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.

Ingredients
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.

Method
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.

35 comments:

Sumitha said...

Very similar way of how I too make it!I also suggest trying it with maida than using atta!

Ujwala said...

i will definitely try it out with maida next time. thanks. :D

bdblogs.net said...

We have added your blog @ Bangladesh Blogs Aggregator . Best of luck.

Ashwini said...

I didnt know Nizam had shut down. Even after so so many years we still talk about it...looks like we share one more thing in common. I worked in Bangalore for about 6-7 months and stayed in Indira nagar all the time. When my parents came to visit me we ate out at almost all the super joints in the area but damn didnt know about a chicken roll guy :-(
In Bombay the best deal you get is at Noorani's at Haji Ali and some say Bade Miyan...

Ashwini said...

PS - forgot to ask, any luck with the indexing?

Ujwala said...

I believe that there is some talk of reopening Nizam's in Kolkata but I guess it will take time. For your next visit - the Bangalore Nizam's is in the Indira Nagar RTO Complex. And now they have a Nizam's in Delhi too!

I havent made progress on the index front. I've had fluctuating connectivity. Today I'm back to dial-up - 24kbs. I'm sure these are speeds you havent seen for a long long time. I hope to work on it when I start my holiday and have access to a broadband connection. :D hope i'm forgiven for being slow in making use of the code you gave me.

indianadoc said...

thanx for sharing a wonderful recipe..shall try n let you know...

Ujwala said...

dont forget to use maida instead of atta. tks for stopping by.

Anu said...

Thanks for this. After a trip to NewYork last year and trying katti rolls there for the first time..I was hooked. Now finally a recipe that can be made at home .. Thankkkk you.

ujwala said...

my sister took me to the kathi roll place too :P i think i'll love them anywhere as long as there is a likeness in taste to the original. yummy + fattening :D

Viki Saigal said...

Droooool .... takes me back !!! Minerva, Globe, New Market, Nizams...double anda double chicken. For those looking for a poor substitute for kathi rolls may try 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 ood COurt in Singapore !~!

rani said...

Last week Tia Chatterjee who lives in Delaware USA and I visited Nizams (we are old girls of LaMartiniere1965 batch) and sat on the footpath outside where we were served by very old employees. Although the surrounding was not the very best the rolls were tasty as of old and they promised they were opening in a month.Let's hope so too ...
Rani Banerjee (Ghosh)

ujwala said...

viki tks. i'll update the post with these and some other locations.

rani it's good to hear that you ate rolls at Nizams and that it will reopen soon. i'm already looking forward to my next visit :D

Anonymous said...

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

Ujwala said...

thanks for the headsup. do they taste as good? cant wait to check it out on my next trip home :P shall tell my folks about it right away!

Kshiti said...

Uji,here's a Bombayite's "frankie" tip for the Calcuttan's kathi roll(is that a sacrilege?)- sprinkle a mix of amchoor/red chilli powder/chaat masala.You can even soak finely cut green chillies in vinegar.The tang adds that special zing!

Ujwala said...

Good to see you here :D thanks for the tip. I shall try it out on Ramesh :P

Jummi said...

you said you were in pune and you never tried kapila's kathi kebab?? you MUST!!!!
and thanks for the recipe. i tried to use my imagination a few days back but the result was disasterous!

Ujwala said...

jummi thanks for stopping by. i left pune in '86 and the only rolls that my friends knew back then were the ones available at Marz-o-Rin. If ever i go back to Pune i'll be sure to check out Kapila's.

Let me know where you went wrong and we'll see if you can fix it for next time. i shall, of course, ask more knowledgeable friends :D

Anonymous said...

I was New York and there is this place, Kati Roll, right by NYU off Washington Square. Deserves a visit if you are in the neighborhood. For being across the globe from New Market, this place deserves some serious props.

Colin said...

Dear Ulwala,
I am also originally from Pune and am living in São Paulo, Brazil for the last 20 years. I am desperately trying to set up a Kathi roll operation here - I guess more due to my craving for the product, than business. I would appreciate any indications as to where I could get hold of some professional recipes and FOTOS os these products. By the way, the Shrewsberry joint in Pune is KAYANI'S and not Kamani.
Colin Rebello

Ujwala said...

Hi Anonymous, thanks for the tip. I have eaten at that very Katti place twice already. The rolls are very good even though the place is pretty small.

