I'm excited for this post for a couple of reasons. First, I've wanted to try my hand at making parathas for a long time. I've had the ingredients just waiting for me to venture into this recipe. Next, I've wanted to participate in the Monthly Blog Patrol (MBP) for a long time. I finally get to do both. MBP is a chance for food bloggers to patrol other food blogs and choose someone else's recipe to create. It was started by Coffee at The Spice Cafe. July's MBP is hosted by Nupur at One Hot Stove .
The theme for July's MBP is Less is More. Choose a recipe from another food blogger's site that has five or fewer ingredients. Make the recipe at home and post your results. You do get three ingredients for free: water (stock/broth), salt, fats (oil, butter, cooking spray, etc.). I've chosen Manjula's aloo paratha from Manjula's Kitchen. Manjula has great videos that demonstrate how to cook delicious Indian food.
Aloo parathas are an Indian flatbread stuffed with spiced potatoes. They are made with a whole wheat flour called atta. This isn't the standard whole wheat flour. Atta is finely ground and used for making paratha, chapati, roti, etc. You can find it at Indian groceries. It's lighter in color and milder in taste than standard whole wheat flour and very soft and easy to work with. The parathas came out perfect. Manjula makes it look easy because she's a pro at this. But it was easier than I originally thought. I think I was worried that the dough wouldn't be as agreeable as it looks in Manjula's video. But it is. The process was simple and the results were impressive. Plus, the variations are endless with parathas. I will be making these all the time. In fact, I have made them since and used lots more spices in the potato mix. Next I will be trying spinach parathas.
Here is what you need for 6 parathas.
1.) 1 cup atta (plus more for rolling)
3/4-1 cup water (Use more or less as needed)
Pinch of salt
2.) 2 medium potatoes, boiled and peeled
salt, to taste
3.) 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
4.) 1 teaspoon chopped green chili peppers
5.) 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Oil to cook
Manjula's original recipe included 1/2 teaspoon garam masala and 1/2 teaspoon amchoor powder (dried mango) but both were listed as optional. I opted to omit these and that brought my ingredient list to 5.
To mix the dough, combine the flour, salt and water. Mix well until it forms a soft dough. This happened quickly and easily. I kneaded the dough a couple of minutes right in the bowl after adding a few drops of oil to my hands. The dough should be very smooth and soft. Set the dough aside and cover. Let the dough rest for about 15 minutes before you start rolling the parathas.
For the filling mash the potatoes with the chili peppers, cumin seed, salt and cilantro. At this point you can adjust seasonings. The potato mixture should be about 1 1/2 cups.
Divide the dough and potato mixture into 6 equal parts. The filling balls should be about 1 1/2 times the size of whole-wheat dough balls.I kept a small bowl of extra atta on hand for the rolling. Each dough ball first got a quick atta bath. Then roll out the balls into about 3 inch diameter circles. Put a serving of filling into the center of each circle and bring up the sides of the dough like a dumpling and pinch to seal. Flatten these slightly into a hockey puck shape and let the dough rest again for several minutes before you begin rolling them out.I used a large non-stick skillet to cook my parathas but you can use a flat griddle or a cast iron pan. Heat the pan to medium-high heat before cooking the parathas.
To roll the paratha, take one of the hockey discs and give it a quick dusting of atta. Gently roll out the dough about 6 inches in diameter. Give the paratha a turn or a flip if needed. You can give another light sprinkle with atta too if it sticks.
To cook a paratha, place the paratha right in the middle of the skillet and let it sit until it starts to change color and you will see little puffs forming in various places. Flip the paratha and you should see some golden spots. Sprinkle a tiny amount of oil over the surface and spread with the back of a spoon or the spatula you are using. I used just whatever oil dribbled off a teaspoon when I dipped it into the oil.
Flip the paratha and lightly press the puffed areas with a spatula. You can add another dribble of oil if you like. Flip again and press with the spatula making sure the paratha is golden-brown on both sides. Cool the parathas on a wire rack so they don’t get soggy. Eat right away.