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Kati Roll served in Mumbai, India
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Kati roll is street-food originating from Kolkata, India. Its original form was a kati kabab enclosed in a paratha, but over the years many variants have evolved all of which now go under the generic name of Kati Roll. Today, pretty much any filling rolled up in any kind of Indian flatbread is called a kati roll.
The Kati Roll is said to have started its life from the Nizam Restaurant in Kolkata, a popular eatery founded in 1932 that sold kebabs and parathas and other Mughlai food in the heart of Kolkata. There are many stories about how exactly the roll got started. Some centre around harried office commuters who wanted something quick and portable, some mention British Babus who were too fastidious to touch the kabab. The most likely origin is probably more mundane, but in any case someone decided to roll things up at some point. Nizam enjoyed a virtual monopoly of this method of serving a kabab for decades, but it eventually became commonplace in Kolkata and later spread elsewhere.
The kati part of the name came later. Like everywhere in India, Nizam's used iron skewers to make their kababs; they were easy to maintain and lasted a lifetime. However, as Nizam's popularity grew, these long heavy iron skewers started becoming a problem; far more was required than could be handled. In 1964, Nizam moved to bamboo skewers that were lightweight and available in large numbers. These skewers are referred to in Bengali as kati or stick, and the names kati kabab and kati roll soon stuck. The name eventually became synonymous with any kind of paratha rolled with stuffing (even when neither kati nor kabab was involved) such as the egg roll or the potato roll, and later even for other breads such as naan or roomali.
Traditionally, a Kati Roll is a Kati Kabab wrapped in a layered paratha. The paratha is typically dough that is kneaded into a rope, then coiled into a round patty. This is then flattened with a rolling pin and partly fried in oil on a tawa. These semi-cooked parathas are then kept aside till needed, at which time they're put back on the tawa and cooked through. If an egg is to be added, it is usually cracked into the tawa and the paratha put on top of the egg; they both cook together and the paratha gets coated on one side with the egg.
Kati Kababs are chicken or mutton chunks marinated in spices and cooked on skewers (the "kati") over coals in a sigri. When the roll is being prepared, these are taken off the skewers and tossed with onions, chillies and sauces in the tawa, before being put in a thin strip in the centre of the paratha (egg side up if there is egg). At this stage, most roll vendors will put various kinds of sauces, a dash of vinegar, a squeeze of lime, sometimes a shake of chaat masala and maybe some julienned carrots. The whole thing is then rolled up in paper. In Kolkata, the paper usually covers only half the roll; elsewhere the paper will cover more or even all of the roll.
Today, the Kati Roll comes in a large number of variants. The innovations tend to be in two areas — the fillings or the wrap. Common variants on the filling are egg, potato, paneer, mixed vegetables and curried chicken or mutton. More exotic versions can have combinations of ingredients, or fancy curries such as Thai or Schezwan. In August 2012, the US-based fast food chain Taco Bell released a variant of the Kati Roll in India. The "Kathitto" is a combination of a Kati Roll and a Mexican-inspired burrito.
In the United States
The Kati Roll style has been seen on the menus of an increasing number of Indian Restaurants across the country.
- Taco Bell India Facebook Page. http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/547917_10151150910679813_1224265371_n.jpg. Retrieved 5 November 2012. Missing or empty