North Indian cuisine is very well known for its flatbreads. These include the roti/ chappathi, deep fried pooris, , leavened naans and pan fried parathas. These flatbreads were originally brought in to India by traders and invaders from Persia and thereabouts. With time, they have evolved becoming truly Indian in flavour. They can now be found in restaurants and little eateries across the country. Today’s recipe is for Aloo Parathas or Potato Stuffed Flatbreads. This is perhaps the most well known of Indian stuffed flatbreads.
Parathas are made with whole wheat flour, a little salt and mixed into a pliable dough with water. Balls of this dough are rolled out thin and cooked on a griddle with a little oil. Parathas can be made either plain or stuffed with a variety of fillings. The plain parathas are usually layered with fat while folding and rolling them out. This makes them soft and very flaky. Another kind of paratha is where vegetables are grated and mixed directly into the dough with spices and then rolled out and cooked.
Stuffed parathas come in a variety of fillings. Most fillings are spicy and savoury but some are sweet and filled with mawa/ khoya (milk solids) and nut. More popular varieties of stuffed parathas include Gobhi Paratha (cauliflower), Paneer Parathas (soft Indian cheese), Mooli Paratha (Daikon radish), MMethi Paratha (fenugreek greens) and Mixed Vegetable Paratha.
Aloo Parathas or Potato Stuffed Flatbreads are a favourite here and have gone to school in my daughter’s lunchbox a lot. They are reasonably easy to make but the process for making them can be broken into smaller steps if need be. When I make them for my daughter’s lunchbox, I make the potato filling the previous night and refrigerate it. I also knead the dough and refrigerate it to make things easier for myself. Then I just put the filling into the dough next morning, roll them out and cook them.
These Parathas are usually served with plain or seasoned yogurt or Raita, raw onion rings and pickles. Plain parathas are served with these and a curry of some sort. You can refrigerate the leftovers if any, but not for more than a day. They keep longer if you freeze them. To refrigerate parathas, just wrap them well in foil. Reheat them on a griddle with a little oil. Freeze them by stacking them with parchment paper or aluminium foil squares between each, and put them in a Ziploc bag. Pull out as many as you need and re-heat them on a skillet.
This post has been updated with text and images since it was first published in February, 2010.
Aloo Parathas or Potato Stuffed Flatbreads
For the Paratha Dough:
- 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tbsp oil
- to taste salt
- 1 cup water (or a little more if required)
For the Filling:
- 1 big onion finely chopped
- 8 medium sized potatoes (approx. 2 cup mashed )
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1/2 tsp garlic paste
- 4 green chillies (deseeded and finely chopped0
- 1/4 tsp chilli powder (adjust to taste)
- xbc tsp turmeric powder
- 1 1/2 tsps coriander powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- to taste salt
- 1 tbsp oil
- 2 tbsps fresh coriander finely chopped
- oil or ghee 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. Saute everything till the onions soft and translucent. Add the spice powders and saute, 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 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 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 dough on top to close and seal the filling.
- Flatten it slightly, dust lightly with whole wheat flour, and roll out into a 1/4 u201cthick circle. Make sure that the filling doesnu2019t 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 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 one. Repeat with remaining dough balls and potato filling.
- Serve hot with fresh thick plain or seasoned yogurt (home made, if possible), thin slices of raw onion and pickles.