I remember the first time I made parathas. It was a few years ago when I was starting to become interested in cooking. An indian friend heard about this, and suggested I make aloo parathas.
"They're so easy, just make a simple dough from flour and water, wrap it around some spiced mashed potato, roll it flat with a rolling pin, and cook it on both sides like a pancake."
In her defense, that is pretty much what you do. Although her instructions assumed a fair degree of prior cooking knowledge, she was so confident that I couldn't let her down by admitting confusion. The resulting parathas were a spectacular failure, suitable for little other than homemade grout in DIY bathroom renovations.
Fast-forward four years. I can now successfully boil water, toast bread, microwave beans, and if I may say so myself, cook a pretty decent paratha. This recipe would be nothing without Manjula of Manjula's Kitchen. While my paratha dough recipe is slightly different, I learnt the technique from her videos and my parathas feature Manjula's (extremely easy) paneer as a starring ingredient. I've used paneer (an indian cheese) here, but you can fill parathas with anything including potato, spinach, lentils, or minced meat.
Ingredients (makes 4 parathas):
- 70 g (1/2 cup) wholemeal flour
- 70 g (1/2 cup) plain flour + 35 g (1/4 cup) for dusting
- 2 g (1/2 tsp) of salt
- 1/2 cup of water
- 15 g (1 tbsp) of ghee
- 120 g paneer, crumbled
- 1 tsp of grated ginger
- 1/4 tsp of ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp of toasted cumin seeds, ground
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp of natural yoghurt
- 1 handful of coriander (aka cilantro) leaves
- Salt to taste
1. Combine the flours, water, and salt in a bowl. Once mixed, turn out onto a bench dusted with flour and knead for 5-10 minutes. Then, work the ghee into the dough. Set aside and rest for 10 minutes to 1 hour.
2. While the dough is resting, make the filling: mix together the paneer, ginger, turmeric, cumin, yoghurt, coriander, and salt.
3. Divide the rested dough into 4 pieces. Dust your bench with flour, and roll each piece of dough out to a ~10 cm circle. Put 1/4 cup of the paneer mixture in the middle, and bring the edges of the dough up around the filling, like sealing a dumpling. The technique is best illustrated in this video. Rest each dumpling for 10 minutes.
4. Once rested, dust with flour and roll out to ~0.5 cm thickness (again, see the video). In a heavy pan preheated to medium-hot, cook the parathas until browned on both sides (no oil required). Brush with ghee and serve.