Anthony Bourdain avered, “I think of street food as the antidote to fast food, it’s the clear alternative to the King, the Clown and the Colonel”.
Street food of any country is a huge indicator of what the inhabitants of that particular land fancy as food as it reflects the heart of the community. Certain street foods like American hotdogs, turkish pides, Arab shawarma, China’s tanghulu (fruit skewers), Mexican Tacos, Netherlands Patat fries, Italy’s arancini (rice balls with cheese, vegetables and meat fried until crisp) and so many more, demonstrates the array of spices and ingredients and cooking method used in those countries. It’s true, one of the most loved cuisines and comfort food is best served as street food, fuss-free and on the go.
Indo-Pak boosts some of the best and most famous street foods in the world. From Bun-Kebabs to Paratha Rolls, pani puree to chana chaat and samosas and roasted corn (bhunna channa) to grilled corn to Stall biryani and Aloo tikki, the food that’s found on street stalls, says a lot about what the Indo-Pak nation loves to eat on a daily basis. The flavours are a celebration of variation of spices harmonizing to create exuberantly appetizing savours. We are a nation that really enjoys and loves our food and our curiosity just never sleeps. The indo-Pak cuisine has introduced some of the most eccentric amalgamation of two cultures fused into one e.g. Pizza Paratha, which will definitely make you go ga-ga over it, Shawarma Stromboli, Spicy Doner Kebab Roll, Tikka Casserol, Roast Tandoori and so much more. I think that’s the best feature of the modern world, it’s no longer world’s within a world, it’s universal and the gastronomical world has played a significant role in bringing the world together. Anthony Bourdain said it rightly, “the more street food we have, the more it’s embraced by every income strata, the better world we have”.
I can assure you this, if you ever visit Indo-Pak, the Street food will be the best you will ever eat. These Paratha Rolls are my take on the famous Gola Kabab Roll. I used to buy these off a street vendor outside my university when I used to live in Karachi, Pakistan and they were just out of this world. The smoky flavour of the melt-in-your-mouth silky kabab texture paired with the crunch and sharpness of the onion rings and the appetizing edge from the Mint Chutney, it makes me salivate even now. Unfortunately, ever since I left Pakistan, I have never had the chance to find the same taste or even something similar to it here in UK. I guess I just get too attached to some things because they hold within themselves so much memories like my A Bread Pie Affair, this recipe floods me with memories of my university life and friends and how time takes everyone to different paths and friends go far holding different dreams. Life has kept me so busy to be in touch with any of my university friends on a regular basis but they are never far in memories.
“Gola” translated into English from Urdu means ‘circle’ and the recipe originated from Afghanistan in Kandahar. These kebabs are shaped into large circles before being cooked in a curry. I omitted the curry as I couldn’t get enough of it’s street-food-like taste and wanted to recreate my university Kebab Paratha Roll memory.
This recipe is fairly easy, the secret to a silky textured melt-in-your-mouth kebab is adding raw papaya or meat tenderize to the meat and blitzing it up once in the blender. The kebabs that you will fry will be crisp and caramel on the outside and lusciously soft inside. The crunch of the onions and cucumber pairs like best-friends to the kebab and the Mint Chutney just takes it to a whole other level. I used Frozen Paratha’ s for the rolls, which are easily available in any super store in the Asian section. The frozen Paratha are just extremely easy that require no oil to cook and are a healthy alternative to the classic homemade oil fried Paratha. Nevertheless, if you feel the need to make home made Paratha, that is ofcourse your individual pteference. Other than Paratha, these kebabs can also be eaten with plain Naan or Flat Pita Bread.
This gorgeous dish is perfect as brunch or dinner. Serve it with Lassi alongside and you have a complete meal.
500g — Beef mince
5 tbsp — Oil
Gola Kabab Mix ~
4 tbsp — Gram Flour
2 tbsp — Dessicated coconut
4-6 — Cashew Nuts
1 tsp – Cumin Powder
1/2 tsp – Garam Masala Powder
1 tsp – Red Chilli Powder
1 – Caramelized Onion
2 – Green Chillies
1 tbsp – Yogurt
1 tsp – Ginger and Garlic Paste
2 tsp – Meat Tenderizer or Raw Papaya
1 – Egg
Green Chutney ~
Half bunch – Mint
Half bunch – Coriander
1 – Green Chilli
1 tsp – Cumin seeds
1 – Garlic clove
2 tsp – Tamarind juice/ or substitute with 1 tomato
1/2 tsp – Sugar
1/4 tsp – Salt
- In a fry pan, dry roast the Gram Flour, Dessicated Coconut and Cashews for 3-4 minutes or until the aroma starts coming through and set aside.
- Fry the onions until light brown or use the pre-cooked brown onions available in stores everywhere.
- In a good processor, add the beef mince along with all the spices listed under the gola kabab mix, fried onions and roasted ingredients and blitz it all together.
- If you feel the kebabs are a little dry, add a little water to moisten them. Do not add too much water as the kebabs won’t hold their shape.
- Shape the balls into medium size circles.
- Shallow fry the kebabs on medium-high beat until cooked through. Set them aside.
- Prepare the Mint Chutney by blitzing together all the ingredients in a blender.
- Prepare the Frozen Paratha by dry roasting it on the fry pan or as I have mentioned in my post above, serve these with Naan or Pita.
- Dice the onions and cucumber into rings.
- Assemble the Paratha by placing two kebabs on it and topping them with the Mint Chutney, onion and cucumber and a little yogurt if desired.
- Roll the Paratha up and wrap in foil to serve.
- Serve this with a glass of Lassi.
Happy Foodieating ~