Our weekends have become synonymous with eating out and I revel in the weekend breaks I get from cooking. It’s this little trick that helps me enthusiastically partake in my culinary adventures during the remaining five days of the week.
But there was something different about this weekend. There was no take out, delivery or dining out!!
Why? Even I asked myself the same question but it’s all quiet on the answer front.
So, to commemorate the occasion I decided to dish out something tantalizing for the last meal of the day before the mundane Monday kicked in. And I was struck by the idea of a tandoori night.
The tandoor part of the tandoori chicken would be taken care of by my oven. But I would have to take care of the bird part. A quick trip to the grocery store and my kitchen welcomed some new visitors–a whole chicken and some seasonal vegetables.
Now these visitors had to be looked after real good. The pampering started with marinating the chicken, rubbing it all over with tandoori masala, adobo seasoning, butter and salt. I couldn’t help but envy the chicken for enjoying a nice spa treatment. Out of spite I shoved in halved lemons and garlic heads in the chicken’s cavity! And the prepped up bird was perched on the makeshift roasting pan-the baking tray, to hit the sauna for an hour and half.
Out from the ‘tandoor’ the chicken was greeted by rice pilaf—cooked rice mixed with vegetables sautéed in a GENEROUS dollop of butter.
We sat down for dinner and enjoyed a scrumptious meal….well a picture speaks a thousand words!
Kerosene smell floats in the air as the stove is turned on. The wind keeps teasing the fire intermittently. A generous amount of dough is scooped out of the humongous ball of mother dough and rolled out into a perfectly round paratha; eggs are cracked and beat up in seconds. The paratha gets a quick sear on the crackling hot tava (pan) and is set aside to rest. The tava is then drizzled with a generous amount of oil, luring the eggs towards it. The scorching tava devours the bubbles at no time revealing a perfect omelette. The pre-heated paratha is placed over the omelette and pressed down with a spatula to marry them together. It is then flipped egg-side up, slided to the counter where its center is decked with julienned onions and cucumbers, a sprinkle of green chili pieces, and a drizzle of tomato and chili sauce. Finally it’s rolled up and wrapped in wax paper.
That’s how egg rolls are served at roadside mobile food stalls in Kolkata. A quick bite leaves you mesmerized, so does the showmanship of the cook dishing out multiple rolls at a time. The cling-clang sound of his steel spatula working against the aluminium tava blackened with use, is music to the ears of a foodie. Every move makes your stomach growl with excitement and anticipation of savoring the finished product.
But my love affair with egg rolls from roadside stalls had an abrupt ending. One night on my way back home I caught a dog sleeping soundly on the counter of one of the stalls I frequented, the same counter on which the parathas for the rollswill be rolled out the next day!
Fast food chains like Shiraz and Rahamania came to my rescue. They might not have been a healthier alternative but at least I knew these stores had shutters!
Here I found a new love in ‘double egg double chicken’ roll; chicken adding a touch of sophistication to the otherwise humble roll.
Today I am miles away from home; but at times I experience sudden bursts of craving for them. To satiate my urge I heat up ready-made parathas bought from a local Indian grocer. Caramelized onions and pan seared bite-sized chicken pieces marinated with tandoori masala serve as filling. All that’s left to prepare is the double egg omelette.
And I am just a wrap away from enjoying a guilt-free roll!