Sunday, February 14, 2010
Indian cuisine (the north Indian variety) is very well known for its flatbreads like the roti/ chappathi (similar to whole wheat tortillas), pooris (deep-fried flatbreads), naans (leavened flatbreads) and parathas (pan-fried flatbreads).
While these flatbreads are north Indian in origin (brought in to India by traders and invaders from Persia and thereabouts), one can find them served in restaurants, little eateries and many homes all over the country.
Parathas can be plain or stuffed with different kinds of fillings. The plain parathas are invariably layered with ghee, while folding and rolling them out and this makes them very flaky when cooked.
The stuffed variety of parathas contains all sorts of different fillings of which the spiced and mashed potatoes (aloo) kind is perhaps the most popular. Here again, as is the case with many different types of food, there are probably as many recipes for the filling as there are cooks who make these parathas!
These potato filled parathas are one of our favourites and fills my duaghter’s school lunchbox many a time. The nice part is that one can make these parathas a little ahead of time. I do this a lot as it means I don’t have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen at one go.
If I have to send them in my daughter’s lunch box to school early in the morning, I make the potato filling the previous night and refrigerate it. Sometimes I make the dough as well and fill the dough balls with the potato filling. I then dust them lightly with whole wheat flour and refrigerate these in an airtight container, to make them the next morning.
Occasionally, I make the parathas and then cool them completely. Then I stack them parchment paper or aluminium foil squares in between them, put them in a Ziploc bag and freeze them.
Then all I do is pull out as many as I need and re-heat them on a tawa/ skillet.
This is my recipe for aloo parathas. This video uses a slightly different recipe but gives a good demonstartion on how to make aloo parathas.
For the paratha dough:
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp oil
salt to taste
about 1 cup water (or a little more if required)
For the filling:
1 big onion, finely chopped
about 8 small to medium potatoes (approx. 2 cup mashed potatoes)
1 tsp ginger paste
1/2 tsp garlic paste
4 green chillies (deseeded and finely chopped0
1/4 tsp chilli powder (adjust to taste)
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
salt to taste
1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
Oil/ ghee (clarified butter) to cook the parathas
First prepare the filling.
Peel and cook the potatoes till they’re very soft. Mash them very well so there are no lumps left and it is smooth.
Heat the oil in a pan and add the ginger, garlic pastes and chopped onion. Sauté everything till the onions soft and translucent. Add the spice powders and sauté, over medium heat, for a minute. Then add the green chillies, potatoes, salt and chopped coriander.
Mix everything well and then take off the heat. Allow to cool and divide the mixture into 12 equal portions. Roll the portions into balls.
Then make the dough.
Put the whole wheat flour, salt and oil in a deep bowl and whisk together. Add the water about a 1/4 cup at a time and knead until your dough is soft (but not sticky) and elastic. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and roll each into a ball.
Now make the parathas.
Take one ball of dough and roll it out into a 3” circle lightly dusting with whole wheat flour if necessary.
Place a ball of mashed potato in the centre of the dough circle. Bring up the sides of the dough circle around the potato ball and enclose it completely, pinching the dough on top.
Flatten it slightly, dust lightly with whole wheat flour, and roll out into a 1/4 “thick circle. Make sure that the filling doesn’t come out while rolling. Use the rolling pin lightly when rolling the paratha out.
Cook the paratha on a hot tawa/ skillet over medium heat till light brown spots appear on one side. Cook similarly on the other side. Brush lightly with oil and again cook the paratha on both sides till the brown spots deepen a bit.
Repeat with remaining dough and potato filling balls.
Serve hot with fresh thick yogurt (home-made, if possible), thin slices of raw onion and pickles.
This recipe makes 12 parathas.