|1.: Common Paratha Take a tomato sized ball of whole wheat flour dough ( see sidebar). Roll into a large circle, Brush surface with oil or ghee. Fold in half so that you have a semi circle. Brush surface with oil / ghee and fold in half to get a rough triangle. Roll gently to into a thick triangle. Cook both sides on a hot skillet ( tava) till brown spots appear all over. || |
Theme : Any edible dough can be layered or stuffed, rolled into a thick sheet and cooked into a Paratha.
Variations: Infinite combinations exist using a variety of stuffing, flavouring, flours and cooking techniques.
This cookbook lists major families most parathas belong to. The next few pages explore different stuffings, flours and flavouring
Parathas are layered, unleavened flatbreads. They are usually accompanied by butter, yogurt, raitas, pickles, curries or just tea. Originating from Punjab, parathas travelled with Indian traders and workers across the world, becoming Roti prata in Singapore, Roti canai in Malaysia, Farata in Mauritius, Palata in Burma and Bussup shut ( Bust up shirt - what a flaky, crumbly paratha resembles) in Trinidad.
Western cuisines use leavening to make thick breads. Indian cuisine evolved the unique technique of making thick unleavened breads edible by stuffing or layering them. This key breakthrough led to creation of a delicious range of parathas. Parathas can be thick or thin, small or large, round, square or triangular, stuffed or plain. They are normally cooked on a skillet (tava), but can also be baked in a tandoor. Some can even be deep fried. Most north Indian parathas are made from whole wheat flour (atta). The south Indian version, called parota is made from maida (refined wheat flour).
Essential skills :
Kneading: Take a cup of flour, four pinches of salt and half a cup of water. Mix in water very gradually with the flour using your fingertips. Once the flour starts holding together, start kneading and knead well till you get a non-sticky dough. Adjust the amount of flour / water as needed.
Stuffing: Pinch off a tomato sized ball of dough and roll out into a disc. Place a lemon sized ball of stuffing in the center. Gather the edges of the dough together, enclosing the stuffing. Flatten with palm and roll gently into a thick disc.
Rolling out: Flatten the ball of stuffed dough by hand. Roll gently into a disc, dusting with flour if it is sticky. Do not worry about the shape as long you get a sheet of uniform thickness.
Cooking: Heat a skillet over medium flame. Add half a spoon of ghee. Place the rolled dough sheet on the skillet and cook both sides till brown spots appear all over.
Shopping List: Atta, Maida - 1 kg
Oil/ Ghee - 500 ml, Egg - 4 nos
Salt/ pepper / garam masala/ chili flakes /chili powder/ cumin, Onion, tomato, ginger garlic paste, green chilies - 100 gms
Paneer / potatoes - 250 gms