When you mention the word ‘rolex’ anywhere in Uganda the last thing that will come to mind will be the Rolex watch. Rolex, in Kampala especially, refers to a chapati that has been rolled with eggs and vegetables inside of it.
While every chapatti seller in Uganda would love to take credit for inventing the Ugandan Rolex, it actually originated in Wandegeya, just below the Makerere University campus. The students wanted a meal that was affordable, yet filling, so chapatti sellers experimented with filling a chapatti with eggs. The name rolex came from ‘rolling’ (pronounced ‘lolling’ by many of the chapatti makers as a result of the heavy Luganda accent). They also pronounce it as ‘lolex’ but everyone understands what you want no matter how you pronounce, ‘rolex’.
A rolex always consists of egg and chapatti as the major ingredients but from there every rolex seller will get as creative as you allow them to be. Some make a plain egg rolex, while others will add onions, tomatoes, sliced cabbage and if you really want a king-size rolex…some pieces of meat before it’s all rolled up. Rolexes aren’t limited to Wandegeya – you can find them pretty much anywhere chapatti is sold at all times of day but especially around meal time hours.
Speaking to Mukasa, a chapatti seller in Namuwongo, he says he uses two packs of baking flour and two trays of eggs daily to satisfy his customers. “If I use one egg in the rolex then it is 1000/= but if I use two, then it becomes 1500/=,” he says. He sells plain chapattis at 300 UGX, so a rolex does increase the price.
How much money does he make from his rolex and chapatti business? “I make up to 15,000/= daily and I have managed to start building a small house at home in my village. Mukasa is married with a small son and he manages to look after his family with his small rolex business. It was not easy for him though when he started, “Getting new customers and a good place to sell is not easy but when then taste my rolex they keep coming back for more.”
Mukasa has built a rapport with his customers so much that they book rolex’s in advance and can even pay later. His best customers are the boda boda men at the stage where he sells his food and school children as they come and go to school. He also sells to house wives and housemaids who stay at home and are not in the mood to cook the lunch hour meal. These he says are the best customers because they buy more than one at a time.
If you are not in the mood to buy a rolex by the road side, you can make one at you own in the comfort of your own home.
Ingredients you would need per rolex;
- 1-2 eggs
- A pinch of salt
- 1 chapati
- small handful shredded cabbage
- 3-4 thin slices of tomato
- cooking oil
You can also add the following depending on your taste buds;
- A slice of cheese
- A few pieces of meat or chicken
- Thinly sliced green pepper
- Add a pinch of black pepper to taste
Directions; Fry the eggs with all the ingredients in a frying pan and place on a pre-cooked chapatti. Then roll and serve hot. Eggs and other ingredients vary depending on how big or small you would like the meal to be. Enjoy!