A day with the Mumbai Frankie

If you were to ask me what food I miss the most in the US, I could think of several, but topping the list is undoubtedly the Mumbai Frankie! The main reason being, of course, that nothing comparable is available anywhere in the US, no restaurant make it (although a few in New Jersey do their best) and try as I may; I am unable to copy the closely guarded Tibbs recipe that made the Frankie so popular in Mumbai.
To share a little history about the Frankie - In 1967, a man called Amarjit Tibb was returning to India from a trip to England when he stopped en route in Beirut. During his brief stop there he stumbled upon the Lebanese pita bread wrap, with a variety of fascinating stuffings. He was inspired enough to take the pita wrap recipe, and remake it to suit the Indian palate. A year of research later, he hit upon the perfect ingredients. This ‘Indianized’ wrap tested brilliantly and started selling like in Mumbai like wildfire. Today, the Tibbs Frankie is a staple fast food in Mumbai, and is slowly hitting the rest of the country.

The Frankie is an Indian version of a wrap or Burrito. It is an Indian roti dredged in beaten egg, and griddled, then piled with variety of filling options – Veggies, Chicken, Beef, egg, Lamb, even shrimp and Indian Paneer (a kind of cottage cheese) have been used. I can't even begin to describe how delicious this wrap tastes; and after many a trial and error this is my best clone - and the recipe rocks - even though I do say so myself :).... mmm... simply scrumptious!!
For the wrap:
4 chapattis or rotis made from all-purpose flour – (In a pinch, whole wheat tortillas can be substituted.)
1 egg-beaten or 1/4 cup eggbeaters
1-2 tablespoons oil and/or cooking spray.

For the filling:
3-4 tbsp oil (vegetable or canola)
1 onion, finely diced
2-3 small Thai or cayenne green chilies, finely chopped, or to taste
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1” piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced
½ tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp red chili powder, or to taste
1 tsp chaat masala powder (easily available at any Indian grocery store)
2 tsp vinegar
1/2 of a lime (juice)
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
salt & pepper, to taste
2-3 tbsp of freshly chopped cilantro leaves (optional)

Variety of fillings:
a) For a veggie frankie: you can use an assortment of your favorite vegetables – try mashed up potato, grilled bell pepper strips, carrot strips, shredded or cubed zucchini, snow peas, broccoli florets, sauteed mushrooms, grilled green beans, sweet corn, peas, etc…

b) For a paneer and veggie frankie: 2-3 cups paneer, diced into small cubes with your favorite veggies – broccoli, bell pepper, mushrooms etc…

c) For a chicken frankie: 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1" cubes.

d) For a shrimp frankie: 1 lb of cocktail (or any small variety) shrimp - peeled, de-veined and tail removed

Method :
a)Veggie frankie:
Wash and cut the veggies into strips or small cubes. To a frying pan add 2 tbsp oil, and on high heat, add the onion and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add ginger, garlic and green chillies. Add cumin and coriander powders, turmeric powder, chaat-masala powder, red chili powder,salt and pepper). Add vegetables in batches, using the vegetables that take the longest to cook first. Stir-fry all the vegetables till cooked but still crispy. Add the Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, lime juice and a the chopped cilantro leaves. Mix well and keep aside.

b)Paneer and veggie frankie:
To a pan or wok, add 2 tbsp oil and turn heat on high. When the oil is hot, add the onion and stir fry for 1 min. Add the ginger, garlic and green chillies. Now, add the cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, chaat masala powder, salt and pepper.(If adding veggies, do so now and stir fry till crip) Add the paneer cubes and mix well. and stir-fry for a few minutes. Add vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice and freshly chopped cilantro leaves. Mix well and keep aside.

c)Chicken/Beef/Lamb/Goat frankie:
In a large wok on high heat, add 2 tbsp oil. When hot, add the onion and stir fry for 1 min. Then add the ginger, garlic and green chillies. Next, add cumin and coriander powders,turmeric powder, chaat masala powder, red chilli powder, salt and pepper. Add the chicken and mix. Stir-fry for a few more minutes on medium until the chicken is fully cooked through. (If you wish, add your veggies and stir-fry for a few minutes). Add vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice and freshly chopped cilantro leaves. Mix well and keep aside.

d)Shrimp or prawn frankie:
In a large wok on high heat, add 2 tbsp oil. When hot, add the onion and stir-fry for 1 min. Add the ginger,garlic and green chilies. Next add turmeric,coriander powder, cumin powder, red chili powder, chaat masala, salt and pepper. Add the shrimp and toss. Stir-fry for a few more minutes until the shrimp is just barely cooked, taking care not to overcook the shrimp (If you like you can add your favorite veggies and stir-fry for a few minutes). Add vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice and freshly chopped cilantro leaves. Mix well and set aside until needed.

How to make the wrap:
Spray a large griddle or frying pan with a few drops of cooking oil or cooking spray, and on medium heat, and place chapatti (or tortilla) on the griddle. Liberally brush the egg wash all over the chapatti and flip. Let cook for a few minutes and brush the egg wash on the other side, flip again and cook for 1-2 minutes. Now, Place the chapatti on a clean surface. Add a few tablespoons of the filling (make sure the filling is hot before serving) and wrap into a burrito shape. wrap with foil or a napkin to serve. Repeat this procedure for the rest of the chapattis.
Authors Notes:
These wraps are delicious served as snacks and lunch or a light supper. They can be served with hot sauce or cilantro chutney (Recipe follows soon); Or they can be eaten on their own. You will find that they are far less 'bready' than pita - and less chewy in texture than the tortilla.
The chopped green chillies can be left out for a less spicy version, or try using jalapeno peppers instead.
Ready-made fresh or frozen chapattis (or rotis) and paneer are always available at Indian stores across the country. I will be posting the recipe for chapattis soon. All the spices that are needed are also available at Indian stores.


  1. Great site. Love everything about it. Very informative, great appetizing pictures and charming too!

  2. This is the first vegetarian recipe my husbandhas ever asked me to make, and now I'm making it for him at least once a month :)

  3. I remember way back in 67 or 68 when we had gone to a fair at Hindu Gymkhana at Marine drive , where I believe Frankie was first introduced. What I do remember was that owner was a Sikh gentleman and the Frankie was .... What can I say .. I never had scrumptious goat meat Frankie again. Tried it again a Churchgate station but it was a pale imitation. I shall be trying this weekend this weekend. Thank you for bringing out fond memories.



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