I cracked the code!

If you’ve lived in or visited my hometown in India, Pune, I’m sure you’ve had, at least once, the absolute best Kathi Kebab Rolls at the most popular street-side joint in the city, Olympia. If you missed it, well, that’s too bad and I’m sorry for you, but don’t sweat it… because I just cracked the code! I’m bringing you an easy, effortless recipe that you can use to recreate authentic Indian Street-style Chicken Kathi Kebab Rolls right in your own kitchen, ready to enjoy in just minutes.

Of course, if you don’t eat chicken, you can simply substitute it with paneer, tofu, or boiled potatoes for a vegetarian variation. Alternatively, you can use cubes of lamb, pork or beef if you prefer.

Indian Street-style Chicken Kathi Kebab Rolls

I’m excited to have finally figured out how to make that yummy egg-lined, soft pan-grilled maida (all purpose flour) roti roll, filled with tender, succulent pieces of spiced, stir-fried chicken, crunchy sliced red onions, and a refreshing mint chutney, thousands of miles away, right here in my kitchen! And I’m feeling pretty generous today, so I’m going to share the secret with you, right here on my blog, in this very post 🙂

Indian Street-style Chicken Kathi Kebab Rolls

Indian Street-style Chicken Kathi Kebab Rolls

Originating from Kolkata, the capital city of the eastern state of West Bengal, these Indian street-style chicken kathi kebab rolls are quite popular on the menus of street food joints all over the country. Often enjoyed as a hearty snack or a quick meal on the go, these kathi rolls are essentially wraps stuffed with spiced marinated chicken cubes that are typically grilled or roasted on skewers, known as kebabs.

Indian Street-style Chicken Kathi Kebab Rolls

The grilled chicken is tightly wrapped in a roll made with a soft, thin, slightly flaky flatbread, such as a tawa paratha or roti, along with various accompaniments such as sliced onions, green peppers, and a tangy tamarind sauce or a spicy cilantro-mint chutney.

The “Pune” Variation

Pune, being a bustling city on the western coast of India, boasts a diverse food scene with various eateries and street food vendors offering their own take on the traditional Kolkata-style Kathi Kebab Rolls. In the Pune version, the chicken is cooked using a different technique—on a flat round cast iron pan or a grill—and then added to the roll along with similar fixings like sliced red onion and cilantro-mint chutney. Additionally, the flatbread used as a wrap is lined with a thin layer of egg, seasoned with just some salt and pepper.

Indian Street-style Chicken Kathi Kebab Rolls

On my last trip back home to Pune, I made it to Olympia. It’s a must-do on our list of things to do every time we go home! We were among the first customers to wait outside, around noon, just as the joint was slowly opening for the day. Luckily, I was able to catch the chef in action and closely observe how he assembled the rolls together. He was very kind and not only allowed me to take some pictures while he was working but also packed me a small pouch of their signature masala or spice blend used for their chicken and paneer fillings.

Oct 2019| Olympia Kathi Kebabs, East Street, Pune India

Recreating the Pune-style Kathi Kebab Roll

When I got back from my trip, I couldn’t wait and gave the kathi kebabs recipe a try the very first chance I got! Obviously, I ended up finishing the pouch of masala that the chef had gifted me in the first couple of recipe testings that I conducted in my kitchen. So as I worked on developing and perfecting the recipe, I found that my go-to, trusted Indian brand of masalas, Everest, has a special blend for recipes with chicken as the key ingredient called Chicken Masala, which works wonderfully for this recipe! It is available in most of the Indian grocery stores worldwide and also online on Amazon.

Indian Street-style Chicken Kathi Kebab Rolls

There are essentially four key components (and a couple of optional ones) to making these specific kathi kebabs, but feel free to customize your kathi kebabs with your favorite toppings and enjoy:

1. A thin maida roti/all-purpose flatbread (store-bought flour tortillas work perfectly here!)

2. Chicken thigh meat chunks (or paneer cubes for a vegetarian or boiled potatoes or tofu for vegan versions) marinated in spices and stir-fried over high heat for the filling

3. Thinly sliced red onions to add a refreshing crunch to the filling

4. Mint chutney drizzled over the filling and inside the roll, and also served on the side

5. I love to add some shredded green cabbage for an added vitamin boost and crunch

6. Lastly, sliced jalapeños give it a nice kick of heat. Feel free to adjust the spice level according to your taste preferences!