Hi Colin, thank you. I've updated the post with the correction. I wish I could be of more help but I havent found any other recipes for the Rolls :( In addition to the making of the roll here you will need a good Tandoori Tikka recipe for - chicken, beef or lamb for the filling.

Ian.S said...

Hello,

My name is Ian.S and I'm a Kathi freak. I was born and grew up in Cal but left in 1964 for the UK.However Ive returned many many times to the back streets of New Market to visit the UP/Bihar restaurant adjacent to old Nizam's. The Kathi rolls have exactly the same taste as when I was a youngster and so I indulge there whenever I can. The place at the top of Park street is ok,just, but not a patch on the UP/Bihar. They started something in Connaught circle, Delhi which was very popular with the locals but again not a patch on Nizams or the UP.I have tried many times to emulate this delicious flavour but have not succeeded as yet so I shall continue my annual visits to Cal and usually make my first stop the UP restaurant.

Ujwala said...

Thanks Ian. It is nice to get comments from Nizam fans being one myself. I'll look out for the UP/Bihar the next time I'm in town. We always stopped at Nizams and never tried any of the others around it.

Joy said...

thanks for da recipe ... im plannin to open up a kathi roll outlet in nagpur

Arijit said...

In Dhaka if you really want rolls nearly as good as Calcutta then go to Roll Express. Top flr of a building on Gulshan 1 circle. This bldg (forgotten name) also houses a mini mall and the BCB (cricket) office.

ujwala said...

thanks arijit. checked it out already :D it's navana towers. of the two i prefer dhaba though.

Kiran said...

Ah! Yes! The Park street guy! that was 14 years ago! My only wish before leaving Cal. was to eat Chicken Rolls at Sher-e-Punjab. That was left unfulfilled. Now, thanks to you maybe I'll get it right!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe Ujjwala. I had a craving for Kathi rolls yesterday and made them from scratch - with chicken tikkas also made from scratch. We used maida and we sauteed the onions - the result was unbelievable. Thanks again.

Sudeshna said...

Remembering Nizam's in Kolkata, me too posted the Mughlai paratha in my blog, check it out at

bandani said...

Hi! I sure have sum good memories of my first Kathi rolls on my first visit to Cal 1998!! I think it was the pink elephant @ the park & a late night Kathi on a bylane next to the hotel!! Hot & sizzling!! Yummmm!! Being a true blue proud Lucknow bred Foodie it takes a lot for us to luv non veg street food but I luved it so much ... Now living in the US eversince I try & recreate it putting my own twist on it a favourite@ most of my casual dinners ... I use a malai tikka recipe with extra green chillies( my favourite) or regular tikka sumtimes , a maida laccha paratha base or a maida tortilla when I am out of the paratha , egg ofcourse , a fresh onion/ coriander/ lemon/ redchilli/
chaatmasala mix or sumtimes with a redchilli / onion quick
sauté with a squeeze of lime!! Two great variations !! But the one with maida laccha paratha & malai tikka is utterly sinful but to die for !!! ... But I have often wondered what's the basic diffrence between a true Frankie vs kathi ??? Sumone??? We in Lucknow luv our roomali or ulta tawa paratha & kebab rolls!!

ujwala said...

hi bandani, went to your city a couple of times for an interschool competition. loved the kebabs, roomali rotis and the lovely kurtas!! : )

having had both frankies and kathi rolls i feel the main difference is that the frankies are much drier - both the rotis and the kebabs. kathis are fluffier, juicier plus the standard kathi that we had as kids was chicken unda parthata which later became double unda double chicken, mirchi begair or nimbu kaske!

the nizam rolls dont have chaat masala in them or not so much that you'd notice. thanks for writing in.

joanna said...

For any of you unfortunate enough to be living in the Uk - Sainsburys do a version on their deli counter. It's not bad - uses tortillas instead of parathas but it does make the memory taste buds tingle. God Iloved those things.
There was another place we would go to when everything shut about two or three in morning Teen Murthi - they were great but not as great Nizams

Chowringhee Lane said...

Very informative post ...Nice explanation on food combinations... thanks for sharing.!
chowringhee kathi roll

Lucky Sign said...

Hmm, really yummy and too much delicious please share its recipe with us i want to prepare it and we also serve it for my customers.chowringhee satya niketan menu