Thursday, July 1, 2010

So, what do you call them?

In a city I studied in, I would sit in a rather run-down restaurant with the boyfriend, holding hands and whispering sweet nothings. However, as soon as these were put on the table, the hands were hastily disentangled to grab these and sweet nothings gave way to shouts of 'repeat the order'.

In a city that gave me my first taste of financial independence, ever so often, I'd eat these at the railway station on my way back from work. The trains would come and go and with each passing minute, the crowds would swell. Each passing minute meant getting even a toehold in the train became increasingly difficult but even that concern didn't deter me from eating one.

In a city that I moved to soon after marriage, I stood on a street corner with my boss who was discussing the market, our targets and sales strategies. I was new to the bank and knew I had to respond with something intelligent but after one bite of these, the only intelligible thing I managed to say was "boy, these are so delicious!"

I knew them as kathi kebabs in Pune, frankies in Mumbai and egg rolls in Calcutta. In other parts of the world, they are also called shawarmas or burritos or tacos or doner kebabs or simply (sandwich) wraps.

No matter what you want to call them - I call them kathi kebabs - the basic premise is the same: a flat bread folded over some stuffing that has been drizzled over with some sauces/dressings.

'Out of sight, out of mind' best describes my relationship with them kathi kebabs. When they were easily available, I couldn't have enough of them. When they were not, I didn't seem to miss them at all.

However, when I saw these egg rolls on Sandeepa's blog early this year, the craving to eat some right away had me in its grip. Her post convinced me that I could make egg rolls at home. They seemed so easy to make and looked so inviting that I lost no time in making them!

In the pictures that follow, you'll notice that I've used (leftover) chapatis to make the kathi rolls - it is the only time I've taken pictures, so that is what you see here - but pay heed to Sandeepa's suggestion and use frozen parathas - I normally do - they make a world of difference to the final taste.

Before you make the kathi rolls, there's this little bit of pre-preparation that you need to do.


1. Marinate 1 boneless chicken leg (cut it into bite sized cubes) in 3 tbsps of yogurt + 1.5 tsps of garlic paste + 1 tsp of ginger paste + 1 tsp of chaat masala + rock salt.

Heat oil in a pan, fry half a sliced onion till it turns pink, add the marinated chicken and saute on a high flame till the chicken is cooked. Alternatively, you can even grill the chicken in an oven at 200 deg C.

2. Make the onion salad - slice an onion, to it add some chopped green chillies, chopped coriander leaves, rock salt and sugar. Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon and mix well.

3. Make the chapatis (Indian flatbread) or parathas or any other flat bread you choose to use.

Once your pre-preparation is done, making the kathi kebab is really quite simple:

1. Whisk together 1 egg + 1 tbsps of milk + a pinch of salt. Heat oil in a pan, pour the whisked egg. When the egg starts to cook around the edges.....

2. Put the chapati on top. After a minute....

3. Flip it over. Cook for another minute and then take it off the pan.

4. Put in the stuffing:

First, line the onion salad in the centre. Top it with the chicken kebabs. Squirt some sriracha chilli sauce or any other sauce of your choice.

(Nowadays, I make kathi kebabs to use up leftover food - chicken/mutton curry works brilliantly in these. Simply de-bone the meat and add curry in place of the sauce. Leftover paneer jalfrezi also tastes fantastic).

5. Fold and wrap the rolls in paper (you will ignore my rather messy looking paper napkin, won't you?), top with some more onion salad (keep lots of breath freshners handy) and chomp away!

Kathi Kebabs, inspired by Sandeepa's egg rolls, are my entry to Nupur's Blog Bites 5: Sandwiches and Wraps.

Speaking of events, Sra is hosting our food fiction event , 'Of Chalks and Chopsticks: 3' . So, spin her a yarn that has food as its main star and send it over to her on srablog{at}gmail{dot}com


  1. I used to call them kathi rolls in Delhi but like a true Bombayiite, I swear by Tibbs "Frankie" now.

  2. egg roll,frankies,stuffed it by any fav..and ur pics r making me drooool drooooool nad just drooooool....yum........

  3. My fav ... my fav! Been a while since I had some last ... gotta head to Kapila's (if u were in Pune u might know the name ) to munch on some soon. :-)

  4. The paratha looks rather healthy but still these have to be egg/ chicken or egg/ motton rolls. Look really tasty

  5. Whatever the name is, it looks delicious..i bet it tastes yummy too..

  6. I think it has the same name that you mentioned. They looks mouth watering, too bad that I don't eat eggs.

  7. Such a droolworthy wraps looks yummy and tempting..

  8. What a completely delicious post- and the memories of Tibbs frankies came flooding back as I read it. Thanks for participating in Blog Bites!

  9. Whatever you call 'em, they look very tempting.

  10. Dear Aquadaze
    Just wonderful writing ..I enjoyed .
    Very nice dish too...
    have a nice weekend

  11. Quite similar to frankies or veggie rolls we get here, nice step by step pics

  12. I called them frankie in Mumbai but now they are just wraps without the egg in them. Your post reminded me to make my grilled batata bhaji sandwich, which was a staple for me in the same said city, sans a boyfriend.

    @Sra, I gave you a plug too missy! Where is my thank you? :)

  13. Oh boy, you got me hungry. I do make them at home here, but not quite the same from the carts I used to eat from in Patna and Delhi.

  14. Yummy kathi rolls, beautifully explained with pictures. Kudos dear:)

  15. they look wonderful....and ur post made for wonderful usual

  16. loved your step-by-step presentation.. the pics are making us hungry here... good post

  17. Now I need to add chiken to mine. Will pass on the suggestion to the hubby ;-)

    Looks lovely


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