Indian Street-style Chicken Kathi Kebab Rolls

That’s really it—simple, isn’t it? Let’s get cracking, shall we?! I have outlined step-by-step details below that you can follow and easily whip up this signature concoction in your own kitchen.

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Chicken Kathi Kebab Rolls


  • Author: Vasanti
  • Yield: Makes 4 rolls 1x

Description

A quick and easy recipe for making the beloved Pune street-style kathi kebab rolls right in your own kitchen.


Ingredients

Units Scale

Quick Counter Top Marination

  • 2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 12 Thai or bird’s eye chilies, optional
  • 1 lb chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch chunks (see Variations)
  • 23 tbsp Everest Chicken Masala
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/2 small lemon, juice squeezed

The Filling

  • 1 large onion
  • 23 tbsp neutral oil
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp asafetida
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder (you can use the milder Kashmiri Red Chili powder)
  • 1/4 cup water

The Egg-lined Roll (see Variations)

  • butter/ghee/oil, as needed
  • 4 8-inch flour tortillas
  • 4 eggs
  • salt, to taste

Cilantro-Mint Chutney Topping (see FAQs & Notes)

  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves with stems
  • 1 Thai or bird’s eye chili (use Serrano or jalapeño chili for less heat)
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger
  • 1 tbsp dry roasted chana dal (use raw or toasted peanuts if you don’t have)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp water, or as needed

Additional Toppings

  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 small cabbage, shredded, optional
  • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced, optional
  • lemon wedges, optional

Instructions

Marinating the Chicken

  • Place the garlic, ginger and green chilies in a mortar. Using the pestle, start by gently pounding the mixture till it turns into a coarse paste.
  • In a medium bowl, place the chicken along with the garlic-ginger-chilies paste, salt, Chicken Masala and lemon juice.
  • Toss to combine well, ensuring all the chicken pieces are coated evenly.
  • Cover and set aside to marinate on the kitchen counter until ready to use, for about 20-30 minutes.

Making the Filling

  • In the meanwhile, peel and thinly slice the onion.
  • Heat the oil in a wok or a deep sauté pan over medium-high heat.
  • When the oil starts shimmering, add in the cumin seeds and asafetida. Lets the seeds sizzle and the asafetida froth.
  • Add in the onions and sprinkle some salt to help the them sweat and soften faster.
  • Give it a good stir and spread it into an even layer in the pan. 
  • Continue sautéing, stirring occasionally, till the onions turn golden brown, in about 5-7 minutes.
  • Stir to combine well with the onions and sauté for 30 seconds to let the spices bloom.
  • Stir in the marinated chicken and mix well.
  • Add the water and stir to combine well.
  • Cook uncovered for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, till the moisture is absorbed and the chicken is cooked completely (see FAQs & Notes). 
  • Adjust the salt and give it a final stir before taking it off the heat.

Making the Egg-lined Roll

  • Heat a small pan over medium low heat and roast one side of the tortilla, for about 1-2 minutes.
  • Take the tortilla off the heat and melt about 1 tsp butter/ghee/oil in the pan.
  • In a small bowl, crack an egg and whisk it well. Pour the whisked egg evenly into pan, swirling it to evenly coat.
  • Season the egg with salt and pepper.
  • Place the tortilla, with the toasted side down directly over the uncooked, top side of the egg and press gently to help the tortilla stick to the egg. 
  • Flip to pan roast the tortilla and also to let the side of the egg, sticking to the tortilla, cook completely.
  • Prepare the rest of the tortillas the same way and stack them on a plate.

Making the Cilantro-Mint Chutney

  • Transfer all the ingredients for the chutney to a NutriBullet or a small food blender and process to a smooth paste. 
  • Transfer to a small serving bowl. 

Assembling the Kathi Kebab Roll

  • Take the prepared egg-lined tortilla in a plate, spread the chicken along the diameter of the tortilla, in the center. Layer with a few sliced onions and shredded cabbage over it. Drizzle cinaltro-mint chutney and top with sliced jalapeños. Squeeze the juice from a lemon wedge, if you’d like. 
  • Roll the two ends of the tortilla, parallel to the chicken filling. You can tuck one end of the roll, leaving the other open and wrap a piece of aluminum foil over the closed end or leave both open and bite into one.

