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A Wrap By Another Name

I've always had mixed emotions about working from home. Love, LOVE not being stuck behind cars. Ugh on being so close to the fridge and pantry. I reach for food even when I am not hungry. I do it absent-mindedly while thinking of the best way to respond to an email. And while I am complaining about gluttony, I do it with the humble recognition that I am hugely blessed to even be writing this post. (Note to self: fill day with random acts of kindness.)

In our household, the proximity to food in a lockdown has altered how we are handling our meals. We've shifted to a substantive lunch followed by a small dinner, hoping to balance the lack of movement.

A go-to dish is rolls. That is what we call wraps in the old country. I am yet to meet a Bengali who is not in love with the "kathi roll" - kathi being the Bengali word for stick or skewer. This roll is a tightly wrapped paratha filled with deliciousness centered on kababs. It dates back to 1932 when Nizam's, the meat-lover's haven in a central Kolkata alley, invented this mother of all delicacies.

Our kitchen is neither Nizam's and I am no chef, but I've discovered that tortillas warned with a bit of ghee transforms itself to a distant cousin of the paratha. To that, we add marinated and stir-fried meat, our favorite vegetables, douse with an array of sauces, and then gobble the roll in large bites that prevent oxygen from getting to the brain.

I used roasted Brussels sprout with balsamic vinegar and tzatziki in the latest rendition of the roll, crossing my Indian and western roots. That's the beauty of cooking - there are things that are known to work well and the rest of the culinary universe is open to trial (and error).

I hope you have found your version kathi roll and marrying it with your favorite meats, veggies, and sauces, dancing in your kitchen, and responding politely to your emails.

On this day when we honor those who have bravely served this country with red, white, and blue cookouts...Bon Appétit!

That's not my kathi roll! It's a pic from Nizam's... mouthwatering, no?

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