100 Favorite Dishes: No. 62, Dabeli at Bansuri Indian Food Corner

Beware that Bansuri is closed until the end of this month. I wasn't aware of this before showing up there last week to take a photo of its dabeli and coming away massively disappointed.
Beware that Bansuri is closed until the end of this month. I wasn't aware of this before showing up there last week to take a photo of its dabeli and coming away massively disappointed.

​This year leading up to our annual Best of Houston issue, we're counting down our 100 favorite dishes in Houston. This list comprises our favorite dishes from the last year, dishes that are essential to Houston's cultural landscape and/or dishes that any visitor (or resident) should try at least once.

I came to Bansuri for the first time to try its dahi puri, those little puffs of chickpea-and-chutney-filled chaat that have driven me to nearly every Indian and Pakistani restaurant in Houston, searching for the most perfect and pristine example. I didn't find that at Bansuri, but what I did find was dabeli.

Dabeli are basically Indian sliders. I almost hate to refer to them that way, as the title of "sliders" tends to cheapen nearly anything it's applied to. But that's the easiest way to explain them: a savory potato mix that's shaped into a patty and placed between two slightly sweet fluffy buns. The potato mix is seasoned with cumin, with currents of warm cinnamon and nutmeg alternating from the bun itself which, according to Chili Bob's Houston Eats, is made according to an old family recipe.

And although it's called "Bansuri Indian Food Corner," don't be fooled into thinking this is a restaurant; it's a food truck. In Missouri City. With very short hours. But your drive to Bansuri will pay off considerably even if you just spring for two dabeli for $5, especially as the dabeli are liberally garnished with some of Bansuri's wonderful homemade chutneys. Just make sure to call ahead to verify that it's open, ensuring your drive isn't in vain: 713-624-2009.

The list so far:

No. 100: Dumplings at Heights Asian Cafe No. 99: Mixta Pizza at Friends Pizzeria No. 98: Veggie tacos from Radical Eats No. 97: Bean pie from Conscious Cafe No. 96: Swiss chard crepes from Giacomo's Cibo e Vino No. 95: Eggs Mia Bella at Mia Bella No. 94: Mulligatawny soup at the Queen Vic No. 93: Helado de Lúcuma from Pollo Bravo No. 92: Black bean burger from Natachee's No. 91: Chupacabra pizza from ERA No. 90: Roast chicken from El Norteño No. 89: Eggs El Salvador from Brasil No. 88: Frank the Pretzel from Eatsie Boys No. 87: Caldo Tlalpeño from Tacos del Julio No. 86: English pea soup at Brasserie 19 No. 85: Falafel from Zabak's No. 84: Buttermilk-fried pork loin with fried eggs at Canopy No. 83: Grillades and grits from BB's Cajun Cafe No. 82: Haemul dolsot from Seoul House No. 81: Pandan waffles at Parisian Bakery III No. 80: Pita bread and hummus at Phoenicia No. 79: Goat pepper soup at Peppersoup Cafe No. 78: Melon and Texas feta salad from Beaver's No. 77: Hot Italian beef from BB's Beef & Hot Dog No. 76: Bacon-avocado burger from Facundo Cafe No. 75: Pancakes from Fountain View Cafe No. 74: Hobnobs from Fluff Bake Bar No. 73: Chu chee eggplant from Nidda Thai No. 72: Sausage sampler from King's Biergarten No. 71: Shawarma from Abdallah's No. 70: Moules-frite at the Broken Spoke No. 69: Hong Kong-style French toast at House of Bowls No. 68: Sashimi sampler at Sushi Miyagi No. 67: Baleadas from Honduras Mayan No. 66: Snow ice from Star Snow Ice & Teriyaki No. 65: Boudin balls from MerCheri's No. 64: Miso ramen at Umai No. 63: Grim burger at Lankford Grocery



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