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Extract from Chai, Chaat & Chutney • By Chetna Makan • Published by Mitchell Beazley


$ $ $ $ $
• • • • •

Chai, Chaat & Chutney
Makes about 12

I had never heard of pantaras before visiting Kolkata but
found them being rolled at super speed on street-side stalls,
ready for the lunchtime rush. Mine are filled with chicken,
but you can replace it with your own choice of minced meat.

Posted by Octopus Publishing Published See Octopus Publishing's 53 projects » © 2023 Chetna Makan / Mitchell Beazley · Reproduced with permission. · Chai, Chaat & Chutney by Chetna Makan, is published by Mitchell Beazley £25 (, published 6 July 2017. Photography by Nahima Rothacker & Keith James.
  • Step 1

    For the pancakes, put the flour,
    turmeric and salt into a mixing
    bowl. Add the eggs and water
    and whisk until smooth. Heat
    a non-stick frying pan over
    medium to low heat. Pour
    50ml (2fl oz) of the batter into it
    and quickly spread it around to
    make a very thin pancake. Cook
    on each side for 20 seconds,
    then transfer to a plate. Repeat
    with the remaining batter to
    make 12 or so pancakes.
    For the filling, heat the oil in a
    wide saucepan over medium
    heat. Add the bay leaf, cloves,
    cardamom and cinnamon and
    cook for a few seconds. Add
    the onion and cook for about
    5 minutes, until softened. Mix
    in the carrot and pepper and
    cook for another minute, until
    combined. Stir in the minced
    chicken, salt and chilli powder
    and cook for 10 minutes, until
    the chicken is done. Leave to
    cool slightly, then remove the
    cinnamon stick.

  • Step 2

    In a cup, mix the cornflour with
    the water to make a thin paste.
    To assemble, lay a pancake on
    your work surface. Arrange
    11/2 tablespoons of the chicken
    mixture in a line just to one side
    of the centre of the pancake.
    Fold 1 edge of the pancake over
    either end of this filling. Brush
    a little cornflour paste on the
    edge of the pancake furthest
    away from the filling, then roll
    up from the opposite edge to
    encase the filling and make a
    tight cigar shape. Repeat with
    the remaining ingredients.
    Heat enough oil for deepfrying
    the pantaras in a deepfat
    fryer or heavy saucepan to
    190°C (375°F). Line a plate with
    kitchen paper. Fry the rolls a
    few at a time for 2 minutes
    on each side, until crisp and
    golden. Transfer to the plate
    to drain while you fry the
    remaining rolls. Serve hot with
    Sichuan Sauce or Coriander
    and Spinach Chutney.

  • Step 3

    Serves 6-8
    Use with caution – this sauce is super spicy! Part of the Indian-Chinese
    fusion cuisine that is well loved in India today, this sauce is used in
    some very popular dishes. It also makes a great dipping sauce –
    if you’re brave enough to face the heat.
    10–15 dried red chillies
    100ml (31/2fl oz) sunflower oil
    40 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    7.5cm (3 inch) piece of fresh
    root ginger, peeled and
    finely chopped
    6 spring onions, finely chopped
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1/2 teaspoon table salt
    1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
    50ml (2fl oz) water

    Cover the chillies with boiling
    water and leave to soak for
    15 minutes. Once they are
    soft, drain off the water and
    transfer the chillies to a small
    food processor. Blitz to a paste,
    adding just enough water to
    loosen to the right consistency.
    Set aside.
    Heat the oil in a saucepan.
    Add the chopped garlic
    and cook over low heat for
    10 minutes. Stir in the ginger
    and cook for 5 minutes. Add
    the spring onions and cook
    for 5 minutes more, until the
    spring onion has softened.
    Stir in the chilli paste and
    cook over a low heat for
    10 minutes. Lastly, add the
    sugar, salt, vinegar and
    measured water and cook for
    1 minute more. Leave to cool
    and serve cold. This sauce will
    keep in an airtight container in
    the refrigerator for 7–10 days.

  • Step 4

    Serves 6-8

    The addition of chana dal makes this coriander chutney completely
    different to those you normally find in Indian restaurants – it has a
    creamier texture and a deliciously nutty flavour. In India it’s used in
    all sorts of dishes, from sandwiches to bhel puri, and also makes
    a great accompaniment to hot snacks such as samosa, pakora
    and kachori.
    25g (1oz) split chickpeas
    (chana dal)
    50g (13/4oz) coriander leaves
    50g (13/4oz) spinach leaves
    15g (1/2oz) mint leaves
    4 garlic cloves
    2.5cm (1 inch) piece of fresh
    root ginger, peeled
    2 green chillies, sliced
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    50ml (2oz) natural yogurt

    Heat a dry frying pan over
    medium heat. Add the split
    chickpeas and toast for
    3–4 minutes, until they turn
    golden in colour. Tip the
    toasted chickpeas into a small
    bowl and leave to cool.
    Using a small food processor,
    blend the coriander, spinach,
    mint, garlic, ginger, chillies,
    salt and roasted chickpeas until
    smooth. Add the yogurt and
    blend again. Transfer to a bowl
    to serve, or store in an airtight
    container in the refrigerator
    for 4–5 days.

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