Paneer Frankie or Paneer Kathi roll are wraps made with parathas or tortillas stuffed with pan-fried paneer tikka, bell peppers, and onions. These wraps are filled with pickled onions, spiced with chaat masala and green chutney. A street-style recipe that is easy to get addicted to!
The first time I ate a Paneer Frankie was sometime in my college days (back in India) and I was instantly hooked. Those frankies were sold in a little no-frills store, with standing room only, made for snacking on the go. The wrap consists of a paratha (Indian layered flatbread), stuffed with marinated paneer tikka, bell peppers and onions, and seasoned with chutneys and pickled onions.
Think of Paneer Frankie as the Indian version of a burrito – it's got so many textural elements. Take one bite of a Frankie or Kathi roll as it is called and you’ll know why it's so addictive – you’ll get some of the juices of the grilled paneer and veggies and the crispy texture of the paratha, the sensation of it all is then heightened with the crunch of the onions, and chutney seasoning. I remember munching my way through the many elements of a paneer Kathi roll – every mouthful was pure bliss to me.
Together with Bhel Puri and Pav Bhaji, Paneer Kathi Rolls are some of Mumbai’s favorite street foods. Street cart vendors have loyal fans, and people line up to get their share of rolls from their favorite, no matter the time of day or night.
And after much trial and experimentation, I think I’ve hit upon the kind of recipe that replicates that Kathi roll of my dreams.
Why this recipe works
The perfect paneer Kathi roll is all about the texture and the way the flavors compliment each other. Here is why this recipe hits the right notes:
- Marination – The secret of the filing lies in the marinade. I’ve used a special combination of ingredients that tastes like stree-style paneer frankie.
- Flaky Paratha – The wrap is super important in this recipe. I have used store-bought flaky frozen, ready to cook parathas. Once heated up on the griddle pan, they become crispy and flakey and the perfect carrier for the filling.
- Pickled onions – The best frankies are made with onions that are kept in a sweet vinegar solution. Raw onions are good, but pickled onions are simply next level.
- Seasoning – The Filling of the kathi roll is seasoned with a green chutney spread and a sprinkling of chaat masala.
Notes on Ingredients
Here is all that you need to make Paneer Kathi rolls:
(Please head to the recipe card at the bottom of this page for the detailed ingredient measurements)
The Roti / Paratha (not pictured above) - Paratha is the perfect wrap for a Kathi roll, and I prefer to get frozen, store-bought parathas that are ready to cook. They are flaky, perfect in texture. You can optionally use rotis (homemade or storebought) or even tortillas for the wrap.
Paneer - Paneer can be bought at most supermarkets or Indian stores/ grocer. Cut the block of paneer into bite-sized cubes before marinating them.
Veggies - The filling for the veg Kathi roll is made with paneer tikka - basically, marinated paneer and veggies that are skewered and grilled. The veggies used are typically colorful bell peppers and onions. Cut these veggies into bite-sized pieces (see image above).
Key Marinade Ingredients - The marinade for the paneer and veggies is made with Gram Flour, mustard oil, yogurt, ginger garlic paste, and powdered spices such as turmeric, cumin, coriander. Mustard oil is my go-to oil for marinades (I've used it in my tandoori chicken tikka marinade as well), it has a slightly pungent taste that really improves the flavor.
Kasuri Methi - Dried fenugreek leaves are crushed and added to the marinade. The slightly smoky, earthy taste of this herb balances out the rest of the marinade.
Green Chutney - Green chutney is used as a spread for the roll. While preparing the Kathi roll, spread a layer of green chutney over the paratha (or tortilla), and then top off with the paneer tikka filling.
Step by step instructions with images
Start by mixing together the marinade ingredients in a bowl.
Add the spice powders, mustard oil, besan (gram flour), yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, Kasuri methi, salt and mix well. Whisk with a spatula until smooth.
Add the cubes of paneer along with the chopped bell peppers and onion.
Mix well such that the paneer and the veggies are evenly coated in the marinade. You can keep the marinated veggies and paneer refrigerated in a zip lock bag or frozen if you are meal prepping for later.
You can cook the marinated ingredients for the paneer kathi roll on either a grill / griddle or simply toss them in a wok until cooked. I prefer grilling them.
