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Chicken Kathi Rolls

Chicken Kathi Rolls are one of my favorite street foods. Flavorful marinated and pan-seared chicken is wrapped in soft roti and dressed with egg, spicy cilantro-mint chutney, crisp red onions, and tangy-spicy Indian pickles (achar).

A chicken kathi roll wrapped in foil with a hand holding it.

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Chicken Kathi Rolls are irresistible thanks to their perfect harmony of flavors and textures. The succulent, marinated chicken, tangy and zesty cilantro-mint chutney, crunchy red onions macerated in lemon juice and spices, and a kick of spice from achar, all wrapped in a soft, warm roti with a layer of eggs create. It offers a flavor explosion in every bite. This Indian street food classic takes taste buds on a delightful journey.

The chicken filling is easy to make, but I sometimes make these Kathi Rolls with leftover chicken tikka, Chicken Korma, or tandoori chicken, which makes them even easier!

Three chicken kathi rolls wrapped in foil on a wooden plate.

What is the difference between kathi rolls and frankies?

Like Kathi Rolls, Frankies are also a delicious Indian street food consisting of flatbread rolled around a savory filling and dressed with flavorful condiments. Here’s what distinguishes them from each other:

  • Origin: Kathi Rolls, also called kati rolls, are from Kolkata, West Bengal, while Frankies were created in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • Filling: Traditionally, Kathi Rolls are filled with marinated, grilled, or pan-fried meats, like chicken, and sometimes paneer for a vegetarian option. Frankies, on the other hand, have a wider variety of fillings, including spiced mashed potatoes, vegetables, or meats cooked in different styles.
  • Eggs or no eggs: Kathi Rolls often have a layer of egg cooked along with the roti, whereas Frankies generally don’t include egg, unless they are specifically “Egg Frankies.”
  • Bread: Kathi rolls are usually made with roti made with whole wheat flour, while frankies are more likely made with flaky paratha.
  • Sauces and seasonings: Kathi Rolls usually feature cilantro-mint chutney, chaat masala, and sometimes achar. Frankies, on the other hand, often use a unique Frankie masala, which is seasoning blend that usually includes ground red chili, dry mango powder (amchur), garam masala, ground coriander, ground turmeric, and ground cumin, as well as a variety of sauces like green chutney, tamarind chutney, mayonnaise, hot sauce, or even ketchup.
Overhead photo of the ingredients needed to make chicken kathi rolls.

Ingredients you need to make these street style kathi rolls

Let’s dive into the yummy ingredients that make this Chicken Kathi Roll recipe. Here’s what you need:

  • Chicken: Skinless, boneless chicken thighs are the preferred cut here because they’re juicy and full of flavor. You can also use chicken breast if you prefer, but the thigh brings extra juiciness. I like the chicken cut into strips, but you can do cubes if you prefer.
  • Yogurt: Adds a creamy texture to the marinade, and its enzymes tenderize the chicken, making it tender and moist. You can use Greek yogurt for a thicker consistency or even non-dairy yogurt.
  • Garlic and ginger: This dynamic duo brings a punch of flavor to your marinade. I recommend using fresh ginger and garlic for the best flavor, but you can use a ginger garlic paste from a jar if you like.
  • Tikka masala marinade: For authenticity, you can make your own seasoning mixture, but for simplicity, I like to grab a jar of Patak’s Tikka Masala Marinade at the supermarket. This seasoning paste is packed with flavor and lasts a good long time in the refrigerator after opening. I like that I don’t need to keep so many individual spices on hand but can still get all that flavor in my chicken, and the resulting chicken tikka kathi roll is delicious.
  • Kosher salt: Salt enhances flavors and helps tenderize the chicken. I prefer kosher salt since it is additive free. You can substitute sea salt or table salt.
  • Kashmiri red chili: This ground chili powder adds a vibrant red color to your dish. Heat level varies between brands, so be sure to taste yours before adding. If it’s very hot or if you don’t like your food very spicy, add less than the recipe calls for. If you can’t find Kashmiri chili powder, you can substitute a combination of paprika, for color, and cayenne for heat.
  • Cooking oil: Choose a neutral oil with a high smoke point, like canola or vegetable oil. This will help you cook the chicken without burning it.
  • Red onion: Adds a sweet, tangy flavor and a lovely crunch to the rolls. You can add plain slices to your rolls or macerate them with lemon juice, salt, and spices first to mellow out their bite and add even more flavor. Or substitute lime juice pickled red onions.
  • Lemon juice: Brightens up the flavors. Freshly squeezed is always best, but bottled will work in a pinch.
  • Chaat masala: A tangy, savory spice blend that really brings the dish together. You can find this at Indian grocery stores or online. If unavailable, try using a combination of cumin, coriander, and mango powder (amchur).
  • Cilantro mint chutney: A zesty, herby sauce that adds a fresh twist to the rolls. You can easily make this at home or find it pre-made at your local Indian grocery store.
  • Achar: These Indian pickles add a tangy, spicy touch. You can find it online or at an Indian grocery store.
  • Mint leaves: Fresh herbs always elevate a dish and here bright, fresh mint leaves really do make a difference. You can substitute other fresh herbs like fresh cilantro, chives, or basil.
  • Roti: This whole-wheat Indian flatbread is the perfect vehicle to wrap your Kathi Roll. You can use store-bought or make your own homemade roti. You can also use parathas or even whole wheat tortillas.
  • Eggs: Cooked right into your roti, these add layer of richness to the rolls and pull everything together.

