In Indian food culture, food is often served when the guest or family member is seated. Rarely do you see one that is on the go!! The reason, eating with your finger while on the go is never a great option, is it? This is where the office goes made a change. The leaky lunch boxes were not so appealing, rather the wraps made with juicy meat or paneer kebabs and the familiar roti made so much difference.
Origins of kathi roll
The kathi rolls are an innovative tradition that developed to cater to the busy offices running “babus”‘ in the heart of pre-independent Calcutta. The Kathi or the skewer that carried the succulent patty was placed at the centre of a flatbread wrap with a small basic salad, with or without a spread. A quick roll so that the babus(office executives) could have a meal without messing up the fingers. This was the beginning of that kathi rolls. Usually, a skewered meat was the filling of choice, with an eggy, less moist sauce to wrap it in.
Kathi rolls in my household
Wraps and rolls happen so often in my kitchen, especially for the on go lunches. It is as simple as the convenience of having everything wrapped up in one small package for a filling lunch. The paneer kathi roll especially is a super hit. The succulent marinated paneer stays perfectly juicy till lunchtime or beyond. If not paneer the sheek kebabs sit perfectly in a wrap. sausage style rolls made with cooked beans or chickpeas also work well in the kathi rolls.
Ingredients for this paneer kathi roll
For the wrap – The flatbread I love to use for paneer kathi roll is thin layered rotis like the triangle roti. You can also use store-bought tortillas, spinach avocado phulkas or layered parotas to make this kathi roll. usually the parathas are cooked again on an egg base to add to the protein. This is totally optional. I am not a fan of eggy bread and hence have avoided this.
For the paneer filling – Paneer or Indian cottage cheese is a fresh cow milk cheese. Similar to ricotta, but firmer, this cheese tastes perfect in an Indian curry recipe or roasted. The paneer can be made at home by spilling milk and then straining it or can be procured from the Indian grocery store or the international cheese aisles in some local groceries. In addition to the paneer, sliced capsicum, and onions are used for the saute to fill in the wrap. The marinade is made with yogurt and spices. The classic Indian paneer flavour come from the crushed kasuri methi that is added to the stirfry. The details of this marinade are in the recipe card below.
For the salad – The salad that you can use for this is very easy to make. shredded cabbage, sliced tomatoes, sliced onions, lime juice, black salt and pepper is all you need for this salad. You can also use the thakali sambola recipe, fresh beetroot salad or the shredded lettuce salad recipe in the roll.
For the sauce – The green chutney is what I have used to spread as a base for this paneer kathi roll. To the basic green chutney base, I have added a handful of walnuts to make it thick and not runny. You can try avocado chutney or the roasted tomato chutney too in this recipe.
The wrapping technique.
The paneer kathi roll is a tight roll similar to a burrito. Here is a step by step photo guide to help you through it.
Step 1 – Spread the chutney on the roti or parota.
Step 2 – Top with the salad.
Step 3 – Place the roasted paneer mix in the centre of the roti.
Step: 4 – Fold from the base.
Step 5- hold and fold from one side.
Step 6- fold from the other side to wrap over.
Step 7- Hold and press down for a minute. the wrap in foil or wrapping paper.
The details for making the chutney and the stirfry are in this recipe card. You can directly pin this to your own board from here for later use as well.
Paneer kathi roll
- 1 frying pan
- 1 Thick bottomed pan.
- 1 mixing bowls and spoons.
- 1 food processor for chutney and veggies
- 1 turner
- 1 salad spoons
for the wrap
- 4 medium sized rotis
For the green chutney
- 1 cup corinader
- 1/4 cup walnut
- 1 inch fresh ginger root
- 1 long green chilli
- 1/4 tsp roasted cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
For the salad
- 1/2 cup Cabbage shredded
- 1/4 cup red onion sliced
- 1/4 cup tomato sliced
- 1/4 tsp black salt
- 1/4 tsp crushed black pepper
- 1-3 mint leaves
- 1 tbsp lime juice
For the paneer stirfry
- 250 grams paneer / cottage cheese cut into strips
- 1/2 cup capsicum sliced
- 1/4 cup Onion sliced.
- 1/2 cup yogurt thick
- 1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste
- salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
- 1/4 tsp roasted cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
- 1 tbsp kasuri methi
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- Into the food processor, add the ingredients for the chutney and blend to a smooth paste.
- Remove the chutney and keep aside till you need it.
- Into another mixing bowl, add the yogurt, ginger garlic paste, red chilli powder, salt, garam masala and whisk together till smooth.
- Add the sliced paneer, onion and capsicum slices to this mix.
- Coat the paneer well and set it aside for 15 minutes to 1 hour.
- Add the cooking oil to the frying pan and roast the paneer and the marinated veggies on medium heat.
- Set this aside till needed.
- Into another mixing bowl add the shredded veggies for the salad, add the lime juice, salt and pepper and crush together by hand so the salad is well mixed.
- Set this aside till needed.
- Roast the paratha.
- Now follow the step by step folding method and layer up the ingredients on the paratha.
- Fold as per the images to get a tight roll.
- The kati roll is now ready to serve.
Drinks to pair with this spicy paneer kathi roll.
Mango lassi – ever-popular creamy mango lassi makes the best combination with these khati rolls.
Cucumber and grape smoothie- the on the go option needs a cooling drink. here is a lighter version that you can pair with this kati roll.
Strawberry lassi – this creamy coconut yogurt version of strawberry lassi tastes just amazing with the spice levels of the khati roll.
Grapes Jaljeera – the familiar jaljeera flavours with the sweetness of grapes, try out this combo.
Kesar elaichi shebet – if Khati rolls is on your dinner menu, pair is with this exotic kesar elaichi sherbet.
Gajerala carrot shake – yet another, dreamy creamy shake with Indian carrot halwa flavours.
A few more lunch perfect paneer ideas
Paneer Kathi roll is India’s perfect answer to the world of rolls and wraps. It is filled with flavours, textures and tummy-filling good stuff. This street food is my take on keeping it Indian for my kids who are growing up around the globe. It is relatable to a lunch wrap, it has all the elements of a lunch wrap and what better it has a flavour and yum paneer. Yes, it is perfectly safe to quick zapp this paneer kathi roll in the microwave and prep up ahead with the bread and the paneer. No pesky sauces leaking out, no food court runs, the paneer kathi roll wins.
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