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!