Let’s Talk Marination

The secret to a perfect Kathi Chicken Roll lies in the marinade. To ensure that your chicken is packed with flavor, follow these tips:

  • Don’t be tempted to skip the yogurt. The enzymes in the yogurt tenderize the meat and help the marinade seasonings permeate it, making it extra moist, tender, and delicious.
  • Use a whole-milk, thick yogurt, like Greek yogurt, for your marinade base. The thick texture and the fat will help the flavors cling to the chicken.
  • Marinate the chicken for 20 to 30 minutes, but not much longer than that. Because of the tenderizing action of the yogurt, if you leave it too long, the chicken may get a bit mushy.
  • Don’t forget to season your marinade with salt, as it helps tenderize the chicken and brings out the flavors of the spices.

How to make the recipe

Making Chicken Kathi Rolls is an easy process, but it has a number of steps. Here’s how to make this recipe:

  1.  Marinate the chicken. In a mixing bowl, combine  the marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Add the chicken, stir to coat well, and let stand 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. While the chicken is marinating, you can season the onions. Toss the thinly sliced onions with lemon juice, salt, chaat masala, and Kashmiri chili powder. Keep aside until ready to use.
  3. Get your other ingredients ready. Beat the eggs in a bowl with a generous pinch of salt. Tear mint leaves. Mix the Cilantro-Mint Chutney with some yogurt. Set out a jar of achar, if using.
  4. Once the chicken is finished marinating, drain off any liquid that has collected in the bottom of the bowl. Heat the oil in a skillet and add marinated chicken. Cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked through.
  5. Heat the roti in a very lightly oiled nonstick skillet, cooking each for about 30 seconds per side. Once the second side has cooked for 30 seconds, spoon some of the egg over the top and spread it around to cover the roti as much as you can (it’s okay if some of the egg runs over the edge of the roti). Let cook for 30 seconds or so to set a bit, then carefully and quickly flip the roti over. Let cook for about 5 seconds to set the egg, then remove from the skillet. Repeat with the remaining rotis.
  6. Assemble your rolls. First spread a thin layer of cilantro-mint chutney all over the egg side of the roti. Spread a bit of achar if you like. Add some of the cooked chicken in the center of the roti. Top with the several slices of the macerated red onions and a few mint leaves. Add a squeeze of lemon juice if you like.
  7. Roll up the roti, wrapping halfway in foil or parchment paper or using toothpicks to keep it together if necessary.
  8. Serve immediately.

Chicken Kathi Rolls are easy to make and so packed with flavor that they’re sure to impress. Enjoy them for lunch or dinner, or even for breakfast or brunch like a street style Indian breakfast burrito!

three chicken kathi rolls rolled up and wrapped with foil.

