June 16, 2006

Nizam Kathi Rolls

Ujwala Prabhu

If you're from Kolkata you'll surely know what i'm talking about. When I first left home and went to Pune to study the one thing that I kept talking about to my new college friends whenever the topic of food came up was Kathi Rolls. When they didnt understand me I told them that they were Chicken Rolls. They said no problem you can have some delicious ones at Marz-O-Rin. And then I waited eagerly till we could go to Camp, where the shop was located - near Kayanis - the Shrewsberry biscuits shop. When it was eventually put in front of me I was terribly disappointed, the Pune Chicken Roll turned out to be hot dog bread with lettuce and chicken with a sweet mayo dressing. I grew to like these too but nothing compares, nothing compares to Nizam Rolls.

Out of Kolkata I tried the Frankies and the Baida rotis but that was not what my taste buds yearned for. For years I've tried to replicate it at home but not very successfully. So I'd save up all the wanting for my annual visit home and eat these rolls every time! And then a few years ago we heard that Nizam had shut down - labour problems. Kolkata has changed so much from when I lived there as a kid. Nizams was an important part of eating out for us and now it's no longer there. Nor is Skyroom or the Chicken Champ place at the petrol pump. For a while when we were in Bangalore, I think for the last two years of our stay, a Nizam outlet opened up in Indira Nagar and their Rolls were finger licking good.

When I went to Kolkata a few weeks back, I decided to try out the Park Street guy. His rolls are good too but he adds some kind of red and green sauce. I didnt let him add those in mine but there was just that something missing.

While writing for the meme that Sonali tagged me for I googled for Nizam Kathi Rolls and was dismayed with the recipe that appears all over the web which has mashed potatoes as a stuffing! Scandalous :D

Here's my version for Chicken Anda Parathas. You could replace the Chicken with Aloo, Paneer, Mutton or Beef. I'm willing to try any suggestions that you may have to make it taste more authentic.

Knead dough for 6 parathas - i use atta but i'm told that maida makes them more authentic and that's what i'm going to try out the next time.
Make Chicken Tikkas - about 4-5pcs in each paratha - shouldnt be made too dry - soft and succulent is what you want
6 eggs - beat, add salt and keep aside
Onions - halve, finely slice and seperate into half rings. mix with chopped coriander, finely chopped green chilly, salt and pepper and a generous amount of lime juice. Mix well and set aside.

Cook one side of the Paratha. Flip over and add egg on top - a ladle full. Spread across the top of the paratha with a spoon. Make sure the flame is on low. After a few minutes flip the paratha and move around on the pan to ensure that the egg remains below and stuck to one side of the partha. Be generous with the oil prior to the flip. When the paratha starts to expand and bloat upwards flip it again and let that side cook. Remember it has to stay soft. Dont let it turn crisp. And I repeat be generous with the oil while cooking. You can wipe some off on tissues later.

Keep the other two ingredients - chicken and onions - ready. Remove the Anda Paratha from the Pan and put on the counter. Put the next Paratha in the pan before proceeding further. In the middle of the paratha spread some onions mixture in a line. Add the chicken tikka pieces over this. Squeeze some lime. Add another layer of onions. Roll the paratha and roll half of it in some brown paper. This will catch the extra grease and keep the paratha in a roll format. Eat hot.

One other change that I intend to make the next time is to lightly saute the onions prior to making a salad out of it. I saw the Park Street guy doing this :P

Update: While surfing to find a picture to put temporarily before I make my next lot and take a picture. I discovered on explocity.com that a Nizams of Kolkata has resurfaced in Delhi!

Update : Jul 1, 2006 : Viki Saigal : More locations for similar rolls - Ayub's in Bombay in Kala Ghoda or Sardars at Ballygunje Phadi in Cal or Nizam's at H Block C Circus Delhi and if in SIngapore and reeeeely homesick, try the Prata pepper sausage roll at the Takashimaya food Court in Singapore !! July 01, 2006 4:52 PM - more details in his comment on this post

Update: Sep 8, 2006: anonymous says "Nizam's in Kolkata has re-opened on September 6th with a newly renovated with the same food from the same people. Once again we all can enjoy our good old kathi rolls" - i hope that this is true and now i have one more reason to look forward to the my next trip to Kol :P

Update: Dec 11, 2006: We found a restaurant in Dhaka which serves Kathi rolls almost as good as those made at Nizams. For those in Dhaka the restaurant is called Dhaba and it is in Banani.

Update : June 25, 2008 : Vinita Nayar : An article on Nizam, "Beef it up", by Nondon Bagchi on how good the food still is. Have to put this on the top of my list for my next visit to Cal. Thanks Vinita, for the link.

June 15, 2006

10 foods I (we) miss the most

I got tagged for this meme by Sonali of Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice and I know that I am going to enjoy putting this one down. My slight variation is that I'm listing down a few more than required of my favorite foods and some that Ramesh misses. I have wickedly decided that this list will also act as a reminder to ensure that I obtain these recipes from our respective mums and put them up for easy reference :D

We miss everything that our mums cook :D so i'm going to set that aside and list a variety. The lists arent in any particular order.

Ramesh's favourites
Vatha Kuzhambu
Molagu Kozhambu
Mor Kuzhambu
Kirai Mulagutal
Arachuvitta Sambar
Jeera Rasam
Uralai curry
Vendakai Pachchadi
Sojji appam
Paal Poli
Papdi Chaat

My favourites
Dosas and Bhakres with Coconut Chutney
Nizam Rolls
Prawn Curry and Fried (Gaboli fried (Roe - fish eggs) too :P )
Bagde Ambat
Chaklis - My mothers are the best! honest - i've tried them from several sources
Alu Dosa - Rosti - Papa Prabhu version - indianized
Biscut Ambode
Sabudana Vada
Sevai with sweetened coconut / jaggery sauce
Teesre Vadi
Dim Sums
Mutton Biryani

June 13, 2006

Beef Oliathiyathu & Appams

Kiran Mathai

Our samaan has arrived and with it my books. This is from a bunch of recipes written in a 1991 diary. I'm happy to have located it finally and will be posting the 10 odd recipes soon.

We used to haunt the Mathais for Appams, stew and oliathiyathu a long long time ago.

Meat - 1 kg

Masala - grind
Red Chillies - one dozen :D
Coriander 1 1/2 tablespoons
Big Jeera (Cumin) - 1 tsp
Pepper - a pinch
Cloves - 1
Thakolam - 1
Cardamom - 1
Cinammon - 1 1/2"
Garlic 1/2 a pod
Button Onions - 4
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp

Button Onions 10
Green Chillies - 2
Ginger - 1"
Curry Leaves

Cut coconut pieces and fry and set aside

Heat oil, add ingredients for seasoning and add ground masala. Add meat and cook, adding water if necessary till the meat is cooked and dry. Add coconut pieces and serve.

Raw Rice - 2 cups full
Cooked Rice - 1/2 a cup
Grated Coconut - 1/2 a coconut
Sugar - 2-3 tblspns
Yeast - 3/4 tsp
Salt - to taste

Ferment yeast and sugar for 20 minutes. Put all ingredients in a mixer and grind. Ferment at least for 6 hours and then use the batter to make pal appams (thinner batter) or vellappams (thicker batter)