Keywords: Quick & Easy, Indian Street Food

Step-by-Step Details

Step: 1

Place the garlic, ginger and green chilies in a mortar. Using the pestle, start by gently pounding the mixture till it turns into a coarse paste.

Step: 2

In a medium bowl, place the chicken along with the garlic-ginger-chilies paste, salt, Chicken Masala and lemon juice.

Step: 3

Toss to combine well, ensuring all the chicken pieces are coated evenly.

Step: 4

Cover and set aside to marinate on the kitchen counter until ready to use, for about 20-30 minutes.

Step: 5

In the meanwhile, peel and thinly slice the onion.

Step: 6

Heat the oil in a wok or a deep sauté pan over medium-high heat.

Step: 7

When the oil starts shimmering, add in the cumin seeds and asafetida. Lets the seeds sizzle and the asafetida froth.

Step: 8

Add in the onions and sprinkle some salt to help the them sweat and soften faster.

Step: 9

Give it a good stir.

Step: 10

Spread it into an even layer in the pan. 

Step: 11

Continue sautéing, stirring occasionally, till the onions turn golden brown, in about 5-7 minutes.

Step: 12

Season with turmeric, cumin, coriander and red chili powder (if using).

Step: 13

Stir to combine well with the onions and sauté for 30 seconds to let the spices bloom.

Step: 14

Stir in the marinated chicken and mix well.

Step: 15

Add the water and stir to combine well.

Step: 16

Cook uncovered for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step: 17

Continue cooking till the moisture is absorbed and the chicken is cooked completely (see FAQs & Notes)

Step: 18

Adjust the salt and give it a final stir before taking it off the heat.

Step: 19

Heat a small pan over medium low heat and roast one side of the tortilla, for about 1-2 minutes.

Step: 20

Take the tortilla off the heat and melt about 1 tsp butter/ghee/oil in the pan. In a small bowl, crack an egg and whisk it well. Pour the whisked egg evenly into pan, swirling it to evenly coat.

Step: 21

Season the egg with salt and pepper.

Step: 22

Place the tortilla, with the toasted side down directly over the uncooked, top side of the egg.

Step: 23

Press gently to help the tortilla stick to the egg.

Step: 24

Flip to pan roast the tortilla and also to let the side of the egg, sticking to the tortilla, cook completely.

Step: 25

Prepare the rest of the tortillas the same way and stack them on a plate.

Step: 26

Transfer all the ingredients for the chutney to a NutriBullet or a small food blender and process to a smooth paste. 

Step: 27

Transfer to a small serving bowl. 

Step: 28

Take the prepared egg-lined tortilla in a plate, spread the chicken along the diameter of the tortilla, in the center. Layer with a few sliced onions and shredded cabbage over it. Drizzle cinaltro-mint chutney and top with sliced jalapeños. Squeeze the juice from a lemon wedge, if you'd like. 

Step: 29

Roll the two ends of the tortilla, parallel to the chicken filling. You can tuck one end of the roll, leaving the other open and wrap a piece of aluminum foil over the closed end or leave both open and bite into one.

Recipe FAQ’s and Notes

What if the moisture is all absorbed, the pan looks burnt?

If it dries out and the bottom of the pan/wok appears to start burning, add very little water, about 1/8 cup, to deglaze the pan/wok and continue stirring till the chicken is cooked.

How do I know if the filling is ready?

You will see oil separating out into the pan or the wok, once the chicken is well cooked and the filling is ready.

Don't have time to make Cilantro-Mint Chutney?

No worries, you can find it in the frozen section of your local Indian grocery store. You can also drizzle some whisked yogurt, seasoned with chaat masala instead of the chutney.

Recipe Variations

Make the vegetarian Paneer Kathi Rolls by substituting the chicken with cubed paneer in the recipe above and follow it as is.

For a vegan version, use tofu or boiled potato and follow the marination steps and the rest of the recipe as is.

Prefer a low carb option? Opt for low carb tortillas or ditch the tortillas all together and go for butter lettuce cups instead!

Happy cooking
Vasanti

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Hi I’m Vasanti
…and I ❤️cooking ‘n clicking!!
I share a modern take on Indian cuisine made using nontraditional techniques and ingredients, while staying true to its authenticity. You’ll also find classic recipes from my beloved Maharashtrian culture and heritage.



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