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Recipe: Bangalore Iyengar Bakery Palya Bun aka Stuffed Potato Bun

July 27, 2014

Fresh-out-of-the-oven-palya-bunPalya buns aka Potato buns

It has been ages since I sank my teeth into one of these spicy potato stuffed buns that we get back in my hometown of Bangalore. Ubiquitous at every Iyengar Bakery, these soft buns are filled with spicy potato filling and are very addictive. If you have them once, you will never be able to forget the taste, that’s how good they are! In the Bay Area, we get every type of baked and fried Indian goodies, like vegetable puffs, samosas etc but palya bun (aka potato bun) has never made it onto any bakery’s menu. Trust me, I’ve looked everywhere. The closest I’ve come to replicating the mouth-watering taste of palya bun is with Russian piroshky. There’s also the Mediterranean gozleme which is actually more like aloo-paratha rather than a potato bun. One might say Spanish empanadas come close, but the puff pastry dough does not do the same justice as white bread does to palya bun. And none of these versions are as spicy as the ones we get back in Bangalore. So, in my quest to replicate the one-and-only palya bun of Bangalore’s Iyengar Bakery fame, I turned to the internet. After scouring a handful of recipes, here’s what I came up with –

1. The dough

Pizza-Dough-Whole-FoodsReady-made pizza dough

Making the dough from scratch is a great idea. I just wasn’t sure that’s for me. For my first attempt at making palya buns, I went with ready-made pizza dough. You can get this in the frozen pizza section of any grocery store like Safeway or Whole Foods. I wasn’t sure how using pizza dough would impact the authenticity of the potato buns, but the end product was amazingly soft and crispy at the same time. It was so quick and easy to use the ready-made pizza dough instead of making my own from scratch. Definitely saved a lot of time and effort!

2. The palya

Spicy-Potato-Palya-MixSpicy potato palya

The palya is straightforward to make. You can use your own recipe or tweak my version.

a) Peel the skin off of 4 large potatoes. Boil them on stovetop, in the microwave or in the pressure cooker until they are soft. Use a fork and mash them gently.

b) Heat some oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds, chopped green chillies, curry leaves (optional) and saute for a bit.

c) Add ginger garlic paste, garam masala (optional), finely chopped onion and continue sauteing until the onions turn translucent.

d) When the onions are fried and translucent, add the mashed potatoes, turmeric, red chilli powder (spice as per taste), salt and mix thoroughly.

e) Garnish with finely chopped cilantro and keep aside to cool.

3. The process

a) Preheat oven to 375 degrees

b) While waiting for the palya to cool down, get the dough prepped. With the ready-made pizza dough, I found it easy to break apart the dough into 6 balls of equal size. Note that the pizza dough is stretchy, but you should be able to stretch the dough a bit to make a flat surface onto which you can put the potato stuffing.


c) When the potato mixture has cooled down a bit, take the dough in one hand. Stretch it out until it covers the palm of your hand. Spoon some potato mixture onto the dough. Pull the edges of the dough towards the center over the potato mixture, ensuring that the dough completely engulfs the potato palya. This is similar to making aloo-paratha where you stuff the potato mixture inside the chapati (wheat flour) dough.


d) When you have sealed the bun completely (pinching the dough works), keep it seal-down on a greased baking tray, lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Similarly prepare the other buns and keep them on the baking tray.

e) Brush the tops of the buns with olive oil, milk or egg white. This is to give it a golden brown sheen during baking. I used milk which was handy.

f) Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top of the buns and pop them into the oven and bake for 20-30 mins until golden brown. Oven times vary, so keep checking to make sure they don’t burn.

g) When they are golden brown and you can smell the aroma of freshly baked bread and potatoes, your palya buns are ready!

h) Wait till they cool down a bit before you bite into one.

4. The end product

Bangalore-Iyengar-Bakery-Style-Potato-BunPalya bun, cut open to cool down

I wasn’t sure what to expect, given that I was using pizza dough and this was my first attempt at making these. But they turned out to be amazing! The pizza dough was soft and chewy on top, and crispy on the bottom of the bun. The potato palya was deliciously spicy. One bite and I was transported to our neighborhood Iyengar bakery, which we have frequented throughout our childhood and still make a beeline for whenever in India.

Hope you try out this recipe and enjoy this version of Bangalore Iyengar Bakery’s famous palya (potato) buns. Happy eating!

~ Trupti


From → Bangalore, Food, Recipes

  1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) permalink

    Back in 2006, I spent 2 months in Bangalore and visited a branch of Iyengar bakery – I can’t believe I missed out on trying these! Maybe it’s time I ask my Mum to work her magic in the kitchen 🙂

    • Haha, let me know how you like them. These are easy to make with the readymade dough. The next time you are in Bangalore, I hope you get to try these piping hot from an Iyengar bakery oven! 🙂

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