Kathi rolls are hot Indian wraps and one of India’s favourite streetfoods. They come in many guises, few of which resemble cold wraps as we know them. I have probably tried more versions, buying them in bustling markets in New Delhi, exchanging money straight from the car window in Mumbai - where they are known as Frankies - and in hotels and homes as streetfood made its way off the street. Different places have their own versions and there are no strict rules: as long as a soft bread with a slight chew envelopes a fresh, hot, tangy filling with red onions for crunch, you are in the right zone and in for a treat.
I make these often. They’re tasty, everyone loves them and they are easy to throw together. You can also substitute chicken for paneer. If you are in a hurry, you can buy tortilla wraps and cut them in half, but homemade wraps are cheaper and tastier.
For the marinade
- 100 g (⅖ cup) plain yogurt, not too sour
- 20 g (1½ tbsp) roughly chopped root ginger
- 2 large garlic cloves
- Scant ⅔ tsp garam masala
- Scant ⅔ tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp chaat masala
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tsp concentrated tomato puree
- ⅛ tsp chilli powder, or to taste
For the rolls
- 240 g paneer, cut into small fingers (see Note)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- ¾ small green capsicum, thinly sliced
- 1 red onion, sliced into rings rings
- 50 ml Tangy herb chutney (get Anjum's recipe here)
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the wraps
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 6-8 tbsp water, or as needed
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Makes 10 medium-small, or 15 tiny rolls.
Resting time: 20 minutes
1. Blend together all the ingredients for the marinate. Season to taste with salt: I use 1 tsp. Add the paneer, gently turn the pieces to coat, and leave to marinate as you prepare the dough.
2. Put the flour in a bowl and pour in the oil, water and a good pinch of salt. Knead together well; it will be a bit squelchy at the beginning but should become lovely and soft without cracks once it is done. Cover with a damp dish towel and leave to rest for 20 minutes.
3. To make the breads, place a tava or frying pan over medium heat. Divide the dough into 10 pieces and roll each out on a work surface lightly dusted with flour into a thin, round bread around 13cm in diameter. Dust any excess flour off the bread and place on the pan. Cook, turning once, until the bread has just a few light brown spots on both sides; it only takes a minute or so. Repeat to cook all the breads, stacking them on a dish towel and covering each with the corners as you go to help keep them soft.
4. Now back to the rolls. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a saucepan, add the capsicum and sit-try for 2 minutes. Add the paneer and all its marinade and cook, stirring often, until the liquid has reduced and you can see oil in the pan, 6-8 minutes or so. You might need to add a splash of water at some point once the pan gets dry. Add the onions and cook for another minute, or until the liquid now just coats the ingredients and is still moist. Take off the heat.
5. Working quickly, spoon a line of the filling down the centre of each wrap, top with 1 rounded tsp tangy herb chutney, wrap them up and serve hot.
Recipe from I Love India by Anjum Anand (Quadrille)
• If you'd like to make your own paneer, try Anjum Anand's recipe.