A student at a Ugandan university was feeling kinda sick. He went to see a doctor who looked at him and asked: “How many rolexes per day”?
“For breakfast, lunch and dinner,” said the student and the doctor had his diagnosis ready.
Rolex derives its name from “rolled eggs”. Endemic to Uganda, it is a snack influenced by the Asian community who came to East Africa in the late 19th century to build the railway, and stayed. One of the few culinary skills locals picked from them is the chapati, a simple pancake made of flour but no egg.
Ugandans seem to have missed that, so the rolex was born: a combination of a chapati, vegetables and eggs. The latter ingredient depends on the money in your pocket; you can order a rolex with even 5 eggs if you wish.
Our student was, according to the doctor, over-consuming eggs and getting too much cholesterol into his system. The common guideline is no more than 3 eggs per day, however, science is not conclusive. If there is ever a global study about it, Uganda will be an amazing location: rolex is The Snack for all classes but especially for those who are looking for something affordable (starts at USh 1,000 which is less than 30 US cents).
It is street food, therefore you will easily find it on the Ugandan side of the Gorilla Highlands region but not in Rwanda. The Rwandan laws/regulations do not favour food’s availability anywhere on the roadside — still, if you come to our Musanze office [Google Maps link] you will not be disappointed!
Ugandan Rolex Recipe
Chapati (can be substituted with a flour tortilla if you don’t want to start from scratch):
Ingredients and tools:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
water (any temperature)
pinch of salt
rolling board and stick
1. Put the flour into a pot/pan, add a pinch of salt to the mixture.
2. Slowly add water as you knead until the dough doesn’t stick onto your fingers no more.
3. Portion small balls of dough.
4. Using a rolling stick, roll out the balls into a circular piece (large and thinly-rolled) of dough and roast it from both sides to your satisfaction.
1-5 eggs (depending on your preference and love for cholesterol)
pinch of salt
small handful shredded cabbage
3-4 thin slices of tomato
3-5 thin rings of onion
avocado (as a bonus item)
1. Break egg(s) into a shallow cup, add pinch of salt and beat with a fork.
2. Start adding oil in intervals as you fry on the pan.
3. Pour the eggs onto a large (preferably iron) saucepan into a thin circle.
4. Use a large spoon to rotate the eggs for even cooking. Flip once. Cook until the eggs are cooked through.
5. Place the chapati on top and flip it all.
6. With the chapati underneath the eggs warm together for 10-20 seconds.
7. Remove egg-covered chapati from heat.
8. Along the centre of the chapati (but to the right side) sprinkle a stripe of cabbage and slightly overlapped tomatoes and onion rings.
9. Add sliced avocado for extra flavour.
10. Sprinkle another pinch of salt over toppings.
11. Fold the right side not covered in toppings to the other side along centre axis
photo by Rachel Preet