When you are 7 years old and have just begun fasting, you’re constantly thinking about what Umma is preparing for Iftar. At that age, you don’t comprehend to the significance of fasting long hours. She would ask what my brother and I would like to eat to break our fast. These rolls were one of them. Sweet morsels of bread, a filling cutting through the sweetness with a lingering heat and the buttery crispness that is the start to this delightful bite.
Back then it was also probably because each bite could be dipped in ketchup. What is it about ketchup that makes it itself appealing to children? My own little one has recently tasted it for the first time and can’t get enough. At the supermarket yesterday, he threw in the largest bottle of ketchup his little hands could reach out and hold into his trolley.
Let’s start with the filling. When I made these rolls, I did not make it from scratch. I had a bit of Roast Chicken Moplah style leftover from Friday lunch. I shred the meat and tossed into golden sautéed shallots. As the chicken was already roasted, the texture worked out to be a little smoother than I would like it. Don’t be limited to poultry. Cook a stuffing of your choice of meat or fish exactly how you would make for cutlets or puff pastry.
Leftover chicken curry is another genius dish to repurpose for this recipe. It has all the ingredients you would need if you’re starting from the beginning. Pick out the flesh from the bones, add it back into the curry and then cook it on a frying pan till it reduces and thickens enough to use as stuffing. You could add sweetcorn, beans and/or carrots into your stuffing too. Totally optional. Crumbled hardboiled eggs aren’t optional unless you really hate them.
Humour me when I call these rolls Samoon. That is what hot dog rolls were referred to when I was younger and I have an inkling that they’re still called that in the smaller grocery call-and-we-deliver stores. Ideally it is best to use rolls bought on the same day. The bread is soft enough to scoop without ripping the roll which might happen if the bread is a bit stale.
And don’t throw away those bread remains. Toss them right back into your stuffing at the ready. And add a drizzle of melted butter to stir things up. Never a bad idea.
Now this is what made these rolls my favourite back then. The edible flour sealant that crisps up in brown butter. Flour is mixed with a little bit of water to make a thick paste to contain the stuffing. It should be thick enough to spread with your fingers. In a very hot frying pan, pat down a knob of butter and wait for the sizzling to calm down. You then place the rolls, flour side down to cook and eventually seal in the stuffing.
Now if it is close to runny, the paste might bubble and burn, leaving an exposed bread roll waiting for stuffing to tumble out. If it is too thick, it would not cook through and a gummy, chewy start to a roll is, well, rather unappetising. This is precisely the reason you should try having these rolls fresh off the stove when it as it’s crispest. It could get a bit soggy when it becomes cold.
I like to dip it with Thai sweet chilli sauce now. Ali has taken over the ketchup legacy for now. I hope your month of fasting is a blessed one.
- Hot dog rolls - cut into half
- 5 tbsp All Purpose Flour
- Water as required
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- Stuffing of your choice
- 250g Boneless chicken cut into thin strips
- 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
- 2 chills sliced finely
- ¼ tsp Turmeric powder
- ½ tsp Chilli powder
- ½ tsp Garam Masala
- 1 medium onion thinly sliced
- 2 hardboiled eggs
- 5 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp coconut Oil
- Salt to taste
- Heat coconut oil in a medium pan.
- Fry the onions till they become glassy.
- Add the ginger garlic paste and chillies and saute till the onions turn a deep golden colour. This may take a while.
- Add the spices and saute well.
- Add the chicken strips and stir well ensuring it is coated with the spices.
- Pour water, lower the flame and cover the pan.
- Keep checking the chicken for doneness in 5 minute intervals.
- Once it is cooked, using a wooden spoon or a spatula, shred the chicken in the pan. Since the chicken is hot, it will shred easily.
- Remove the shells of the eggs and crumble it well.
- Add crumbled eggs into the chicken mixture and stir well.
- Check seasoning and take off heat.
- Using your fingers, gently scoop out the bread from within the rolls to make it hollow.
- Add the scooped bread and melted butter into the stuffing and mix it well.
- In a bowl, put the flour and add water, a few teaspoons at a time, just enough to make a paste.
- Consistency is key. The paste should be thick enough to spread using your finger. If it turns out too runny, add flour to make it thicker.
- Heat a frying pan and brush with melted butter.
- Using your finger, spread the flour paste on the opening of the stuffed bread to seal it.
- Place the roll, flour paste side down, on the hot pan.
- Fry till it becomes crisp. This shouldn’t take more than a minute.
- Toast the roll on its sides lightly and take off heat.
- Serve alongside your favourite sauce.