Nizami Subj Kathi: Spicy Vegetable Wraps

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Calcutta marks the end of the Indian leg of our travels. From here, the journey will continue on board the Rangoon: the P&O liner bound for Hong Kong and the Orient. But before we leave, I think we should mark the occasion with a recipe inspired by the street-food of this teeming city: the wonderful and gentle Atul Kochhar’s take on a popular roadside snack created during Muslim rule in East India. Atul serves his wraps with a simple salad of matchsticked cucumber, slices of red onion and tomato, tossed in lemon juice and sprinkled with chilli powder and toasted cumin seeds.

Ingredients

  • 4 large chapattis or tortillas
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the Filling

  • 60ml/fl oz vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • A small piece of fresh ginger, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 teaspoon chopped green chilli
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 100g/oz white cabbage, cut into strips
  • 50g/2oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 150g/5oz paneer cheese, cut into 0.5cm/¼inch strips
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • A handful of chopped coriander

For the Batter

  • 50g/2oz gram flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon chilli powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • A Small handful of chopped fresh coriander leaves

Method

First make the filling. Heat the oil in a wok, then add the cumin seeds and sauté until they crackle. Add the ginger, green chilli and onion and sauté gently until the onion is softened.

Add the carrot, cabbage and mushrooms, and sauté for a further minute. Add the ground spices and salt, and cook for 2–3 minutes. The vegetables should have softened slightly by now. Add the strips of paneer and lightly toss with the spicy veg.

Remove the wok from the heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly before finally adding the lemon juice and coriander leaves.

Put the gram flour, salt, spices and chopped coriander into a bowl and stir well. Add about 5–6 tablespoons of water and mix to form a smooth thick batter.

To cook the chapattis, heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan. One at a time dip the chapattis into the batter and pan-fry for about 1 minute on each side.

Lay out the chapattis on a clean surface and place a good few spoonfuls of spiced vegetables in the centre of each one. Roll up to enclose the filling and serve warm or cold, with the salad alongside.

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