Skewer the paneer and veggies, just like you would skewer them for a Paneer Tikka recipe. On a hot griddle pan, grill the skewers for 10-15 minutes until lightly charred. Then keep aside.
Now, prepare the paratha or roti for the wrap.
I have used frozen, ready to cook parathas. You can also use rotis or tortillas. After heating up the parathas, Place each paratha on a plate. Spoon some of the green chutney on it.
Now place the paneer tikka in the center of the paratha, then top with pickled onions (see recipe card for instructions to make this). Finish off with a sprinkling of chaat masala.
Wrap the roll, and optionally, wrap it in a foil to keep the roll intact.
Your Paneer Kathi Roll or Paneer Frankie Roll is now ready to satisfy those street feed cravings!
Flaky Parathas - Get hold of authentic paratha at your local Indian grocer for perfectly crispy and flaky paneer Kathi rolls. I use frozen parathas that are ready to cook. Parathas have layers of fat in them, giving the inimitable flakiness of the wrap. You can certainly use flour tortillas to substitute the parathas, but the taste will be different. This is the brand I use.
Green Chutney - Make a jar of green chutney and store it in the fridge for a few days. You can make sandwiches or use green chutney as a dip for so many Indian appetizers. You can optionally use store-bought green chutney as well.
Pickled Onions - Some Paneer Frankie recipes call for raw sliced onions as part of the filling. I think picking the onions is so much better! You just need three ingredients for the pickled onions - vinegar (any kind will do), sugar, and sliced onions. Mix all three, and keep them for at least 1 hour before using. The longer you can keep the pickled onions, the better they taste.
Popular Variations of this recipe
There are many variations of the classic Frankie or Kathi roll. The more popular ones are:
Egg Frankie – The paratha is cooked on the griddle with beaten egg. The egg forms a layer over the paratha. The filling is added over the egg, with the chutney and onions. This is a very common kind of Frankie, which gives more body and makes the classic Frankie heartier than it usually is.
Chicken Frankie, Mutton Frankie – The meaty version of Kathi rolls are made with juicy chicken or mutton, wrapped in a paratha or roti, which is cooked with beaten egg before the filling is added.
Paneer Kathi Rolls - Paneer Frankie Recipe
For the Paneer Tikka Filling
- 9 ounces Paneer cut into bite-sized cubes approx. 400 grams
- ½ Red bell pepper chopped into bite-sized pieces
- ½ Green bell pepper chopped into bite-sized pieces
- ½ Yellow bell pepper chopped into bite-sized pieces
- ½ Red onion chopped into bite-sized pieces
Paneer Tikka Marinade
For the Wrap
- 4 Parathas (frozen or fresh) See notes
- Start by mixing together the marinade ingredients in a bowl.
- Add the spice powders, mustard oil, besan (gram flour), yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, Kasuri methi, salt and mix well.
- Whisk well until smooth.
- Add the cubes of paneer along with the chopped bell peppers and onion to the mixing bowl.
- Using a spatula, mix well such that the paneer and the veggies are evenly coated in the marinade. (You can keep the marinated veggies and paneer refrigerated in a zip lock bag or frozen if you are meal prepping for later)
- Skewer the paneer and veggies, on grill skewers. On a hot griddle pan, grill the skewers for 10-15 minutes until lightly charred. Then keep aside.
- Optionally, instead of using a grill the cook the paneer tikka, you can simply toss the marinated paneer + veggies in a wok (kadai) with a little mustard oil, until they are cooked.
- Prepare the parathas by heating them on a pre-heated pan untill the parathas are cooked. If using flour tortillas, heat for 20 seconds on each side. Keep aside.
- Prepare the pickled onions for the filling. Mix the sliced red onion in vinegar and sugar. Toss together and keep aside for 30 minutes (or you can make ahead and store in the friedge. )
Assembling the kathi roll
- Take each parathas and spoon 1 tablespoon of the green chutney on it.
- Place the paneer tikka filling, followed by the pickled onions and a sprinkling of chaat masala.
- Roll up the Kathi roll and keep aside. You can also use a foil or toothpick or roll them in butter paper to keep the roll intact.