Kolkata’s most popular and iconic street food
Of all the rolls, wraps, and frankies I have had, nothing comes close to a Calcutta roll—neither in taste, nor in sound architecture.
The egg roll is certainly Kolkata’s most recognizable and famous street food. But what makes a good roll? It should be served hot. The outer shell of the paratha must be flaky yet soft. It should not be too chewy, which means, you should not have to tug at it with your teeth. Most importantly, the paratha should be fully cooked and crisp. The filling should be evenly dispersed so you get a little of everything with each bite. Finally, the mark of a superbly 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.
COOKING TIME- 40 mins
YIELDS – 4 rolls
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
- 4 eggs
- 150 g onions
- 4 pcs green chillies
- 1 large lime
- 1–2 tsp chaat masala
- 1–2 tsp rock salt
- 80 g tomato ketchup
- 1 pc cucumber (optional)
- 75 g vegetable oil
For the outer paratha/wrap, add the flour, sugar, salt, 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.
Add the warm water and knead the dough for about 6 minutes until it is soft and smooth. Coat it with oil, cover the bowl with a cling wrap or plate, and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix together finely sliced onions, chopped green chillies and the juice of half a lime. Combine the onions in lime juice reduces their sharpness. If using cucumber, peel the skin and remove the seeds. Then chop them into thin matchsticks. Create an assembly station or you can simply use your kitchen countertop where you can gather all the items required for the filling. This will allow you to conveniently put together the roll once the paratha is off the stove.
Back to the dough: Once the dough 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 10 cm large. Apply a thin layer of oil on the surface and sprinkle dry flour. Make a few horizontal cuts on the disc along a radius and roll it in the shape of a cone. 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 20 cm in diameter.
Beat an egg with a pinch of salt and keep it ready.
Heat 4 tsp of oil (12 g) in a flat frying pan or skillet. Add the uncooked paratha and fry it on both sides until golden. Rotate the paratha continuously, flipping often, for a uniform crust. Pay attention to the sides to ensure that they crisp too. Once the parathais completely cooked, pour the beaten egg over it. When it is half cooked, turn over to fry the side with the egg. Transfer it to the assembly station or kitchen countertop, with the egg side facing up.
Sprinkle it with chaat masala and rock salt. Add a row of the pickled onions a little of the centre of the paratha. Squeeze some lime juice over it. Top it with cucumber if you like. You can also do some variations of the egg roll with potato filling. It is called the egg-potato roll. If I have it on hand, I like to add some leftover spicy thick potato curry as well. Finish everything off with a squeeze of ketchup.
Form a tight roll, making sure the filling is all enclosed within the paratha. Wrap a clean paper around two-thirds of the roll and tuck any excess at the bottom.