Grilled Paneer (cheese) or Chickpeas (cooked with spices) or Potatoes (boiled, mashed with spices) - or if you eat meat, plenty of grilled meats - drizzled with seriously hot chutneys/spices rolled into a flatbread (Paratha) served in a casual setting, was right up my alley. I worked in Times Square for years, and this place was a lunch fixture for a long time for me and I would bring along a lot of colleagues to try this place out.
Sometimes on my way home to the train, I would detour and pick them up for dinner. I always got an extra one for the train ride. I've introduced several friends and family members to this place when they visit. I'd rather take people to hole in the wall place that does awesome food than take them to some uppity restaurant. But that's just me. I love that NYC offers such options - another reason I love living here (I have plenty of reasons why I hate it too - will whine when the snow comes!)
Now that I don't work in the same location anymore, Kati Rolls are a major detour for me. And I dont do detours for food - especially when I'm under the gun to make my train home. I really hate being a slave to MTA!
Recently, I found myself in midtown late at night, at this drinks do for a couple of colleagues. Now, this is a rarity in my life since I've had a child. (yes, having kids puts an end to your social life, don't let anyone tell you otherwise! ). When I go out with my girlfriends, its usually drinks and dinner somewhere, so a place like Kati Roll probably would never figure on the agenda.
Anyhow, after a night of drinking and A SINGLE tequila shot later (gosh, I haven't done that in years and a note to myself to never do it again ! My system can't handle it anymore) , I was starving! So a few of us decided to get a bite and the first place I thought of was Kati Rolls. Between us we tried a few of the options on the menu. That Kati Roll saved me a lot of embarrasment that night, I would've barfed on the train had I not had something to soak all that alcohol ! So thank you Kati Roll.
Since I had it the other night, my taste buds were reminded of those awesome flavors and because I'm not going to get on a train to eat them again, my next best option was to make them! They are fairly easy/quick to make - except the marinating time required for Paneer. And please go ahead and use store bought paranthas, makes it so easy to pull these together.
You will need to marinate the Paneer overnight or atleast 2-3 hours before grilling it.
- 1/2 block of Nanak Paneer (easily available in any Indian Store in the refrigerator section or any other Paneer)
- 1/2 cup lowfat yogurt
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric
- 1 tbsp red chilli powder (this flavor the paneer but doesnt add too much heat)
- 1 tbsp cumin powder
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- salt to taste
- 1/2 Red Onion
- 1/2 Green Capsicum
- 1 small Plum Tomato
Mix all the marinade ingredients, Cut Paneer into cubes and toss in the marinade. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours atleast.
When you are ready to grill, cut the vegetables into the same size as the paneer cubes, remove Paneer pieces from the marinade and toss in the vegetables for 5-10 mins.
Note: Do not marinate vegetables for a long time, since they will leave a lot of moisture into the Paneer/Yogurt mix and make everything runny.
You can skewer all the Paneer and vegetables, spray the grill with some oil and grill, turning every so often until you get a nice char on the Paneer and vegetables. Leave the skewers on for a just a little longer than you normally would to get a really good char.
In today's version, I used the broiler instead of the grill, I've used a grill in the past. If using the broiler, line a sheet pan with foil, spread out the Paneer and vegetables on the pan, drizzle some oil on it and stick it under the broiler on high. It will take about 10 mins to get the right amount of char on the Paneer and vegetables.
This is an essential condiment to the Kati Roll. You can regulate the heat of this chutney to determine the overall heat of the Kati Roll. The Paneer and vegetables are flavorful but have no heat in them as such.
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 2/3 Green Chillies (this is a sliding scale - add or reduce to suit your palate)
- 1 tbsp cumin powder
- 2-3 drops of oil (canola or vegetable)
- Salt to taste
- Blend all the chutney ingredients together in the small blender attachment or in a Magic Bullet like contraption. Help the chutney along by adding 2-3 tbsp of water. Careful not to add too much water.
- Once blended well, add a squeeze of lemon, optional.
You can buy Parathas at the local Indian grocery store, or even make them yourself. I prefer the frozen ones (pictured below) since they are closer to the kind served at that NY place.
Any parathas will do really.
If using frozen parathas, follow instructions on the package to cook them on the griddle pan.
- Paneer/Veg mix
- Green Chutney
- Chaat Masala
On a paratha, put some of the grilled paneer and vegetables in the center, lengthwise. Spoon some green chutney over it and sprinkle with chaat masasla. Roll up the paratha, cut into two on a bias or eat whole.
The heat in this roll pairs really nicely with anything cold and carbonated. So have a few sips of coke or any other bubbly drink you prefer.