Hara Bhara meaning ‘packed with greens’ is a vegetarian kebab made with several fresh green vegetables like peas and spinach and lightly pan fried. You can omit the cashews in this recipe, even the paneer filling if you prefer a vegan version. The key is to use fresh vegetables, process them so you retain the colour and spice delicately so as not to over power the flavours of delicious vegetables. Watch IGTV @deshpandetara for the recipe video


INGREDIENTS Makes 12 2 inch Hara Bhara Kebabs

2 cups of fresh cooked spinach, drained

1.5 cups of cooked (preferably blanched) fresh or frozen green peas

1 loosely packed cup of coriander or cilantro leaves, stalks removed

2-3 Indian green chillies coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon chana dal or yellow Bengal gram

2 tablespoons of unsalted cashew pieces


4 tablespoons of vegetable oil plus more for frying

1 tablespoon of ghee or oil

2 whole green cardamom

3 whole cloves

1/4 inch stick cinnamon

1-2 tsp of good quality mild, lighter coloured garam masala

1/4 teaspoon powdered seeds of green cardamom

Half a cup of fresh paneer crumbled and rolled into 12 small balls

Salt to taste


2 inches of vegetable oil in a heavy bottom non stick skillet

1.5 cups of breadcrumbs plus 1.5 tablespoons

Paste made with 1/4 cup cornflour and a little water


Toast the cashews in a skillet until golden on a medium flame. Cool and chop into small pieces. Reserve.

Toast the chana dal until golden brown in a skillet on medium flame. Cool and powder. Reserve.

Heat oil and ghee in the skillet on a high flame. Add spices for tempering and saute one minute until fragrant. Drain and discard spices and lower flame to medium. Add the spinach to the spiced oil and saute lightly 1 minute stirring to prevent burning. Add the garlic and ginger paste and saute 2 minutes.

Add green chillies, garam masala, coriander leaves and cardamom powder. Saute well.

Add the peas and saute 1-2 minutes until there is no liquid left in the spinach and all the spices and oil are evenly incorporated. Overcooking will affect the colour of the vegetables.

Salt to taste.

Blitz in a food processor to a coarse consistency. Do not puree into a paste.

You want a chunky consistency that holds together when you form the kebabs.

Manually mix in the roasted channa flour and roll into 10-12 kebabs. Taste for salt and adjust.

Flatten each kebab in your hand and place a small ball of the paneer in the centre. Close the spinach dough around it so as to completely conceal the paneer.

Lightly dip into the cornflour paste and then gently press into the breadcrumbs to coat evenly. Repeat with all the other 11 balls.

Heat 2 inches of oil in a skillet on medium flame.When oil is hot but not smoking fry 5-6 kebabs at a time until golden brown on all sides.

Drain over paper towels. Serve hot.