you will miss is the smoky flavor as we are not making this on fire or smoking them.
These are a good and quick energy boosting snack that even the fussiest kid is going to enjoy them. I make these quite often for my kids as an after school snack. Sometimes we also put these spinach patties in burgers and my boys absolutely love them. You may check this link for more kids’ friendly healthy snacks recipes.
How to make hara bhara kabab (stepwise photos)
1. Clean and pluck 120 grams of palak (about 3½ to 4 cups). Add them to a large pot of water. I usually sprinkle some vinegar & salt over the leaves. Rest for a while and then rinse them in ample amount of water. Repeat rinsing thrice and drain them to a colander until the excess water drains up completely.
2. Boil 300 grams potatoes until fork tender, meaning they should be just cooked and not mushy. If using a pressure cooker, cook them for 3 to 4 whistles. To cook in Instant pot, cut each large potato to 2 pieces & place them on the trivet. Pressure cook them for 6 mins. Cool them and peel.
3. Pour 1 teaspoon oil to a pan. Fry ¾ inch ginger (chopped) and 1 to 3 green chilies for 30 seconds. I used only 1 as my kids’ can’t eat hot foods.
4. Add 1 cup green peas. Saute on a medium high flame for 4 to 5 minutes until soft & tender. If the peas are not tender, you will have to cover and cook for a little longer. Since we are not going to deep fry the patties, peas will not be cooked much further.
5. Add spinach and saute on a medium high flame until the leaves wilt completely. Ensure there is no water when you add the spinach to the pan otherwise it will let out too much moisture.
6. Cool these completely.
7. Transfer all the sauteed ingredients along with the half cup coriander leaves to a grinder jar. Ensure there is no water in the coriander leaves otherwise the puree will be too moist.
8. Blend all of them to a smooth paste.
9. Crumble the potatoes in the mixing bowl. Transfer the spinach peas puree. Ensure potatoes are completely cool. Then add the following
- ¾ teaspoon garam masala
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon chaat masala or 1 tablespoon lemon juice
10. Add 2 tablespoons roasted gram flour (sattu or roasted besan). [Tip: To make sattu, add 2 tablespoons roasted gram to a grinder jar and powder.]
Also add ¼ cup bread crumbs or poha powder. [Tip: To make poha powder, add half cup poha to a grinder and powder it.] Check recipe notes for more substitutes & tips.
11. Mix all the ingredients to make a non-sticky & fairly stiff dough. Otherwise the kababs will turn soft and soggy from inside. If the mixture is not stiff enough or you want the patties to be very crispy, then add more bread crumbs or poha powder. [Tip: If it turns sticky, then add more flour or poha or bread crumbs. But I do not add any more].
12. Divide the dough to 10 equal portions. Roll them to balls. If your dough turns sticky, grease your fingers. I did not do it. Place the dough ball on your palm and flatten them to 2½ to 3 inch kabab. If you see the edges crack, join them. Keep them on a plate. You can even coat the patties in dry bread crumbs. Press them well and set aside for 5 to 7 minutes for the crumbs to stick well.
Making hara bhara kabab
13. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a fry pan. Spread it well. When the pan is hot, place the kababs. If the pan is not hot enough, the kababs will stick to the pan.
For baking in oven and air frying, check instructions in the recipe card below.
14. When they are roasted to golden and crisp on the bottom, flip them gently and fry on the other side as well. I had to add another half tablespoon oil after flipping. A high flame yields fairly browned but crispy patties in little time.
Serve hara bhara kabab with a sauce or yogurt coriander chutney. We served with mint chutney and homemade tomato ketchup. These can also be served as patties to make a burger.
Hara bhara kabab are best when served just out of the pan since they are crispy. They tend to loss the crispness when cooled down because they are not deep fried.
If you have kids who love burgers, then they may like these hara bhara kabab as patties in veg burger. I spread some hung curd inside the burger. But you can also use some tomato ketchup or eggless mayo.
Hara bhara kabab are my kids’ favorite and they love these in their burgers.
