Grilled lamb kebab kathi rolls

Grilled lamb kebab kathi rolls

I Love India
Martin Poole

There are so many wraps in India these days, but the original is probably the one made in Calcutta at the Nizam kebab shop. A customer was in a hurry – everything that a kebab was served with was thrown into an Indian flatbread – and a legend was born. They brushed egg over one side of the flatbread (and cooked it out), probably to seal the bread and prevent it from becoming too soggy quickly, but it does also add another flavourful element. You can add it in or leave it out as you like. The papaya paste helps to tenderize meat but, if you marinate it overnight, it should still be soft. Obviously, these make great kebabs without the wrap for friends, for a barbecue, or just for the carb-conscious.


Quantity Ingredient

For the marinade

Quantity Ingredient
100g plain yogurt
10g finely grated root ginger, (peeled weight)
3 large garlic cloves
1 red onion, halved and one half sliced
1/2-1 indian green finger chilli, stalk removed
good grinding of freshly ground black pepper
11/2 tablepoons see method for ingredients, (fresh if possible)
3/4 tablepoon ground cumin
1 tablepoon salt
1 tablepoon lemon juice
1/2 tablepoon grated green papaya, peeled before grating, see introduction above (optional)
2 tablepoons vegetable oil, plus more for oiling and to cook the rolls

For the kebabs

Quantity Ingredient
250g young lamb, cut into 2.5cm cubes
squeeze of lemon juice, plus 1 lemon, cut into wedges
2 eggs
3 wraps
1 tomato, sliced
3 rounded tablepoons tangy herb chutney


  1. Start with the marinade. Whizz together the yogurt, ginger, garlic, quarter onion, chilli, spices, salt, lemon, papaya and vegetable oil together until smooth. Add the lamb and leave to marinate for at least 1–2 hours; or overnight, covered, in the fridge, is best.
  2. When you are ready to eat, heat the fan-assisted grill element of your oven to high. Oil a baking sheet and place it on the middle shelf to heat up. Place the kebabs straight on the sheet, or skewer them first if you prefer. Cook for 8–9 minutes, or until the tops are charred and the meat is cooked through to your liking. They should be soft and flavourful. If you can do this on a barbecue, it will be even better.
  3. Meanwhile, salt the sliced onions and add a good squeeze of lemon juice. Beat the eggs lightly with a little salt.
  4. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat and add 1 tsp of oil. Brush a good amount of egg on the surface of your wrap and place egg side down in the hot oil. Once the egg is cooked, flip over and add one-third of the lamb, onions, tomato and chutney. Take off the heat, wrap and serve. Repeat to make the remaining kathi rolls.

Stand-alone creamy kebabs

  • The little elements I suggest here take these delicious kebabs to a new level and I often make them this way. It is inspired by a kebab made in Hyderabad.

    Blend 8 mint leaves into the marinade with the remaining ingredients. Soak 2 tsp white poppy seeds (or 1 rounded tbsp cashew nuts) in 1 tbsp water for 15 minutes, then pound or blend to a smooth paste. Add to the kebabs after they have marinated. Dry roast 2 tbsp chickpea flour in a frying pan until it becomes grainy, darkens a few shades and smells roasted. Add to the kebabs as well. Cook as above. This will give the kebabs a lovely creamy, flavourful coating. Serve with lemon juice or Tangy Herb Chutney.
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