Sunday, January 20, 2008

Chicken Kaathi Kabab Roll

Kaathi Kabab Roll is a relatively new food to Pune and the first time I had discovered it was while interning for an industrial design company way back in 1991. We had just designed a sexy, stand-alone Dollops ice-cream parlour that stood outside the original Chinese room on East Street in Camp. It was a really boring job, having to supervise the labour with little or no contribution from yours truly. Just the way I like it. My then boss asked me if I was hungry and then suggested that we should get a Kathi Kabab roll. I didn’t know what it meant, but anything with the word kabab in it was cool with me. We got onto his cream coloured, fairly dented Bajaj Super with broken indicators and flew past Kayani Bakery to the corner of the block right opposite Victory talkies. A journey that took all of 30 seconds. As a rule, in Pune, walking is not only frowned upon, but ridiculed, too. At the corner of Central Bank stood a rusty, old, overloaded cart that was clearly a traffic violation in numerous ways. Divided into 3 parts, one housing tandoori chicken, one half cooked rotis and one with a rather huge tawa protruding out of two sides of the cart. It was 4:00 p.m. on a hot April day. In addition, the heat from the kabab cart made it unbearable. We stood in line and ordered two chicken tikka rolls with 2 cups of tea provided by the adjacent cart. Although it was much too hot for that kind of food, the smells from the cart were just too delicious to care. Our orders arrived on soggy paper plates that could barely hold the bulky rolls. They were however, a big improvement to the newspaper dishes provided by bhel vendors. Needless to say, my first bite of a Kaathi Kabab Roll was an out of the world experience. Although, many more carts dishing out the same fare mushroomed all over the city, this would be the cart I went to over and over again, even long after the design company I worked for went out of business. And, thanks to the incompetent road construction techniques employed by the PMC, the ice cream parlour that we once built is now almost at ground level and in a complete state of disrepair. Not to mention the parking situation makes it impossible to even get near it. The Kathi Kabab Wala, however, is doing extremely well and from what I hear has an even bigger cart with more traffic violations. God bless him.


For Roti
2 cups Wheat flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt
3 tsp oil
Water to knead

For filling:
6 Chicken Drumsticks
1 tbsp Tandoori Masala (Click for recipe) or available readymade at all Indian stores
2 tbsp yoghurt
1 tsp ginger and garlic paste
1/2 tsp Chili
1/2 tsp Turmeric

3 Eggs beaten
1/2 cup chopped Cilantro
1 Thinly Sliced Onion
1 Thinly sliced Tomato
1/2 cup Tamarind and Date Chutney (click for recipe)
1/2 cup Mint Chutney (click for recipe)

Knead all ingredients into a smooth dough and leave aside for an hour.
Make Rotis and leave them aside half cooked.

Make a marinade out of the Tandoori Masala, Ginger, Garlic, Chili, Turmeric and Salt and Yogurt.
Make it runny by adding a little water
Marinate the Chicken legs in the marinade
When marinated for a while, cook either on a grill or broil in the oven till the surface is crisp.
Pull flesh off the legs and place it aside.

Making the Roll
Heat a tava (skillet)
Roast the roti on one side and flip it
Pour 1 tbsp egg on the roti
Spread it around as the other side of the roti cooks.
Flip roti so that egg side touches the skillet
Allow egg to cook.
Remove from skillet once egg is cooked and place on a plate egg side up.
Place Tandoori chicken on the roti in a generous single line
Add onions, tomatoes and cilantro.
Drizzle a little lemon juice, tamarind date chutney and mint chutney
Roll tightly into a wrap
Slice diagonally
Garnish with cilantro.

Serve with hot with mint chutney

(You can substitute chicken for any meat or fish, potato or paneer.)