Since we may be relocating soon, mastering a paratha recipe has suddenly become pretty high on my to-do list. In fact, taking careful notes of all the delicious desi dishes that our house helper makes for us suddenly seems like life or death.
I had never heard of paratha (or parantha) until we first visited India. It’s a common Indian street food and a popular breakfast or teatime snack, from what I understand. We occasionally have them for lunch and practically gorge ourselves on them.
For us western minded folks, I think the best description of a paratha is to call it a stuffed tortilla. Do I have your attention now? *salivates*
Disclaimer: the recipes that I share on here are going to be laid back but I will do my best to gauge approximate directions. Our house helper is an excellent cook who works from memory and doesn’t measure. Yeah. So if you’re the kind of person who has to follow a recipe obsessively and exactly, well, I’m really sorry this is about to happen to you.
flour (typically, finely ground whole wheat)
Bear with me.
There are many kinds of fillings to choose from. Potato paratha are quite common. For that you would peal, cook, and mash your potatoes first and set aside to cool. In this particular instruction we’re going to make cauliflower paratha, one of my favorites.
First, grate the raw cauliflower. We had a partial head of cauliflower lying around already.
Cook the grated cauliflower in a bit of oil and salt over medium heat. It really only takes a few minutes to give it a quick cooking. Turn off heat and let cool.
Now we’re going to make our dough. Start with roughly 3 cups of flour and hand mix in small amounts of water until you have a nice wet dough. When it’s sticky but not a complete messy glob that makes you want to kill yourself, give it a good pounding/kneading for a minute or two. Add more flour or water if necessary.
Are you hyperventilating yet? Okay okay, here’s a video.
Tada! Now you have a nice dough ball that’s still slightly sticky to touch. Set aside a bit of extra flour to help with our rolling.
Pinch off a golf ball sized bit of dough. Give it a little balling up in your hands and then roll it out a couple of times until it fits nicely all the way across your hand. Place the rolled out dough in your hand and add a nice handful of filling to the center.
Pinch the sides up to seal.
And then flatten the pinched up side in your palm to help flatten it again. Dip in your loose flour and, working in a circular motion, hand shape it a little to make it a nice round, flattish shape again.
Now dip it in the loose flour again on both sides and roll until it’s maybe 8 inches in diameter. It’s okay if you can see bits of your filling peaking through at thin spots.
Now throw that puppy on your skillet/griddle that’s on medium high heat.
Cook for a couple of minutes on one side. Flip. Butter generously. Cook. Flip. Butter. If you’re a pro like our Ayah, the whole procession develops in a nice orderly rhythm and is over fairly quickly. Good luck with that. :)
And in case all those words up there are useless to you and you’re a visual creature like myself, below is a short video to make all my recipe rhetoric make sense.
On this day we also had some cheese paranthas. Same premise, but stuffed with shredded cheese instead of cauliflower. I think we ended up with about 16 parathas total.
Serve hot with yogurt, pickled mango, chutney, or whatever you please.
It’s really not that complicated, especially if you already know your way around a ball of dough. If you’ve mastered tortillas, parathas should be a cinch.
Have you ever tried parathas before?