It’s not often that you learn the origins of a specialty food when you’re checking out a new restaurant but Kati Rolls, although newer to Chicago, have a true history. Conceptualized originally in Kolkata, India, the kati (meaning stick) roll is an Indian flatbread used to wrap up skewered meats or paneer (Indian cheese).
Kati rolls became super popular in New York and now a small business entrepreneur, Kaushik Guha, and his wife, Swetha Jalan, are trying their wrapping hands at a Kati Roll spot in the DePaul area of Lincoln Park. Guha left his lucrative job to follow his dream of making fresh fast Indian food. He noted that when he would eat at Indian joints in the loop, the food was often heavy and left him feeling sluggish.
Hakka Bakka Kati Rolls delivers a smaller price than many Indian places, with not only double your skewer size Kati Rolls, but options of rice or lettuce bowls to deliver lighter fare. We stopped by for a free experience of Hakka Bakka’s cuisine and rolled over with joy to have a quick and healthy Indian food choice.
There are three ways to randomize your roll: Change your filling, change your sauce or change your base.
Filling: Lamb, Chicken, Paneer (vegetarian) or chickpeas (vegan)
Sauce: Tikka (tomato based and savory), Hariyali (Slightly spicy and herby), or Reshmi (mild and yogurt based)
Base: Whole wheat Kati Roll (with or without an egg griddled on it), Rice Bowl or Salad
Katis are made at time of order to ensure a hot delish wrap so although you can expect a timely order, don’t rush the roll! Staff at Hakka Bakka were supremely friendly and knowledgeable about their craft, even going a far as letting Kate don sanitation gear and try out the super kati robot, a.k.a the kati machine that presses the dough into a perfect circle. Eh, but that’s blogger life!
Finish your meal off with sides like a masala spiced popcorn, masala steak fries with cilantro mayo dipping sauce or buttery lentil soup. We love splashing their homemade tamarind and mint chutneys with a dash of spicy and sour Indian pickle on our meals to add to the flavor profile.
Fit tip: Trying to lean up for 2016? Get the chickpea and salad bowl for minimal calories, and maximum flavor.
Now what about this crazy name: Hakka Bakka? Owners, Kaushik and Swetha, lovingly explained that Hakka Bakka means “outrageous” in Bengali, and describes Kaushik’s parents initial shock when he decided to leave his former career. Their shock wore off but Kaushik and Swetha have a goal to give Chicago outrageous flavor with their kati spot.
Wanna give it a try? Enter to win 1 of 2 $15 gift cards to Hakka Bakka Kati Rolls. *P.S. they deliver*! Enter our Rafflecopter giveaway until 12/18.
We suggest the tikka paneer in an egg kati roll with the lentil soup. Winners will be contacted by email and get their gift card delivered via good ol’ USPS just in time for a holiday Indian food pick me up.