Kati rolls are a special sort of food that exists beyond spoken language. It needs no translation, even if this is the first time you’ve heard such a word. One glance and all the mysteries are revealed. The kati roll is fluent in delicious, which is the most compelling form of communication on everyone’s lips.
What are kati rolls?
Soft flatbread, lightly crisped on the outside, wraps around an aromatic and highly spiced filling; the epitome of indispensable street food. Kati rolls are strikingly similar to fajitas in construction or open-ended burritos when finished. Originally, skewer-roasted kebabs were at the heart of it all, beginning life not unlike our modern day hot dog. Thus, the name comes from the Bengali word kathi, which means “stick,” in reference to the bamboo sticks used for cooking the protein. The bread is merely the vehicle, but simultaneously an essential part of the whole build.
The most “complicated” part of making kathi rolls to preparing the chapati (AKA roti.) I say this in quotes because it’s an incredibly simple flatbread made from minimal, common pantry staples that’s well within everyone’s grasp.
Even if you struggle with bread baking, this is a great way to ease into the art, since there’s no yeast involved and you truly can’t over-knead it. Gently charred by pan-frying on the stove top , you don’t need to preheat your oven, either. The biggest struggle can be carving out the time on a busy weeknight, to which I say: Don’t sweat the details.
Traditionally, the flatbread of choice for making kati rolls has been paratha. Infused with buttery, flaky layers throughout, that particular unleavened dough does take a bit more finesse. I’d rather save such intensive labor and overall decadence for a stand-alone snack, ideally with a side of chutney or curry sauce for dipping.
What are good alternatives to homemade chapati?
While all flatbread are not created equal, you can absolutely make mouthwatering kathi rolls using a wide range of ready-made solutions with great success. For best results, brush them with oil and lightly griddle them on both sides before rolling to make them more flexible. A few options include:
It’s what’s on the inside that counts
Beef, lamb, and goat kebabs no longer need apply for this starring role. In fact, the most popular fillings are now largely vegetarian. Typically focused on cubes of fresh paneer that are masala-marinated and tossed with sauteed peppers, it’s a simple, adaptable combination that never gets old. Step up that umami quotient with Sugimoto shiitake for an even better experience.
Koshin shiitake mushrooms are perfectly suited for this application, bearing wide, long caps that are ideal for slicing into meaty strips. Instantly boost the overall flavor profile while incorporating a more satisfying, toothsome bite with that one effortless addition.
Are kati rolls healthy?
Keeping it vegan, cheese is out and tofu is in. Swapping the two lowers the fat, increases the protein, and removes cholesterol entirely. Factor in those high-fiber veggies and you’ve got a real superfood snack on hand!
Kati rolls are the ultimate meal prep hack
Designed to be eaten on the go, kati rolls are ideal for make-ahead meals, packed lunches, and traveling snacks. After assembling the rolls, wrap them individually in foil and freeze for up to 6 months. Whenever you’re ready to eat, either simply let them thaw out and enjoy at room temperature, or stick them in a toaster over or air fryer for a few minutes until warm and crispy. Keep chutney or hot sauce separate to apply as desired.
You don’t even need a recipe to make a kati roll. It could be made completely from leftovers, restaurant takeout, or prepared foods from the grocery store. Kati rolls are whatever you want them to be, whether they’re made 100% from scratch or with zero cooking involved. The only way you can go wrong is if you don’t start rolling in the first place.
- 1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 3/4 - 1 Cup Water
Marinated Tofu Paneer:
- 1 (10 - 12-Ounce) Package Super Firm or Extra-Firm Tofu, Cut into 1/2-Inch Cubes
- 1/4 Cup Full-Fat Coconut Milk
- 4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
- 1 Inch Fresh Ginger, Minced
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Chaat Masala
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Garam Masala
- 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Turmeric
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 (2.74-Ounce) Package Koshin Shiitake, Soaked Overnight, Stems Removed and Sliced
- 1 Red Bell Pepper, Sliced
- 1 Green Bell Pepper, Sliced
- 1/2 Medium Red Onion, Sliced
- 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
To Serve (Optional):
- Cilantro Chutney
- To make the chapati, mix both flours and salt in a large bowl. Make a small well in the middle and pour in the oil and water. Gradually mix in more and more of the dry ingredients until the components are fully combined. Continue to knead by hand, transferring it to a clean, floured surface, until a soft, elastic dough forms. It should be slightly tacky but not sticky. This should take 10 - 15 minutes, or you can use a stand mixer to expedite the process in about 5 - 10 minutes.
- Cover and let rest for 30 minutes for the gluten to relax. Cut the ball into 8 equal pieces and roll each one out into a flat round with a rolling pin. Aim for about an 1/8th of an inch in thickness; it's okay if they're not perfect circles. They should resemble whole wheat tortillas.
- Heat a lightly greased skillet over medium heat. Add one raw chapati at a time, allowing it to cook for 30 - 60 seconds on each side, flipping when golden and browned in spots. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining rounds.
- For the filling, place the diced tofu in a medium bowl. Whisk together the coconut milk, garlic, ginger, chaat masala, garam masala, and turmeric until smooth. Pour the marinade all over the tofu, tossing gently to coat. Make sure all the cubes are at least mostly submerged in the liquid. Let stand for at least 30 minutes and up to 8 hours if stored in the fridge. Stir gently halfway through.
- Moving on to the vegetables, heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onions, peppers, mushrooms, and salt. Saute for 6 - 8 minutes, until softened and lightly browned around the edges. Add the marinated tofu paneer and mix well. Cook for another 6 - 8 minutes until the excess marinade has mostly cooked down to thickly coat the vegetables.
- To assemble the kathi rolls, divide the filling equally between the 8 chapati, distributing it in a line down the center. Wrap them up and use toothpicks to secure, if desired. Serve with cilantro chutney on the side for dipping or drizzling over each bite. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.
To make this in advance, wrap individual kati rolls in foil and place the foil-wrapped rolls in a zip top bag, removing as much air as possible. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for 6 months.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 196Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 212mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 6g
All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.