Back in March, when Nate and I unexpectedly (and delightedly) hosted an Indian street foods cooking class in our apartment taught by Geetika Khanna, one of the marvels she revealed was the technique of making kati rolls. Originating in Calcutta, the kati roll is a sort of Indian burrito with egg and other fixin’s. The magic occurs when the roti, chapati, or paratha (you can use a flour tortilla, too) adheres perfectly to the egg frying in the pan and, voilà, makes for a delicious and nutritious wrap for whatever you have on hand.
Having just returned from Alabama yesterday with a bag full of fresh Alabama peas and beans (from Andy’s Farm Market and Landscaping Center), I set out for my first solo kati roll attempt. I shucked and stewed the fresh pink-eyed peas with onion, garlic, tomato, and a selection of Indian spices (toasted cumin, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne, asofetida, and turmeric). Tender and sweet, the peas were done after less than 15 minutes of simmering. I made a quick Indian “salsa” with tomato, spring onion, nigella seeds, amchur powder, oil, and vinegar. And I heated up some leftover mujedrah for bulk. The fillings ready to go, it was time for the magic.
To make the kati roll wrap, I followed Geetika’s directions. I heated a frying pan on medium heat and added a teaspoon or so of vegetable oil to it. While the oil was heating, I beat an egg in a small bowl with a pinch of salt until light and fluffy. I poured the egg into the hot pan and tilted the pan to form a thin omelet. I let the egg cook for a moment, then lay a six-inch roti over the egg and let it cook for another 30 seconds or so. Then, voilà, the egg adhered to the bread, I flipped it and let the plain side of the roti heat another 30 minutes or so.
I formed the kati roll egg-side up with a spoonful of the rice and lentil mixture, a spoonful of the curried pink-eyed peas, and some of the tomato chutney. A few sprigs of fresh cilantro (from our new terrace plantings!) and it was a meal fit for a king, or rather, a raj. And it 40 minutes from start to finish.