I’ve always been slightly bitter that I could never appreciate the beauty of a breakfast burrito.
For me, the idea of something so filling, flavoursome and not to mention, gigantic for breakfast makes me weak at the knees.
I’m that person who gives breakfast burrito street stalls serious side eye as I pass by. Jealousy.
All of this was true up until the point of discovering the ‘Rolex’. Nope, we’re not chowing down on eye-wateringly expensive watches for breakfast.
We’re eating spicy omelettes with onions, chillies, shredded cabbage and tomatoes, all wrapped in hot, flaky flatbread.
Found on the bustling, buzzing streets of Kampala, Masaka and dozens more towns and cities in Uganda, Rolex is one of the most delicious and underrated street foods you’ll come across in East Africa.
A beautiful combination of textures and flavours, in a portable roll for eating on the go.
It’s so popular, there’s an entire festival dedicated to it.
Any festival dedicated to something that resembles a burrito is my kind of festival.
One day we’ll all go there and stuff our faces. Deal?
Like many words in the Swahili language, this dish is named after the way it sounds. The term ‘Rolex’ comes from ‘rolled eggs’.
If you say it as quickly as you would eat it, it all makes perfect sense.
This is what I love about listening to people speak in Swahili.
Growing up, much of the Gujarati we spoke at home was influenced by the Swahili language.
It was woven so deep into our vocabulary that if you asked me now what the Gujarati words for everyday things are, I wouldn’t be able to tell you.
That’s because I’ve been replacing them with the Swahili words my whole life.
In our family, we mash up Gujarati and Swahili words left, right and centre, creating a sort of pidgin Gujarati peppered with the Swahili nuances and colloquialisms our parents and grandparents once embraced.
Here are some of my favourite Gujarati-Swahili words that have made it into our everyday conversations:
- Sufariyu (Bowl)
- Fhangusa (To mop the floor)
- Sahani (plate)
- Pasi (Iron)
- Kata (to cut) – we use this to refer to thorns on plants. For example, Bharti ben ne kejje ke laal phool nahi adhe, boh kata che.”
It works the other way, too. Gujarati words have been adopted by the Swahili language.
You’ll notice that a tonne of these hybrid words relate to eating and sleeping; the favourite pastimes of every Gujarati.
Let’s get cracking with the omelettes, shall we? Sorry, but I love a pun.
My omelettes have been veganized using super-healthy tofu, blended up with chickpea flour, spices and then laced with veggies.
The result is soft and light with just the right kind of wobble and texture you’d expect from a traditional omelette.
They also hold their shape like a dream.
Each vegan omelette is then wrapped in a Kenyan-style Chipati (flaky flatbread or paratha) and rolled into a cigar.
You could also use a tortilla wrap or paratha if you like.
I stuffed them with a rainbow of shredded vegetables which isn’t entirely traditional but it’s good for you and tastes divine.
Kenya-style chipati is a version of Indian chapattis. They’re made with plain flour and rolled thinly for a slightly chewier texture in comparison to Indian chappatis.
Make them first and the omelettes second before rolling up the Rolex.
The Kenya-style chipati are delicious with dishes like Sukuma Wiki and are perfect for rolling up with these tofu omelettes inside.
If you’re not up for making your own chipatis, you could also use the frozen chappatis or paratha you get in your local Indian supermarket.
I’ve tried this recipe with this brand before and it works a treat.
And there you have it – a crazy-delicious breakfast or brunch treat to go along with masala chai.
Serve them with chips for a tea-time treat you’ll crave at least once a week.
P.S. Breakfast burritos, I’m over you.
For the vegan omelettes
- 500g medium firm tofu, pressed
- 80g gram flour
- 1 tsp cornflour
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp black salt
- 2 green chillies, chopped finely
- 2 inch ginger, grated
- Pinch of salt
- 100ml aquafaba (water from a can of chickpeas)
- 1/2 red onion, chopped finely
- 1 tomato, chopped finely
- 100g cabbage, chopped finely
To build the rolex
- 6 large chapatis, paratha or wraps
- ½ small red cabbage, shredded
- 200g spinach leaves
- 3 carrots, shredded
- 100g radishes, sliced finely (optional)
- In a blender, blitz the tofu, gram flour, cornflour, turmeric, black salt, green chillies, ginger, salt and aquafaba until smooth. Set aside for 10 minutes.
- Grease a non-stick frying pan with oil and heat the pan over a medium/low flame.
- Place a ladle full of vegan omelette batter in to the pan. Scatter with chopped onion, cabbage and tomatoes. Cook until the top of the vegan omelette sets lightly but still has a little bit of a wobble. The base should be golden.
- Flip and cook the other side for 20-30 seconds.
- Place a chapati directly on top of the cooked vegan omelette while it’s still in the pan. Remove the chapati and omelette stack and place on a board. Fill with shredded red cabbage, spinach, carrots and radishes. Add a dash of chilli sauce if you like.
- Roll tightly and wrap in foil. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving. This ensures the wrap doesn’t fall apart.
- Repeat for the rest of the rolex.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 359Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 402mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 11gSugar: 8gProtein: 19g