Locomotoring

Seven continents, seven seas, seven billion people and seven thousand good eats …

Famous kathi rolls of Calcutta

with one comment

Kathi Roll vendor on Park Street

Kathi Roll vendor on Park Street

Kathi rolls are Calcutta’s specialty cuisine. What is a kathi roll? It is a wrap – the outside is a flaky shallow fried flat bread and inside can be scrambled eggs or sauteed chicken or slow cooked mutton or a combination of meats with fried onions, chutneys and other spices. There are a few shops along the famous Park Street of Calcutta where the best kathi roll makers are to be found – the shops are typically small shacks and the popularity can be gauged by the length of the queue outside the shop.

The one I went to for an evening snack was located right outside the door of the historical building of Asiatic Society of India (coveted address of 1 Park Street). At least all that soot doing up the walls and windows of a historical building is not all in vain  if the rolls are indeed the best to be had in Calcutta. This particular shack had a single cook standing inside with two large frying pans – on one were slices of chicken and onions frying in a thin layer  – somewhat akin to meat searing at a taco stand, on another was the flaky bread with ladles of oil being poured on it. The cook barely had space to move around to stir the onions or flip the bread. A large quantity of kneaded dough lay on the counter. The assistant stood at the counter outside the shack chopping onions, lime and green chillies and customizing the orders by adding extra chillies or lime.

Hot green chillies

Hot green chillies

The roll took its time to arrive, about 10 minutes I would say. When it did, it was shaped like a narrow burrito wrapped partially with a thin wax paper. I have no idea where in the shop the cook found space to put together the wrap! The flat bread was thin, fried on the outside and chewy and moist inside – a result of putting generous amounts of oil in the dough during kneading. Chicken had the texture of thinly sliced kababs, the onions were crunchy without their raw taste.  Not bad – although my companion ruined her evening dress when the oil from the roll dripped down her elbows on to her clothes.

Standing outside the shop in the dim yellow light from the street lamps, and office crowd rushing home one could ignore the pile of rubbish that had collected outside. If you closed your eyes and ignored all that clanking and honking of Calcutta traffic, you could pretend … nah, never mind.

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Written by Som

March 1, 2010 at 9:50 am

One Response

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  1. […] at the same time – a container for an explosion of tastes and flavors. Read more about eating kathi rolls of […]


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