Leftovers for life

Do you ever make a dish specifically to enjoy its leftovers for the next few days? I find myself doing this with roast chicken, which makes a wicked curried chicken salad that is perfect in this summer heat (recipe coming soon!). Curries are also better the longer they sit, allowing the spices and flavors to really seep into the meats and vegetables. But one of my favorite repurposings of leftovers has to be the frankie.
The frankie is my favorite street food from my childhood summers in Bombay. Right next to the McDonald’s down the street from my grandparents’ flat, there was a frankie stand. You would pay a guy a few rupees and he would give you a small coin that signaled either chicken, mutton or veggie to the man you handed it to through a small hole in the wall. A moment later a hand would emerge and give you the most delectable snack– spicy (always mutton for me) filling wrapped up in a tawa-fried, egg-coated roti. My cousins and I would eat them on our walk back home along Linking Road, with juices running down our elbows, and quickly mop our faces before adults could figure out what we’d been up to.
I wasn’t really allowed to have frankies. One, I was of a weak Western constitution, and two, well, did you hear about the hole in the wall? But it didn’t really matter. I ate them so often that I figured after the first dozen or so, I’d beaten the odds.
And now, in adulthood, I make my own frankies whenever I have leftover, spiced meat. My shortcut is that I use store-bought rotis, particularly the Spring Home Roti Paratha that is readily available in many of the large Asian grocers in the DC metro area. This time I had some leftover masala raan, an Indian-spiced leg of lamb that I slow cooked for 8 hours. Given that my shortcut frankie isn’t even brushed with egg (a nice touch, but one I’ve learned to forsake in a household where my mother is deathly allergic to eggs), I’ll give you the recipe for the lamb instead. It’s delicious fresh, of course, but the tender, slow-cooked leftovers pull into wonderful frankies. To assemble the frankie, though, just pan-fry a roti (if you’d like the egg-coating, just brush each side with a beaten egg and flip), fill with meat and veggies of your choice, roll up and enjoy!

Masala Raan

Masala Raan


  • 2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander 
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground fennel
  • 6 green cardamom pods, husks removed and discarded, insides crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4-5 lb leg of lamb, stabbed all over
  • 3-5 red chillies, dried or fresh
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 4 whole cloves of garlic
  • 15 whole cloves
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 1 – 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup water or stock


Combine the first nine ingredients. Add four tablespoons of olive oil and stir to make a paste. Rub the paste all over the leg of lamb. Set aside to marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Allow the lamb to come to room temperature for 1 hour before inserting cloves, rosemary, and red chillies into the meat’s slits. Spread the onions, garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs over the bottom of a slow cooker. Place the lamb on top, sprinkle with salt and douse with the water or stock. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or high for 4-6 hours. Try to baste every hour or so, if you’re not using the slow cooker for convenience in your absence in the first place.**
Speaking of the wonder of leftovers, one of the most inspiring social campaigns I’ve seen recently fights child hunger on the streets of Bombay. Share My Dabba is a fantastic initiative that takes advantage of one of the most efficient food delivery systems in the world. Over 200,000 dabbas (lunches) are delivered to people across the city each day. While this adds up to 120 tons of food each day, more than 16 tons are left uneaten, so SMD started handing out sheets of stickers to see if their patrons would be willing to share their food with the city’s 2 million starving children. A little red circle with the simple word “share” designates the dabbas with remaining food. Once the tins are collected again after lunch, those with the stickers are sorted by volunteers and shared with hungry children.
I used to work at a school that provided a home and education to impoverished children in Bangalore. Mealtimes were my favorite–they were spirited and loud and the kids always used to light up (unless bittergourd was on the menu). This program reminds me of Ananya’s efforts to make sure that children who were hungry were fed, period.  If you’re anything like me, you won’t be able to watch this video without getting teary. And, hopefully, without donating to this wonderful initiative. Please consider it. And please let me know if you do!

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