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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Plain Paratha

Paratha (Hindi: पराठा) is an Indian flat-bread that originated in the Indian subcontinent, specifically in the Punjab. Paratha is an amalgamation of the words parat (Hindi: परत) and atta (Hindi: आटा) which literally means layers of cooked flour. In Burma, it is known as palata, while it is known as farata in the Maldives.
In Burma, paratha is commonly eaten as a dessert, sprinkled with sugar.

It is one of the most popular unleavened flat-breads in Indian cuisine, Pakistani cuisine and Bengali cuisine and is made by pan frying whole-wheat flour on a tava.
The paratha dough usually contains ghee or cooking oil which is also layered on the freshly prepared paratha. Paratha can be plain or stuffed with vegetables.

The paratha can be round, heptagonal, square or triangular. In the former, the stuffing is mixed with the kneaded flour and the paratha is prepared as roti is, but in the latter two, the peda (ball of kneaded flour) is flattened into a circle, the stuffing is kept in the middle and the flatbread is closed around the stuffing like an envelope. The latter two also vary from the first in that, while the former is like a thick (in terms of width) version of the roti with filling inside, the latter two have discernible soft layers if one "opens" the crispier shell layers.

This recipe makes 12 Parathas. Every Indian family has its own recipe of making Paratha. Here is how my mom taught me.


• 3 Cups Whole-grain Wheat flour

• 1 and 1/2 tsp Salt

• 2 tbsp vegetable oil

• 1 and 3/4 cup Water to knead the dough (my mom uses plain yogurt instead of water to make the dough)

• ~ 2 cups of Wheat flour + rice flour + AP flour mixed together for dusting and to roll out dough

• 1/2 cup vegetable shortening or Ghee for brushing, and frying


Making the Dough:

• Mix flour, oil and salt well unit it resembles like crumbs.

• Add water little bit at a time and knead to make dough.

• Knead the dough for about 5 min with hands.

• Brush some oil on the ball of dough and let it sit for 30 min at room temp, you may cover it with damp cloth or saran wrap to avoid drying.

• Divide dough into 12 parts (about a golf size ball)

• Roll each part into a a round ball.

Rolling the Paratha:

• Roll out dough ball into a 6" round disc.

• Spread ~1/2 teaspoon of ghee or vegetable shortening on the disc and fold the circle four times making a triangle.

• Seal the edges of the triangle, so the ghee or vegetable shortening does not escape.

• Roll the triangle in the flour and roll with rolling pin in to thin triangle shape. (You can roll it in a round shape if you prefer)

Cooking the Parathas on Griddle

• Heat the griddle (Tawa) on medium heat.

• When the griddle is hot, place the rolled out Paratha on it.

• Cook the Paratha on the griddle for about 30-40 seconds on medium low heat, when you see the top surface bubbling, flip it over.

• The flipped up side should have a few brown spots.

• Brush the cooked surface with 1 teaspoon of vegetable shortening or ghee.

• Turn it over; cook it another 45 seconds until light brown.

• Spread 1 teaspoon of Ghee or vegetable shortening on other side.

• Turn it over; cook the other side for another 30-40 seconds.

• Press the spatula on Paratha while cooking it, the Paratha should blow up, if you see the air escaping press spatula to trap the air for Paratha to blow up.

• When both sides are cooked to desired crispiness, place and stack the Parathas in insulated container to keep warm and layered with paper towels.

• Serve hot with desired vegetable side dish, Raita, Chutney and or Pickle.

Description of Paratha Source:

Recipe by Surekha's dearest mom Mrs. Kasturben.
Photographs by Surekha

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