Rolling it out

Every evening when I am left starved to satiate my appetite in a city of “chaats” I remember the rolls that Kolkata is famous for. In my recent visit to Bangalore I discovered a clean joint by the name “Kaati Zone” where I had ordered a Turkish Roll. A great place facing Church Street to wind up with your friends before you hit dinner.  Prices are moderate for the simple decor and great food. Rolls of all sorts of fillings are available and vegetarians have a farely good option beyond paneer.

But truly if you want to taste mouth watering rolls you have to come down to city of joy. A city which breathes and lives on street food – from phuchkas to rolls to city’s favourite invention “chowmein” and “chilli chicken”. This post remains dedicated to my all time favourite “Rolls”. What is a Roll? Th basic ingredients that are used for preparing this delicacy are : Flour, oil, salt and sugar. For the filling: Chicken pieces/ cubes, Mutton pieces/ cubes , Egg, Paneer, Mushroom, Fish tikka. If you know how to knead your flour for parantha (flattened fried bread) you know how to make a roll. The longer you leave and set it aside ; the better it gets. After that divide the kneaded flour into equal portions and take a rolling pin to roll it out on a flat surface. Shift this flattened piece of bread to a hot tawa. Add oil to the sides and fry both sides and keep it aside. For the filling use your imagination. For instance you can use some fish tikka, sprinkle a little bit of chaat masala, salt and squeeze a generous amount of lime and finish off with some green chillies to add that colour. But guess what tastes best, the Egg rolls that are piled up in mobile carts of street hawkers. They are the best.

It is a sight to watch how these cooks play up with spatulas frying and tossing the paranthas and with the precision the egg yolk lands on the middle of the parantha and then is carefully spread out to the edges. The assistant cook then finishes off the dish with onions, cucumber, dollops of tomato sauce, dash of chilli sauce and if you are a regular customer he might advise you to stay away from tomato and chilli sauce and instead add the lemon zest which he must have squeezed for at least five rolls and finish off with green chillies.

Despite the way they make it some of my favourite picks for the famous Rolls of Kolkata are

Nizam: Visit any of their outlets for the basic Chicken roll. Their bread is soft, yet crisp. They even have combinations like Egg Chicken, Egg Mutton, Double Egg Chicken and double Egg mutton Roll to satiate for people with a “hearty” appetite.

Shiraaz:  Almost similar to Nizam but their rolls are much thicker and can kill your appetite for dinner. So if you are single in the city and do not want to cook your meals pack a roll from Shiraaz.

ZeeShan, ParkCircus: If you are by seven, you have to wait till 30 min before you make way for the counter where the guy sits patiently hearing almost everybody to hurry up. The juicy succulent texture of the fillings is a total pleasure to your taste buds.

Nafeel, ParkCircus: If you are a beef eater, you have to try out the short and sweet rolls with well done beef chunks coated with secret spices from Nafeel owners. The rolls are of eight rupees and you have to have the heart to stand in the pavement and finish it off because of paucity of space in the shop.

Dhaba, Ballygunge: Dhaba is a famous restaurant known for Mughlai food and it has the sumptuous rolls which are challenging to finish. Made with desi ghee it is quite a task to finish off a roll.

Bedwin: Though Bedwin has various outlets spread across the city, the best one is of course tucked away in Gariahaat. Try out their fish tandoori roll.

Alibaba: A new kid on the block with outlets spread across the city but their mutton rolls are quite a hit.

Finally, Street side shops lined across New Market facing corporation building.

P.S. And always remember Rolls are fun while you take a stroll and bite into it. You have to enjoy the experience of making your way with the roll neatly wrapped in the butter paper which has to be carefully unfolded with every bite while you make your way through the busy streets of city of joy.