These Aloo Bun Kabab are probably my favorite savory recipe I've shared on this blog! My take on a popular Pakistani street food, these are sliders made with spicy potato patties (called "tikkis") fried in egg, spicy mint and coriander sauce ("chutney"), a sweet and tangy tamarind sauce, and soft buns toasted in ghee. The result is absolutely spectacular - every bite is an explosion of flavors in your mouth, a perfect blend of spicy, sweet and tangy.
WHAT ARE BUN KABAB?
The term "Bun Kabab" refers to a burger or slider with a kabab patty inside. Bun Kababs are a popular street food in Pakistan, and versions of it are made and enjoyed all over the Indian subcontinent (for example, "Vada Pav"). However, being Pakistani myself, I can only speak about the Pakistani bun kababs with confidence. And I can tell you, with confidence, that even if you aren't Pakistani or familiar with our cuisine, you will absolutely love these!
WHAT ARE BUN KABAB MADE OF?
There are different variations of Bun Kababs, and many people will be ready to argue about which is the "real" one. I think they are all incredible in their own right:
- Meat based bun kababs. The kababs in these are made with minced beef or chicken, which are also called "shami kababs"
- Daal based bun kababs. The kababs in these are made with daal (lentils)
- Potato based bun kababs. The kababs are essentially potato patties, called "aloo tikkis"
- A combination of the above. Most commonly, daal is added to potatoes or meat
Regardless of what type of kabab is used, a Bun Kabab is incomplete without these condiments and additions which amp up their flavor and texture:
- Egg. Typically, the kabab is wrapped in a Pakistani-style crispy omelet to add texture and flavor. Sometimes the kababs are dipped in egg before frying, which is what I do in this recipe. However, the egg can be omitted for dietary preferences or allergies
- Sauces or "chutneys". I would argue this is the heart of a good Bun Kabab! There are many different types of chutneys used in Bun Kababs, ranging from a mint chutney to tamarind to ketchup. The idea is to add spicy, sweet and tangy flavors
- Garnish. This can be as simple as sliced onions or fancier like coleslaw
- Soft, toasted buns. The buns have to be ultra soft and slightly sweet for Bun Kababs. They are typically toasted in some ghee or butter for the best flavor
WHAT ARE THESE ALOO BUN KABAB MADE OF?
I opted for an aloo / potato based Bun Kabab for this recipe. Not only are they easiest to make with the most accessible ingredient, they are also vegetarian friendly.
These bun kababs have 6 components:
- Aloo tikki. This is the potato patty made with boiled mashed potatoes, onion, ginger, garlic, spices, lemon and cilantro. It is quite simple to make and absolutely delicious! The Aloo Tikki can also be enjoyed on its own, or paired with a simple Pakistani meal such as Daal Chawal (rice and lentils). The filling is also great for samosas!
- Egg dip. Instead of making omelets separately, I like to dip the aloo tikkis inside whipped eggs and then fry them until golden on both sides. This reduces the amount of steps while getting to the same outcome
- Spicy green chutney. This is a simple sauce made with fresh mint and coriander / cilantro as a base. Blend them with green chilis, garlic, yogurt and spices until a spicy, fresh chutney forms
- Tamarind chutney. This is a sweet and tangy chutney made from tamarind ("imli"). While you are welcome to use homemade, I use bottled tamarind chutney (e.g., from the brand Mitchells) as I don't have the patience to make it from scratch
- Slider buns. I used King's Hawaiian Hawaiian Sweet Sliders, which are a smaller size and have the perfect slightly sweet flavor. However, you can use any soft sliders you like. You toast the buns in ghee or butter on both sides
- Garnish. To keep things simple, I just do thinly sliced onions. But you can also add other veggies like sliced tomatoes or lettuce if you like
HOW TO MAKE ALOO BUN KABAB
First, check out this short video in which I demonstrate the method:
Now let's quickly go over the steps (full detailed instructions are in the brown recipe card at the bottom of this post):
- Prepare the aloo tikkis. Prepare a simple masala with onion, ginger, garlic, green chilis and spices. Add boiled potatoes and mash them up. End with a squeeze of lemon and fresh chopped cilantro. Taste and adjust the spices as needed. Once the mixture has cooled down slightly, divide it into 12 equal portions, and form each portion into a circular patty, about 2.5" in diameter. You can also make them larger and thinner based on how large your slider buns are
- Make the green chutney. This is as simple as combining all ingredients in a blender or food processor, and blending until a smooth sauce forms. It will be a little chunky, that's totally fine
- Whip up the eggs. Whisk eggs with salt and chili flakes until very foamy
- Fry the aloo tikkis. Heat up a generous amount of oil in a wide frying pan. Dip each aloo tikki in the eggs, and fry for ~3-4 minutes per side until golden and crispy
- Toast the buns. As you are frying the aloo tikkis, start toasting the buns in a little butter or ghee in a separate pan, getting both sides a light golden color
- Assemble. It's time to assemble! Spread a generous amount of tamarind chutney on the bottom half of each slider bun. Top with the fried aloo tikkis, then some green chutney, sliced onions, and top off with the top half of the buns. Press down slightly
- Serve & enjoy! I love eating Bun Kababs with some more tamarind chutney on the side
Don't forget to check out other popular savory recipes on the blog! Here are a few:
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Yes, you may skip the egg and fry the aloo tikkis on their own until golden and crispy on both sides.
No! These Bun Kababs are not too spicy. The green chutney is the main spicy component, and you can adjust the quantity based on your preference.
Tamarind chutney is the only ingredient not commonly found in regular American grocery stores. But don't worry - tamarind chutney can be found at all Indian / South Asian grocery stores.
You can prepare the aloo tikkis and green chutney in advance. Store the aloo tikkis in the fridge, placing wax paper between them so they don't stick. Then fry and assemble everything when you are ready to serve.
You can store these in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in the oven for best results.