Katlama: The Tasty Birmingham Desi Snack

Birmingham is famous for providing the nation with mouth-watering, flaky katlamas. DESIblitz highlights where to find them and how to make one.

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Chefs make a katlama from fairly simple ingredients

While there are various famous, scrumptious Desi snacks throughout the UK, which one is famous in Birmingham? A katlama is Birmingham’s most popular snack.

As well as the bustling balti triangle and the various Desi restaurants, katlama is also a part of the list.

Consequently, there is an increasing number of people who drive up from cities like London into Birmingham to indulge in a katlama.

With several takeaways and restaurants to choose from, there is a katlama for everyone. They are good for large family gatherings and dinner parties as a quick starter or snack.

Either buy them from your local takeaway or you can be a bit adventurous and make one at home!

DESIblitz highlights what a katlama is, how to make one and the best places to buy them from in Birmingham.

What is Katlama?

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Many have heard of a katlama while others simply have not. Those who have never had one are well and truly missing out.

So, what is katlama? This is for those who have never heard of it. First and foremost, a katlama is fried, just to warn those who are on strict diets.

Chefs make a katlama from fairly simple ingredients such as dough and the filling of your choice. However, the most popular filling in Birmingham is minced meat.

It is a round, flaky pastry with spicy minced meat inside it. One katlama is usually cut into four triangular pieces and is shared.

Chicken, fish, vegetable and even plain katlamas are also enjoyed but very rarely. Many Desi people eat a katlama with their breakfast on a Sunday in the UK.

Desi people typically enjoy katlama with a red chilli sauce with sliced onions in it. Here is a quick recipe on how to make this delicious sauce:

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium-sized onion
  • ½ chopped onion
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 10 dried red chillis
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup water

Method:

  1. Simply place all of the ingredients excluding the chopped onion into a blender jug and blend well.
  2. Stop the blender once it has created a liquid-like consistency.
  3. Pour the sauce into a bowl and mix in your chopped onions.
  4. Your sauce is ready to be accompanied by your katlama!

Recipe inspired by My Cooking.

How to Make a Katlama

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When biting into a scrumptious Katlama you might be wondering how they are made. They are in fact a fairly easy delicacy to make at home.

So, instead of spending money on shop-made katlamas, why not try a homemade one?

Here is how to make a delicious, flaky keema katlama:

(Makes 4 katlamas)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 cups of self-raising flour
  • ½ tbsp salt

Ingredients for the Filling:

  • ½ kg mincemeat
  • 2 small-medium onions
  • ½ cup coriander
  • 1 tbsp garlic
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • ½ tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 green chillis
  • 1 tbsp dry coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala

Method:

  1. Mix together the plain flour, self-raising flour, oil and the salt in a bowl. Be sure to add splashes of water while mixing the dough to achieve the right consistency.
  2. When the mixture turns into a dough, put it into the fridge while you make your filling.
  3. In a blender, blend the onions, garlic, ginger and the green chillis. Once the ingredients have become slightly mushy, add in the mince and blend well. Stop the blender once the ingredients have combined.
  4. In a bowl, mix the keema mixture along with the coriander and the dry spices.
  5. Take out the dough from the fridge and form 4 medium-sized balls.
  6. Sprinkle some flour onto the worktop and roll the first ball into a circular shape. Ensure that you roll it out so that it is thin rather than thick.
  7. Brush a drop of oil onto the dough and sprinkle some flour onto it.
  8. Roll the dough while stretching it and roll it into a swirl.
  9. With the rolling pin, roll it out again and repeat the process with the remaining dough balls.
  10. Place the keema in the middle of the dough and fold in the outside of the dough, pinching it in the middle. Flatten it down with your hands and roll it one last time.
  11. Put the katlama into hot oil and fry it for 5 minutes on each side on a medium heat.
  12. Increase the heat and cook for 2-3 minutes to brown the katlama slightly.
  13. Take it out, cut it up and enjoy!

This recipe was adapted from Yasmin’s Cooking.

Where to Find One

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Surprisingly, katlamas are well known in Birmingham, making them a popular snack in the city.

There are various takeaways that sell them, making them fresh daily. When driving down Stratford Road or Coventry Road, you will without a doubt witness a man making fresh katlama outside.

The smell is sensational, making your mouth water. One of the places where you can find a fresh, tasty katlama in Birmingham is Riaz’s Sweets.

You can find Riaz’s Sweets on Coventry Road in Small Heath. It is an Asian sweet store, however, they also sell quick snacks such as katlama.

Outside the shop, a man fries fresh katlamas daily and wraps them in a brown bag for their customers.

Mushtaq’s on Stratford Road is another place you can buy a scrummy katlama from as well as Mukhtars on Golden Hillock Road.

Shereen Kada is one of the most famous takeaways for katlamas. Like Mushtaq’s, it is also on Stratford Road and has plenty of seating inside.

A review on Zomato written by Haaris Bham states how famous Shereen Kada’s katlamas are. He says:

“My dad used to drag me to this place as a child on a Saturday to pick up their famous speciality… Katlamas.”

“Now for those who don’t have the first idea what these are (and many friends who visit from outside of Bham have never heard of them!) a katlama is a circular pastry filled with a spicy mince filling.”

In addition to this, Haaris also writes about how their katlamas made them famous. He mentions:

“Now katlamas are their signature special. This is what made them famous, I’ve been eating here for well over 25 years!!

“It’s clear that they sell a lot of katlamas, they’re stacked high in the display normally around 50-70 made ready to be eaten!!!”

Abdul’s Cafe & Diner on Stratford Road also claim to serve the best katlamas in Birmingham. On their website, they state that they are one of the few places left in Birmingham that make them fresh.

If you buy a katlama from Abdul’s, be sure to ask for Raf’s special spicy sauce to go with it.

With many Desi snacks on the rise, katlamas will never be beaten. Here is to the hope that the city of Birmingham continues to serve the best katlamas for eternity.

After knowing more about this tasty snack, you might want to pop into a takeaway in Birmingham and grab a few while they are still fresh!

Suniya is a Journalism and Media graduate with a passion for writing and designing. She is creative and has a strong interest in culture, food, fashion, beauty and taboo topics. Her motto is "Everything happens for a reason.”

Images courtesy of Mushtaqs and Abdul's Diner & Cafe



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