Kati rolls are one of my favorite forms of street food. They're like burritos, but are often much better. For starters, wan flour tortillas are replaced by thick, buttery parathas, a superb South Asian flatbread. The meaty stuffings are comparable to well-made burrito fodder, but if you're looking for a meat-free wrap, parathas win hands-down. Rice and beans don't hold a candle to potatoes and other common Indian vegetables, which come well-spiced and cradled in thick sauces.
While the code of street food can be a difficult one to crack, there's no reason not to try making some in the comfort of your own home. Anardana gives the soft potato and cauliflower filling some crunch as well as a sweet-tart tang that really rounds out this spice blend.
Note: Asafoetida and anardana can be found in Indian specialty grocers, or in the spice section of a well-stocked supermarket. The dish can still be made without them.
- Yield:6 (makes 12 small kati)
- Total time:1 hour
- 4 tablespoons clarified butter or canola oil
- 2 teaspoons whole black mustard seed
- Large pinch asafoetida (see note)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons anardana seeds, ground (as well as you can—expect some chunks, see note)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted and ground
- 2 teaspoons coriander seed, toasted and ground
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, toasted and ground
- 1 to 2 teaspoons of your favorite ground chile, to taste
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (about 2 large), scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 large head of cauliflower, broken into small florets (about 3 cups)
- Kosher salt
- 12 parathas
- Whole milk yogurt to serve
- Mint chutney (or chopped cilantro) to serve
Heat butter or oil on medium heat in a 12-inch heavy-bottomed straight-sided stainless steel sauté until shimmering. Add mustard seed and cook until they begin to pop, about 2 minutes. Add asafoetida, anardana, cumin, coriander, black pepper, chile, and turmeric. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the potatoes and cauliflower and season generously with salt. Add water to come 1/3 up the sides of the vegetables. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain simmer, cover, and cook until potatoes are mostly tender, replenishing water as necessary. Potatoes should still be too tough to eat at this stage.
Remove lid, and increase heat to bring liquid to a rapid simmer and liquid begins to reduce. Scrape bottom of pan with spatula as the potatoes begin to stick, and mash them up against the sides of the pan. Meanwhile, warm the parathas in a dry skillet on medium-low heat, 1-2 minutes per side.
When the potatoes are fully tender, add salt to taste, then set aside to cool slightly. Place 2 to 3 heaping tablespoons in center of warmed paratha, top with yogurt and mint chutney. Wrap in foil and serve, two kati per diner.