Kathi roll also known as Kathi (skewers) Kebab Roll is a street-food originating from Calcutta. Originally, it was a kebab enclosed in a paratha (bread), but over the years many variants have evolved all of which now go under the generic name of Kathi Roll. Common variants of the filling are egg, soft cheese, mixed vegetables and curried meat.
There are many stories about how exactly the roll got started, but one of the most well known one goes that Sheikh Hasan Reza, a petty clerk from Calcutta, decided in the early 1900s that his career wasn’t going anywhere and he’d be better off selling food.
He began with a tiny stall, hawking kebabs and rotis (the thin Indian bread) and when he realized that the people who visited his stall didn’t like getting their fingers greasy, he hit upon the idea of the kebab wrap - the kathi kebab. The kathi part of the name came later when Nizam's (famous restaurant in Calcutta) used iron skewers to make their kebabs.
Nizam enjoyed a virtual monopoly of this method of serving a kebab for decades, but it eventually became commonplace in Calcutta and later spread elsewhere. Nizam’s- which was the restaurant Reza soon set up - is today a popular restaurant, without any smart maître d’ or other jazz - but with splendid food.