Succulent. Nectarious. Luscious. Orgasmic. The Kolkata wrap.
The juices dribble down your chin. Greasy fingers. There's a crunch - yet it's soft. Relish what you hold in your hand. The flavours of tender meat entwined in a freshly fried parantha. You aint had nuthin, nuthin like it before. It's precious. Savour them bites. It's an unforgettable munch. The rolls call!
Them were the times, when after a night show at the movies, or after swinging at Park Street or just because one wanted to, at 2am - one went to Nizam's to have Kati Rolls for dinner. The place was always humming in them wee hours. Them were the times…
Nizam's, founded in 1932, was the birthplace and only mandatory-to-go for Kati Rolls. Nizam - yup, fit for any Nawab in the land. Sadly, the place and their Kati Rolls have not recovered after their union problems. Kusum, on Park Street - is the new kid on the block. They continue with the similar zest as Nizam's, to titillate, satiate and fulfil them desirous bites.
Vandy's on a roll!
Do's & Don'ts
- Give it 10-15 seconds for the roll to cool a tad, before you take your first bite.
- Have a handkerchief/tissue/some scrap of cloth to keep wiping the dribble off your chin - and to wipe your hands afterwards.
- Eat the roll a tad away from your body. Don't want to soil that t-shirt, do ya ?
- Watch when the man is laying out the roll - you gotta say 'nah nah nah' - if you don't want raw onions, bits of green chillies or the variety of 'sauces' [a recent addition - them sauces. tsk].
- Find a quiet place to stand on the pavement - without somebody continuously bumping into you.
- Nah nah - don't walk and eat. Eat. Then walk. What's the hurry ??
- Try not to talk to your 'accompaniment' ;). Jeez - this aint a sit-down meal for two. Have someone by your side - fine. But the experience is solely individualistic.
- Slowly, take it slow. Please do not gobble and gulp. Let them juices have the chance to mingle with each other. Synergise them senses.
What & How
It begins with a ball of flour-dough that is rolled out into a parantha (flatbread). This is fried in a pool of oil on high heat. Result - soft, flaky and crunchy on the edges paranthas.
It's custom-made - the parantha is either cooked plain or with an egg, or two (single/double andaa) on top.
You have a choice in the linear filling of kebab. Either chicken / mutton / paneer (cottage cheese) / just egg. This is layered with thin slices of raw red onions, green chillies, a dash of seasonings, sauces (??) - with a squeeze of lime.
The roll calls.
Have's & Why Not
- Egg (andaa) roll - parantha fried with single egg + the layerings**
- Chicken/mutton roll - no eggs. One sheekh of chicken/mutton + layerings**
- Egg chicken or mutton roll - one egg fried with parantha + one sheekh of mutton or chicken + the layerings**.
- Double Egg roll - parantha fried with two eggs + layerings**.
- Double Egg/ double chicken or mutton roll - two eggs fried with parantha + two sheekhs of either chicken or mutton + layerings**… and so on.
- Paneer Rolls have been introduced for them just-vegetarians - who want a twang in their tongue!
- My personal favourite is the single egg, double mutton roll - one egg fried with the parantha with two sheeks of mutton + layerings**.
- If it's your first time - I'd suggest a egg chicken or mutton roll. It's tastier, juicier and smoother with the egg than without.
** slices of raw red onions, green chillies, a dash of seasonings, sauces (??)
Vandy's double egg double mutton roll!
Why & Therefore
Oh go on you, you're not having it everyday - gawddamit.
What makes the kebabs special are, they're grilled over a charcoal sigri. This makes the kebabs soft, moist with a hint of charcoal aroma.
The spices with which to marinate them kebabs are classified.
Kati Rolls are now available in most Metros in the land. Euckh is the word that comes to my mind when I have them, anywhere but in Kolkata.
You do not make rolls with Rumali Roti for chrissakes.
You do not heat the kebabs with some onion'y curry thingee.
… and excuse me - that parantha is so thin and dry.
Rolls at Bedouin, south Kolkata - are way below par too.
Origins of the Kati Roll
This information is taken from all over the web.
As the story goes, a hurried British guest was once offered a kebab wrapped in a chapati by the cook. The guest loved it so much that the cook kept working on the idea till it eventually evolved into what we know as the roll today.
Another story says - the British sahib did not want his fingers messed whilst eating the kebab, hence asked the bawarchi (chef) to wrap it in a paratha.
In days of yore - Nizams had the kebabs pierced into iron rods before plunging them onto the charcoal. These iron rods lasted for generations.
As time went by - a cheaper and convenient substitute was discovered. Bamboo sticks. Kathi = sticks, in Bengali. Hence… Kathi or Kati! 'Kati' rolls gentler off the tongue.
Whatever the story - the Kati Rolls of Kolkata are the real McCoy - all others are mere wannabe's.
Latest comments for Kati Rolls and Street Food in Kolkata
do miss him on this thread. do hope sincerely, he takes a peek sometime.
you are too kind pap. thank you.
comment on nizam rolls - from my mail ...
" I totally agree - for Kati rolls, Nizam's is DA place.
Now you were not expecting ambience! Right?
Forget about granite-top mirror-shine, consider yourself lucky to get a clean table.
Even the aroma is something to get used to.
Then again, when your loved one gets as old as Nizam, expect a whiff of Bengay with Chanel.
Some of the waiters are most likely imported from Maxim's of Paris.
They certainly have what the young Americans call "attitude".
So, you went for the rolls. Just get them, bite on one, and delve into your meditative zone.
By the way, I believe the first Bedwin that started near Gariahat spelled it as Bedwin.
I remember because I wondered about the cunning conjunction of the two words !! "
true. true. had been rolling over my true passion - hai hai [oh well...]
was writing gibberish on another thread all these days - useless, time-consuming, intellect-challenged gibberish
just wish - these articles could come in a 'thread' format too.
is it possible ? much more 'activity' on threads.
if not - its ok too
The Gariahat Bedwin still remains.I wonder what the guy was thinking of when he thought of Bedwin, am sure he had noble thoughts !
Maybe he thought of the bedouin (nomadic arabic tribe), but lost his way in translation.
[noise Homer Simpson makes when thinking of donuts]
[IMG]<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/abracax/9324962628/" title="Nizams-red by Abracax Photo, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3673/9324962628_2925c33dd2_o.jpg" width="1000" height="667" alt="Nizams-red"></a>[/IMG]
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- May 2010