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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Number 13: Gobi Aloo Kati Rolls from the Kasa Indian Truck

Posted By on Thu, Apr 26, 2012 at 12:45 PM

click to enlarge Kasa's aloo gobi roti. - IANN IVY
  • Iann Ivy
  • Kasa's aloo gobi roti.

SFoodie's countdown of our favorite 50 things to eat and drink, 2012 edition

click to enlarge SFoodie_50_2012_logo_thumb_200x200.jpg

Kolkota's version of a New York slice, kati rolls were  designed to eat on the street. Originally a meat skewer wrapped in a paratha (flaky flatbread), the rolls have evolved in numerous directions over the years -- some with egg and sliced onions and chiles, others with curried meats and chutneys. 

It seemed only appropriate that Kasa, a three-year-old Castro restaurant specializing in kati rolls, should launch two food trucks in the past year. Just like Anamika Khanna and Tim Volkema's permanent restaurant, the trucks serve a revolving menu of kati rolls with familiar and less-familiar fillings: chicken tikka, lamb curry, paneer with peppers and tomatoes, and SFoodie's favorite, gobi aloo.

The bright yellow curry is showered in shaved red onions, then dabbed with cilantro chutney -- and if you dare, green-chile sauce -- before being rolled up in a soft, thick roti. Cilantro grabs your attention first, and then coriander arrives, the dominant note in the curry's masala, sparkling and clean. The potatoes and cauliflower are simmered just until they're tender, but you can taste them underneath the spice. And as you crunch, onion's sulfurous bite flashes and dies and the chile's heat swells. Within a few bites, you're thankful for the presence of that roti, floury and a little flaky, which absorbs some of the burn. 

Kasa's kati rolls are as stout as a burrito, but nowhere near as long; it's easy to fist one as you walk back from the truck to your office or sit on a concrete berm somewhere, watching people instead of a monitor. San Francisco's streets are full of crab cakes and sisigs and lomo saltados that have been truck-ified, sometimes well and sometimes awkwardly. It's a joy to find a street food like the kati roll that has been returned to its natural environment, where it is flourishing.

Kasa Indian Truck: various locations,, Twitter: @kasaindian.

Other favorites in this series:

14: Delfina's trippa alla fiorentina

15: Truffled tater tots from Leatherneck Steakhouse

16: Baia Pasta's durum-wheat pastas

17: Z&Y's flaming fish with chile oil

18: Auntie April's fried catfish

19: None but the Brave from Heaven's Dog

20: Saha's vegan kibbeh

21: Starter Bakery's hazelnut kouign amann

22: Pupusas at Cafe and Restaurant Montecristo

23: 2 a.m. apple fritter at Bob's

24: Le Sanctuaire's vadouvan

25: Crab louis salad at Nettie's Crab Shack

26: Soy sauce chicken from Happy Bakery & Deli

27: Locanda's Jewish-style artichoke

28: Local: Mission Eatery's asparagus-egg sandwich

29: Memphis Minnie's 18-hour brisket

30: Custard buns from City View

31: Mission Chinese Food's kung pao pastrami

32: Panisse frites from Frances

33: Izakaya Yuzuki's chawanmushi

34: Fatted Calf's chorizo

35: Silvanas from House of Silvanas

36: Linden Street Brewery's black lager

37: Aged oolongs from Red Blossom Tea Company

38: Broken Record's crawfish grits

39: Cebiche mixto from La Mar 

40: Nutella-hazelnut hand pie from Black Jet Baking Co.
41: Fifth Floor's burger
42: Perbacco's agnolotti dal plin
43: Iced coffee from Sightglass
44: Cypress Grove's Purple Haze Chevre
45: Lechon from Tastebuds Cuisine
46: Duck with beets from AQ
47: Tai nigiri at ICHI Sushi
48: Fish with explosive chiles from Spices! 
49: Baker & Banker Bakery's blueberry cream cheese muffin
50: Kufta tajine from Cafe Zitouna

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.
Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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