Chicken Kathi Rolls

Chicken Kathi Rolls are a delicious Indian snack, often sold from street carts. This is one of my favorite Indian street food recipes, consisting of marinated, grilled chicken pieces wrapped in a soft roti, Indian flatbread. They’re dressed with spicy cilantro-mint chutney, thinly sliced red onions that have been marinated with spices and lemon juice, and spicy Indian pickles (achar). A layer of egg adds richness and holds it all together.

Low angle shot of 3 chicken kathi rolls wrapped up with foil with condiments on the side.

What to serve with them

Chicken Kathi Rolls are really flavorful with Cilantro Mint Chutney and a bit of achar, but you can also add other condiments like Tamarind Chutney, Garlic Chutney, or Raw Mango Chutney.

Chicken Kathi Rolls make a great snack or light meal on their own. You can make it a meal by adding a refreshing salad, like Kachumber Salad, a side of Cucumber Raita, or a bowl of Lentil Dal or Mulligatawny Soup.

Closeup of 3 chicken kathi rolls on a wooden plate.

Chicken Kathi Rolls

Robin Donovan
Chicken Kathi Rolls are a delicious Indian snack, often sold from street carts. This is one of my favorite Indian street food recipes, consisting of marinated, grilled chicken pieces wrapped in a soft roti, Indian flatbread. They’re dressed with spicy cilantro-mint chutney, thinly sliced red onions that have been marinated with spices and lemon juice, and spicy Indian pickles (achar). A layer of egg adds richness and holds it all together.
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Main Course, snacks
Cuisine Indian
Servings 8 servings
Calories 182 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • For the chicken
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 3 tablespoons tikka masala marinade or tandoori masala marinade
  • 2 tablespoons whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1- inch piece ginger minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • For the pickled onions
  • ½ red onion thinly sliced
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon chaat masala
  • ¼ teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder
  • For assembly
  • 8 roti
  • 3 eggs whisked together with a generous pinch of salt
  • ½ cup Cilantro-Mint Chutney
  • ¼ cup whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves
  • ¼ cup achar optional

Instructions
 

  • To marinate the chicken, in a mixing bowl, combine the tikka masala paste, yogurt, garlic, ginger, salt, and chili powder. Mix well. Add the chicken and stir to coat the chicken pieces well. Let let stand for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • While the chicken is marinating, you can season the onions. Toss the thinly sliced onions with lemon juice, salt, chaat masala, and Kashmiri chili powder. Keep aside until ready to use.
  • Get your other ingredients ready. Beat the eggs in a bowl with a generous pinch of salt. Tear mint leaves. Mix the Cilantro-Mint Chutney with some yogurt. Set out a jar of achar, if using.
  • Once the chicken is finished marinating, drain off any liquid that has collected in the bottom of the bowl. Heat the oil in a skillet and add marinated chicken. Cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked through.
  • Heat the roti in a very lightly oiled nonstick skillet, cooking each for about 30 seconds per side. Once the second side has cooked for 30 seconds, spoon some of the egg over the top and spread it around to cover the roti as much as you can (it’s okay if some of the egg runs over the edge of the roti). Let cook for 30 seconds or so to set a bit, then carefully and quickly flip the roti over. Let cook for about 5 seconds to set the egg, then remove from the skillet. Repeat with the remaining rotis.
  • Assemble your rolls. First spread a thin layer of cilantro-mint chutney all over the egg side of the roti. Spread a bit of achar if you like. Add some of the cooked chicken in the center of the roti. Top with the several slices of the macerated red onions and a few mint leaves. Add a squeeze of lemon juice if you like.
  • Roll up the roti, wrapping halfway in foil or parchment paper or using toothpicks to keep it together if necessary.
  • Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Calories: 182kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 22gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 116mgSodium: 507mgPotassium: 379mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 154IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 33mgIron: 1mg
Keyword kathi roll
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By on May 2nd, 2023

ABOUT ROBIN DONOVAN

Hi, I’m Robin! I am a full-time food blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. I spend my days cooking, writing about, and photographing food.

I’m the author of more than 50 cookbooks, including Ramen for Beginners5 Ingredient Cooking for TwoSushi at HomeThe Baking Cookbook for Teens, and the bestselling Campfire Cuisine.

My food writing has also been featured in major print and online pubications including Cooking Light, Fitness, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and others. → More about Robin

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