The Kathi Roll Express: From the Streets of India to Toronto

On what was probably one of the windiest nights of the year, I was literally blown into The Kathi Roll Express, where I was blown away by the colorful and flavorful fare I got to enjoy.  Gathered for an intimate dinner with some of my culinary counterparts, I was treated to a truly cultural experience.

The passion of proprietor Sumit was served up with a side of storytelling for every plating of authentic Indian street food.  An appetizing array of menu options were presented from starters to dessert that paired really nicely with a refreshing mango lassi (a drink blend of mango and yogurt).  As starters we enjoyed pani puri,  a popular street snack in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal, consisting of round, hollow puri (unleavened deep fried bread) filled with a mixture of pani (flavored water), chickpeas, potatoes, mint sauce and coriander. A tangy burst of flavor that is literally pooped into the mouth.  Similar ingredients were piled together in a dish known as chat papri (jokingly referred to as Indian nachos by Sumit).  These were followed up lamb seekh  or “hot dog” served on a bun with mint sauce, mayonnaise and seasoned onion; and one of my favorites of the evening, goat tikka, tender chunks of goat with a nice heat from their marinating spices.

Pani Puri Chat Papri Goat Tikka

Next up, three different Kathi rolls, grilled Indian flatbread known as parantha, filled with meats or vegetables.  We enjoyed the shami kabab which consisted of minced lamb, chickpeas, lentils and spices; the butter chicken tikka (a great twist on a classic dish) and the paneer shaslik, a great vegetarian option of tandoori spiced paneer.

Kathi Rolls

Of course an Indian feast would not be complete without curry and Sumit offered up yet again, three delectable menu selections, the lamb rogan josh (lamb cooked in yogurt and aromatic spices); paneer lababdar (pieces of paneer simmered with tomato, cashew nut paste and cream); and dal makhani (lentils and red kidney beans cooked with spices and cream).  Each of these was enjoyed with warm naan, provided a warm bowl of comfort on a chilly evening.

Curry Naan

This flavorsome and fragrant spread was capped off with an aromatic selection of sweets that consisted of barfi (a wonderful confection made from condensed milk and flavored with pistachios and cardamom); milk cake (a popular Indian dessert, particularly during Diwali, made from sweetened milk and cottage cheese); and gajar halwa (a lovely carrot pudding served with nuts and cream).

Gajar Halwa

The Kathi Roll Express has taken delectable street food from India and directed it to the streets of Toronto with success and is certainly a destination for exquisite fare.  Buon Appetito!

For locations and menu offerings visit: www.thekathirollexpress.com

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