Roasted Cart- if you’re familiar with the Kolkata food scene, this name may ring a bell with you. Yes, I am talking about the roadside Kebab cart at Kasba. Now, Kebab has always been something, which is enjoyed at a restaurant- or at the most, a Dhaba. But we’ve rarely seen delicious kebabs being produced from a roadside cart- by a suave young entrepreneur. And this is a story that needs to be told. So, welcome to Roasted cart, Kasba.
Let me try to share the location here. If you’re going towards Kasba from Gariahat, Bakultala bus stop will come in midway. You need to get down and look for the JK Tyre shop on the opposite footpath. The almost-always-crowded-stall in front of that is the roasted Cart. They start their roadside Kebab from 5 PM and go on till around 9 PM or till the stocks last. And the good part is, they’re open 7 days a week. The owner, Debangshu can be contacted at 9836363607.
Kebab came from the word “Kababba”- means fried meat. In Arab, grilled meat is called shiwa and many think, kababba and shiwa were combined together to get the word shish kebab or sheikh kebab. But the word “Kebab” probably came from another west Asian ancient language named Aramaic
Chicken and mutton kebabs …
Like every kebab shop, Chicken and mutton kebab variations rule here. And Kebabs are done or rather finished on the flat charcoal tandoor, and not a traditional hollow tandoor- operational convenience. The result is a fantastic burnt flavor but on the flip side, the juiciness of the kebabs is slightly compromised. However, that does not take away the reality that at 140/- a plate, you get 6 quite healthy pieces of boneless chicken tikka. The marination is simply perfect with the spice quotient just right. In fact, I love their traditional chicken tikka- yes, the red one- right. Chicken garlic kebab, however, is slightly bland in comparison to that … but wasn’t it supposed to be that way?
The mutton (or chicken on an ordinary day) chapli kebab is something here, that needs to be discussed. It’s the Pakistani cousin of Shammi Kebab- more towards the Pushtun styled dish. But what they make here at Roasted Cart, is quite good. The meat patty is soft and quite juicy. and the best part of the whole dish is the chutney they serve along with it. It’s a fantastic tomato and tamarind chutney. It’s quite spicy and elevates the dish to a different level.
According to Wikipedia, The name chapli is said to be derived from the Pashto word chaprikh, meaning “flat” – alluding to the kebab’s light, round and flattened texture. Another theory is that the name is derived from Chappal, the local word for sandals – implying the average shape and size of a kebab, which resembles that of a front part of the chappal sole. Peshawar is quite known for the same, but I’ve never travelled thhere- so can’t comment on the authentic taste. Traditionally, the kebab is fried in lamb/ beef fat, but I guess that’s supposed to be against the healthy eating habits of today.
Chicken wings and egg Kebab
Chicken wings is supposed to be one of the most popular dishes from Roasted Cart. And they serve it in two variations- with or without skin. Naturally, the with-skin-version is supremely juicy. But honestly, I am not a big fan of wings and this was just an okay-ish dish to me. Please note, the marination, as well as the preparation is damn good. Just that, I don’t like chicken wings.
Barbeque word came from a mish-mash framework used to grill meat at West Indies oldies. The Spanish got the idea and named as Barbaqua. And contrary to the popular belief, it didn’t come from the French term Barb-a-que (meaning from beard to tail)
Rather the Egg kebab is superb and I highly recommend that. Boiled poultry eggs are coated with tikka marination and cooked on barbed wire. The result is fantastic. While my cynical mind was shouting inside my mind for a half-boiled duck egg to replace the existing product, the final product was fantastic. If someone visits the Roasted Cart, I definitely recommend this Egg Kebab.
Fish and Prawns
Another dish that I’d highly recommend from this lovely Roadside Kebab center is their whole baby vetki kebab. It’s a freshwater vetki (of around 250-300 gms) marinated and finished over the barbed wire. The marination is subtle and doesn’t kill the natural taste of the fish and probably that’s the best part. And at 220/- a piece, it’s difficult to get a better deal in Kolkata. In fact, the pomfret is quite good, along with the jumbo prawn kebab. Debangshu uses freshwater large-headed galda prawns for this. While the flesh is slightly less in this variety of prawns, connoisseurs literally love to chew on its head. And while I’d love to be proved wrong, but they use the same marination for Pomfret and Prawns. Not that I didn’t like it, but I was having both at the same time, which is not the usual scene here.
Please do not get me wrong. The roasted cart doesn’t serve you the best kebab in town, neither it CAN- within their price range. But what they did, is to break the myth that Kebab is a fancy dish, to be savored by a fortunate few. This small roadside kebab shop, run by an ex-corporate Debangshu and his family, proved that good quality kebab can come from anywhere. Having said so, they serve THAT quality of kebabs, with their compromising setup, on which many restaurants in the city feel pride in. Just that, my expectations from this place, is getting higher by the day and that’s entirely my problem.
And most importantly, in this disturbing time, they’re taking all the hygienic measures and that’s what matters. Please check the same at our video below
If you know any other good roadside kebab joints in Kolkata, do let me know in the comments section.
Bon Appetit !!!
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Excellent Sir…Loved it