I can't seem to make enough flatbreads lately. So easy, so versatile. So delicious. A favorite, of course, is parathas. Once I learned how to make them, I couldn't stop thinking up ways to stuff them. Keema paratha is certainly not my idea, but it's one of my favorite versions of paratha. Keema simply refers to minced meat. In this recipe I've used lamb because we really prefer it to beef. It has so much more flavor and character.
Regarding the many foods of different cultures I make at home, I don't claim to know how to make "traditional" versions. I do, however, read a great deal about food and culture and I love to experiment. I've got thousands of recipes for thousands of foods and I can read them a thousand times. But it still might all come down to what's in the refrigerator, what's in the pantry, and what's in in the taste part of my brain on the day I make the dish.
This version of keema paratha was a huge crowd pleaser, even if the crowd consisted of just me and S. These turned out so good I almost smacked myself. I will be making these again and in a large batch so I can freeze them and enjoy them at a moment's notice. Two of these with a big salad was a great dinner the first night. And they made very tasty lunches for us over the next two days.
These amounts are not exact but pretty close and this recipe made 10 (I think!) parathas (I tend to make them on the small side).
3/4-1 lb. ground lamb
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large onion, diced
1-2 jalapeno peppers, diced very small (seeded for less heat, if desired)
2 tsp. garam masala
2 tbsp ground panch phoron
2 tbsp olive oil
salt, to taste
fresh flat-leaf, Italian parsley, chopped, to taste
In a large skillet, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Add garlic, onions, and jalapenos and cook until the onions are translucent. Add the ground lamb and break it apart until it is well combined with the other ingredients. Add salt and panch phoran. Cook the mixture until the meat has given up its juices and the juices have evaporated. You need the mixture to be dry (and cooled) before making the parathas. Once the meat is cooked enough to taste, add the garam masala and incorporate. This is a good time to taste the mixture in order to re-season, if necessary. Who wants bland parathas?
2 cups atta
1/2-3/4 cup all-purpose, unbleached flour (plus additional for dusting)
1 heaping teaspoon salt
1 tbsp oil (I use olive oil but any oil will do)
warm water - enough to make a smooth dough, moist but not sticky
While the meat is cooling, make your dough. Combine the flours and the salt and stir to distribute everything. Add the oil and incorporate by hand, making sure no lumps remain. Slowly add warm water until all the flour comes together in a cohesive ball that you can manipulate. It's OK if the dough is moist but you don't want it sticky. Form into a smooth ball, lightly drizzle with oil, cover, and let rest for about 15 minutes. 10-12 minutes later pre-heat your skillet on medium-high heat. You don't want to toss the paratha into a cold skillet.
Divide the dough into equal portions and roll each into a ball. Take a ball of dough, dust with all-purpose flour and use a method for round parathas or b method for oval ones. I like a variety in shape plus the oval ones allowed me to fit two at a time in my skillet.
a. Using your hands, gently pat out into a disc about 3 inches across. Give the edges of the disc a bit more pressure so they are thinner than the center. You don't want your edges thick and your center too thin in the final product. You want to make sure there is enough dough to stretch over the stuffing.
b. Using a rolling pin, gently roll out into disc about 3 inches across. Either way, cup the disc in one hand and press about 2-3 teaspoons of filling into the center. Pull up the edges of the dough and pinch closed.
Dust again and place the stuffed dough seam-side down and gently roll out into a disc about 5-6 inches across or into an oval about 5-6 inches long. You can roll them all and have them waiting to cook but set them aside in a single layer on a clean, lightly floured surface. Just dust off the excess flour before cooking. Or you can roll out parathas while some are cooking. Once you have a paratha ready for the skillet, just toss it in. Let it cook until you start to see the edges change shape and color a bit. This doesn't even take a minute. Give it a flip and drizzle with oil. By that I mean a real light drizzle. I keep a tiny bowl of oil near the skillet and I use the back of a silverware teaspoon dipped in oil to spread some on the paratha. Cook again for about 30 second and flip to the first side. You can add oil again or not. You can also add oil or butter or ghee once you take them off the skillet. Once each side has some nice golden brown spots, you're done. Place somewhere clean where they will stay warm, like wrapped in a dish towel. If you want to freeze these, let them cool completely before you wrap and/or bag them. Enjoy!