You can also make a yummy chaat by adding dates tamarind chutney, sev, onions, tomatoes topped over it.
Hara bhara kabab translates to kababs that are loaded with greens. So these are made with lots of spinach, green peas, coriander leaves and potatoes. Here are some variations I often make to the recipe
1. I am a health nut and prefer to reduce the consumption of potatoes even for my kids, so sometimes I make these with sweet potatoes.
2. Usually hara bhara kababs are made with roasted gram flour or besan. I feel it is a bit of work to do it on a low flame. So I replace it with powdered poha. You can also use fiber rich red poha.
3. If the peas are not young, then I steam them along with potatoes.
4. If you are on a low oxalate diet then blanch the spinach in 3 cups of boiling water. Drain completely and blend them with peas.
Hara bhara kabab recipe
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 300 grams potatoes (2 large or 3 medium)
- ½ cup coriander leaves
- 1 cup green peas (frozen or fresh)
- 1 to 3 green chilies (less spicy kind)
- 120 grams spinach (palak – 3½ cups)
- ¾ inch ginger
- 1 teaspoon oil (to saute)
- 2 tablespoon roasted gram flour (sattu or powdered poha or bread crumbs) (refer notes)
- ¼ cup bread crumbs (or powdered poha) (refer notes)
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- ¾ teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon chaat masala (or 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
- 1½ tablespoons oil (for pan frying kababs)
- Pluck and rinse the spinach well in lots of water thrice. Transfer them to a colander to ensure all the water has drained. Keep these aside.
- Rinse and boil potatoes in a pot or cooker until fork tender (just cooked without turning mushy). To boil in pressure cooker, cook for 3 to 4 whistles. To cook in Instant pot, I cut each potato to 2 pieces and pressure cooked them 6 minutes.
- Cool them completely and peel the potatoes.
- Pour 1 teaspoon oil to a pan and heat it. Saute ginger & green chilies for 30 seconds.
- Then add green peas and saute them for 4 to 5 mins, until the raw smell goes away.
- Add palak & saute on a medium high flame until it wilts off completely. (Or If you are on a low oxalate diet, then you can also blanch the palak in 3 cups hot water, drain completely and use it to blend with green peas.) But the sauteing method tastes best.
- Turn off the stove and cool all of these. Add them to a small grinder/ blender along with coriander leaves.
- Blend all of them to a smooth paste without adding water.
How to make hara bhara kabab
- Crumble the potatoes in a mixing bowl & add the ground green peas and spinach paste.
- Add salt, garam masala, chaat masala, roasted gram flour and bread crumbs.
- Mix all of them to a non-sticky dough. If the dough turns sticky, then add more bread crumbs to absorb excess moisture. This is optional.
- Divide the dough to 10 portions. Roll them to balls. Flatten them to shape like patties or kababs. Keep them aside.
- To pan fry: Heat a griddle with 1 tablespoon oil. When the pan turns hot, place the hara bhara kababs on the pan and pan fry them until golden & crisp.
- To grill them in oven: Preheat the oven to 200 C for 15 minutes and place the patties on a greased tray. Brush the kababs with oil and grill them for 10 mins on each side. Adjust the timings as needed.
- To air fry: Brush them with oil and place them in the basket. Air fry at 180 C for 10 mins on each side. After 10 mins check and flip them to the other side and air fry for another 10 mins. Adjust the timings as needed. If your air fryer needs preheating, preheat it before air frying them.
- Serve hara bhara kabab with yogurt cilantro chutney, ketchup or green chutney.
- You can avoid bread crumbs and roasted gram flour completely and use only powdered poha.
- Roasted gram flour is powdered fried gram also known as sattu. To make this add fried gram to grinder jar and powder it. Alternately you can also use roasted besan.
- If you don’t want to use roasted gram flour and poha, yon use only bread crumbs.
- Potato can be replaced with sweet potatoes or raw banana in the recipe.
- You can also fry them in ghee if serving to kids.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
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