FOR THE WRAP
300 g maida (flour)
6 g salt
14 g sugar
16 g dalda (shortening)
180–200 g warm water
FOR THE FILLING
150 g onions
4 pcs green chillies
1 large lime
1–2 tsp chaat masala
1–2 tsp rocksalt
80 g tomato ketchup
1 pc cucumber (optional)
~ 75 g vegetable oil
[In this series, we tip our hats to some of our favourite dishes available in the restaurants, cafés, and cabins of Calcutta. Our purpose in doing so is to document their existence, and give people a way to recreate them if they happen to live away from the city. Make these at home, or hunt them down from the source—irrespective of how you get your hands on these items, we hope you enjoy them.]
The egg roll is certainly Calcutta’s most recognizable and popular street food. But what makes a good roll? It should be served hot. So the assembly process, once the paratha has been fried, needs to be quick and efficient. The outer shell, the paratha itself, must be flaky yet soft. It should not be too chewy, that is to say, you should not have to tug at it with your teeth. Most importantly, the parathashould be fully cooked and crisp. The filling should be evenly distributed so you get a little of everything with each bite. Finally, the mark of an excellently wrapped roll is that you can eat it using just one hand. Simply bite into your roll and when you reach the paper, gently grip the roll with your teeth to slide it out as you go along. No overflowing filling, no leaking sauces. Everything is contained within a neat package that you can enjoy on the go.
- For the outer paratha/wrap, add the flour, salt, sugar, and dalda to a mixing bowl. Combine the ingredients until the fat is well dispersed in the flour. Take your time and rub the flour between your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs in texture. This will lead to a flakier crust.
- Now add the warm water and knead the dough for about 5 minutes until it is soft and smooth. Coat it with oil, cover the bowl, and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix together finely sliced onions, chopped green chillies and the juice of half a lime. Pickling the onions in lime juice reduces their sharpness. If using cucumber, peel it and remove the central seeds. Then chop them into thin matchsticks. Create an assembly station where you gather all the items required for the filling. This will allow you to easily put together the roll once the paratha is off the stove.
- Back to the dough: once it has rested, divide it in 130 g portions. For an extra-flaky exterior, we will roll the dough in the lachcha paratha style, incorporating layers of flour and oil. To do this, form a ball and roll it out to a disc about 12 cm large. Apply a thin layer of oil on the surface and sprinkle some dry flour. Make an incision on the disc along a radius and roll it in the shape of a cone [WATCH THE VIDEO]. Press down to flatten. Rest the dough for about 5 minutes to relax it again, after which roll it for a second time to disc 22 cm in diameter.
- Beat an egg with a pinch of salt and keep at the ready.
- Heat about 4 tsp oil (12 g) in a flat frying pan or skillet. Add the paratha and fry it on both sides until golden. Rotate the parathacontinuously, flipping often, for a uniform crust. Pay special attention to the sides to ensure that they crisp too. Once the parathais completely cooked, spread the beaten egg over it. Before it settles, turn over to fry the side with the egg. Transfer it to the assembly station, with the egg side facing up.
- Sprinkle it with chaat masala and rocksalt. Add a row of the pickled onions a little off the centre of the paratha. Squeeze some lime juice over it. Top it with cucumber if you like. One of our favourite variations of the egg roll is the egg-potato roll. If we have it on hand, we like to add some leftover spicy alu’r torkari as well. Finish everything off with a few squirts of ketchup.
- Form a tight roll, making sure the filling is all enclosed within the paratha. Wrap a paper around two-thirds of the roll and tuck any excess at the bottom.
- Mixing bowl
- Rolling pin
- Flat frying pan | skillet
- Khunti | long spatula
- Sheets of thin, absorbent paper