Chicken Rolls

The best memory of a 'roll' that I can pull out from the depths of my mind is that of my friend's birthday party when I was in class 6. Poonam was one of the affluent girls who lived in my grandma's neighbourhood and hence birthday parties were a common thing for her unlike me who never had birthday parties as a child. That was not the norm in those days, especially not for middle class families like ours so all we did was cut a simple plum cake at home and that was it. Naturally I yearned for birthday parties - to invite and to be invited, to have fun, to give and receive gifts, to eat some mouthwatering snacks, to blow out the candles and cut the customary birthday cake. I still remember Poonam's party when a bunch of us were invited, perhaps more than half the class. I rushed home from school that day, gulped down my coffee and changed into a pretty dress and took a little gift, a stationary box for her. I was welcomed by her parents and grandparents and then I drifted off into that wonderful party mood. Games, music, food, the works everything that made for a grand birthday party. However, of all the things that we were served that day I loved the bread rolls the best. Her mum had prepared some amazing snacks out of which the bread rolls won hands down for me. 

The rolls were made of bread with a yummy potato filling inside and were deep fried and served piping hot. Oh such deliciousness! I can still remember the aroma and the taste. A few years later when Cochin Bakery decided to set shop in Mangalore I got to taste these lovely rolls again albeit slightly different as the ones in the bakery were non vegetarian. Most times I grabbed a bite at the bakery when I went visiting my colleague at her office which was right next to the bakery. The rolls weren't always piping hot but then when you are hungry anything will do right?

I had almost forgotten about them until recently I saw a lot of recipes floating on the internet that suddenly piqued my interest. Again, as is the case with people who frequently browse the net and bookmark recipes, this was also forgotten. A couple of months ago I was randomly searching the net for B.F Varghese's recipes and came across the recipe for bakery style meat rolls on Sojo's Masala. The minute I saw the recipe I knew that I had to try it right away. It was God's way of telling me to fulfill my wish :-)

These rolls were an absolute delight to prepare and they turned out to be fabulous! They were ultra crispy on the outside oozing juicy deliciousness on the inside. All of us were dying to bite into them while they were still piping hot. Like all deep fried foods they taste wonderful when you are really really hungry but for the very same reason it is one snack you should indulge in only once in a way (if you are calorie conscious). As you can see my pictures are very basic, no fancy setting and props - there was simply no time for that! All we wanted to do was gobble them up before they turned cold. Although these are a deep fried snack I would still prefer making them for the next time I am having a children's party at home. The main reason is that you can make these rolls ahead of time and deep freeze them. Just pull them out of the freezer when you are ready to fry 'em! Make sure you don't thaw them as they could turn soggy and limp and also ensure you store them in absolutely airtight, freezer safe containers. 

Chicken Rolls
Prep time: 30 mins | Frying time: 10-15 mins | Yield 12-15 rolls


For the covering & frying:
For the filling:
For the coating:
Boil the chicken (skip this step if you are using pre cooked chicken):
1. Wash and cut it into bite sized pieces and transfer into a heavy based/non stick pan, add salt to taste and sprinkle enough water to prevent scorching.
2. Cook on a low heat until the chicken is tender and almost all the water has dried up (let there be some moisture). Remove pan from heat and when cool enough to handle shred the cooked pieces and keep aside.

Prepare the filling:
1. Heat oil in a heavy based kadhai/wok and fry the chopped onions till they turn pale/translucent. 2. 2. Toss in the green chillies and fry for a few seconds and then add in the ginger and garlic paste - reduce the heat to very low.
3. Next, add the powders - coriander, cumin, garam masala, pepper - stir for a quick 2-3 seconds to avoid burning and then the shredded chicken and tomato puree. Mix everything well
4. Check salt to taste and adjust as required. Finally add the vinegar and chopped coriander, give it one last mix and remove from the heat. Allow to cool. Your filling is ready

1. Place a slice of bread on a wooden board or clean working surface and trim the sides. Sprinkle a few drops of water over it and lightly flatten it using a rolling pin (belan used to roll chapathis)
2. Now place approx 1 tablespoon of the prepared filling in the center of the flattened slice of bread and roll it up. Dab your fingers with a drop of water and seal the edges lightly
3. Place the beaten eggs in a shallow tray and the breadcrumbs in another - in this order, dip the prepared rolls in the egg solution and then the breadcrumbs until evenly coated.
4. Place the coated rolls in a plate or box and refrigerate for at least 20 mins as it helps firm them up and aids frying. You can even freeze them in freezer safe containers for later use.

Deep Fry:
1. Heat oil for deep frying in a deep, heavy based kadhai/wok. When you drop a piece of bread it should sizzle and come up to the surface within 2 seconds - the oil is now ready for frying. Maintain the heat of the oil at a medium high - if it is too hot it will brown the rolls too fast
2. Gently slip in 2-3 bread rolls or as many as you can comfortably accommodate in the frying pan.
3. Fry until they turn a light golden brown on both sides. Use a slotted spoon to drain excess oil and remove them onto an absorbent kitchen tissue.
4. Enjoy them hot with ketchup or a dip of your choice.

1. Instead of chicken you can use beef or mutton, minced or shredded. You may also use leftover kheema (dryish, without too much moisture) or for a vegetarian option try using any veg filling of your choice - soya, paneer or potatoes.
2. You can make these rolls ahead of time and freeze them in absolutely airtight, freezer safe containers. When you are ready to fry them, just remove them from the freezer and drop them in the hot oil!

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