You can go far in your diner life without questioning the popular belief that kebab is grilled meat or fish on a stick, but if you are careful you will eventually find that the stick is optional for some types of kebab and others, it is completely absent. But the grill, be it a tandoor, hibachi, campfire, or a giant gasoline-powered stainless steel monster with wifi-connected temperature sensors, can still seem like a constant, the common denominator of all kebab equations. However, all misunderstandings collapse immediately when one encounters the chapli kebab. In the vast, vast, and heterogeneous kingdom of the kebab, the chapli kebab is a platypus, a Pashtun staple food prepared at stalls in the streets and restaurants of Afghanistan. , is a hand-formed meat pie that is not grilled or fried, but deep-fried in mahogany glistening in animal fat or bubbly oil. Fat is not used in moderation. A famous resident of Rashakai, Pakistan, fries his chapli kebab in a pan the size of a children’s bowl.
Oil is a key to finding chapli and chips among the other halal food trucks lined up along the walkway on Hillside Avenue in northeast Queens, a few blocks west of the Nassau County border, in the same band with the branches Apna Bazaar, Patel Frères, and Jackson Diner. Chapli is cooked in a large cast-iron pan, likely big enough to cook a Thanksgiving turkey in the company logo, which is attached to the side of the car in the form of a frying pan. The car itself, almost certainly the only shop in New York that specializes in chapli skewers, is painted black like a frying pan.
Three types are sold. Beef chapli is the most traditional, although many Pashtun kebabs use lamb. The chicken version is a lot less conventional. Both skewers look like latke that has been left on the stove for about two minutes. The texture, finely ground and smooth and light, pleasantly bun-like, is something like a hamburger, but a hamburger that has a hot dog in its pedigree somewhere.
Without the flour that binds the meatballs and with a little more salt you would have a sausage. But the chapli kebab occupies its territory, complex and elementary at the same time.
The chickpea dumpling is even less orthodox. A vegan chapli kebab would make Kandahar turn his nose. In New York, it is simply a sign of a new grocery store with the hope of success.
Pan-cooked, chickpea skewers are lighter, shorter, and more even in shape than the other two. You feel like you remember what it is reminding you of when you realize you need another bite.
Once the main ingredient is selected, the remaining choice is simple: sandwich or plate. It’s no insult to very good sandwiches to say the platter clears up the details that would set Chapli and Chip apart from other halal cars although they sold gyros instead of chapli. Your kebab is cut into pieces and rolled into exceptionally long, lump-free strands of cinnamon-flavored Pakistani saddle rice. The chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and red cabbage are seasoned with a pinch of fresh lemon at the last minute. It will be surrounded by exceptionally thin and tender strips of bread, a tortilla that is prepared on rolls.
Bread is great for holding sauces, there are about a dozen of them, all but one or two are whipped by the owner and chef at Chapli and Chips, Karim Khan White sauce and hot sauce. Two stand out, but the hot sauce is a strong, smoky, reddish surprise. To reduce the heat a bit, a third cool, refreshing sauce is usually served along with the other two near the tangy coriander sauce. Mr. Khan will tell you that his chapli kebabs mix the flavors on both sides of the Khyber Pass. His family is originally from Kandahar, but his parents fled to Pakistan when the Soviets invaded in 1979, two years before he was born. . The family moved to Queens when he was 8 and became involved in the restoration shortly afterward when he started selling it.
After deciding that a public food truck might become available in New York, she started with her mother’s recipe, an Afghan version, and then changed it up with the guidance of a friend, a Pakistani American chef. Formula before he finally secures his cart spot on Hillside Avenue, across from a brick building with a dome and a Palladian portico borrowed from Monticello.
Even so, at Chapli and Chips, Mr. Khan does things that only a child raised in the United States would think of. There’s this burrito that sandwiches roll on. One of the sauces kept in squeeze bottles is ketchup and another is kayo, a mix of pink ketchup mayo. I think you could put it in a chapli kebab, but its best saved for fries.
These fries may vary, they can get browned and hard one day, pale and slightly mushy the next, but they are hands down the only fries in town that are cut to order by running a reddish potato through a manual press Wall-mounted chapli kebab cart.
Many New Yorkers are getting over this Chapli & Chips, not only because it’s the yumilicious taste came far from the country but it’s actually very tasty and tempting to eat. If you live in New York City, I am telling you not to miss this place. You won’t regret even traveling from another city just for this place.