Inside Raastawala’s Kati Rolls
THE KOLKATA FAVOURITE AT HAWKER HOUSE
The kati roll was created by a small joint in Kolkata called Nizam’s and intended as a stomach-filler for commuters on their journey home. But we’ve transformed it into something more substantial, so it feels like a full meal.
Instead of cooking an egg on top of a paratha flatbread, we use a garlic and coriander naan – it’s fluffier, healthier, and complements the meat better. It took a lot of experimenting with thinner flatbreads before we settled on one that suited us best. The thicker it is, the more the meat stands out.
The fillings come from home recipes that date back to when my Dad’s family owned one of the biggest restaurants in Kolkata. He’s still the master of meat at Raastawala – he still cooks it and knows exactly when it reaches that perfect moistness.
We marinate the meat for 24 hours to let the flavours fully penetrate – the chicken in a tandoori sauce and the lamb kebab with onions, ginger, garlic and spices. Then there’s a chickpea filling we serve as a vegetarian offering.
Each of these are topped by all three of our sauces: yoghurt and mint, green coriander and chilli chutney, and a tamarind that’s brewed and boiled to amplify all the sweetness and sourness. It’s the sauces that are the unsung heroes, really – they help to fully release all the other flavours.
Kati rolls like this aren’t available over here. These are the things you’d be able to pick up in a courtyard or at the end of the street in Kolkata. So that’s what our aim is, to represent Kolkata cuisine as authentically as possible on the streets of London.
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