A guide to kalai ruti of Chapai Nawabganj: Recipe, accompaniments, and where to eat
If you are going to Chapai Nawabganj, you must try out kalai ruti. That's what everyone said when I was planning a trip there. And so, I did, and I didn't regret it. The question of regret comes from the premise that kalai ruti is, after all, a ruti. I mean, how magically delicious can ruti be? My expectations were not that high. With that almost arrogant low expectation, I tried out this Chapai Nawabganj specialty, but it left me pleasantly surprised.
It's larger than the usual ruti, thicker as well. As you bite in, you will realise that the taste is much different. Dough made with mashkalai-er-daal-er-aata is not a common ingredient for breads — unless of course, you are in Chapai Nawabganj, where it is a favourite breakfast and evening meal. In the table is also served a couple of bhortas and beef delicacies.
What to eat kalai ruti with
If kalai ruti is the throne, these bhortas are the crowned jewels. For a Bengali, bread alone hardly suffices. You need those goodies to go along with the bread. Begoon bhorta is a must-have with kalai ruti. Another bhorta any host from Chapai Nawabganj will serve this bread with is a special one made of green chillies and coriander leaves, plus onions, garlic, salt, and of course, mustard oil. The hot and spicy eclectic mix works magic with kalai ruti. I would say that this bhorta elevates kalai ruti to a whole different level.
Bhortas are great, but a meal without meat is, well, sad, for me. For the fellow omnivore out there, it is hence a good thing that beef often accompanies kalai ruti; beef curry and bot bhaja.
You still have plenty of Qurbani meat left in the refrigerator? Paya and nehari, had enough. Steak, cooked to perfection. Jhura mangsho, done. Barbequing, not in this weather.
If you are looking for new or different ways to eat beef, try eating it with kalai ruti.
Make it at home
Let's keep the recipe simple; if you are a cook, you will improvise anyway. Basically, to make the ruti, along with salt and water as needed, use 150 grams of mashkalai-er-aata and one-fourth cup chaal-er-aata to make the dough. Unlike our usual ruti, this one does not require rolling pin. Instead, one wets the palms and brings the dough to the ruti shape. Then, put it on stove over a clay pot to make the kalai ruti.
Where to eat
If you are going to Chapai Nawabganj, you must try out kalai ruti. That's what they said; now I say it too. There is nothing like homemade kalai ruti made by locals, but there are also plenty of eateries in the region where you can relish in this delight. To exemplify, Chapai Nawabganj's Bisho-Road-er-More has a cluster of roadside eateries offering this delight and the accompaniments. Price of one kalai ruti is around Tk 20.