parathas are an indian flat bread. the dough is a basic 2:1 ratio, meaning 2 parts flour to 1 part water. there is also a little oil and salt thrown in for good measure. the traditional preparation is called aloo parathas, in which the flatbread is rolled out and stuffed with a spiced potato mixture. they are quite delicious this way, but are also yummy stuffed with any number of things. tonight i used an herbed goat cheese mixture (goat cheese, olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried herbs). the traditional flour to use is duram atta or golden temple flour. i usually use whole what flour because it is easier to find and i often have it on hand. i have made parathas a few times. they are an easy addition to any meal, take little time to prepare, and use very few ingredients.
BASIC PARATHA (makes 8)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
a hefty pinch of salt
enough cool water to form the dough into an elastic ball (usually about 1 cup)
1. add the flour, oil, and salt to a large bowl and mix thoroughly with your hands. make a well in the center of the dough, and add the water little by little while stirring together with your hand. keep at it until the dough comes together into a slightly sticky ball. knead the dough until it becomes rather elastic and a bit shiny, about 1-2 minutes. shape into a ball and let rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. closer to an hour is preferable.
2. cut the ball into 8 equal parts. i find it easiest to do this by cutting it into wedges, almost like you would cut a pizza. form each section into a small ball and coat with a very light dusting of flour.
3. flour your work surface and rolling pin. flatten each ball slightly and roll out into a circle. you'll want to keep them quite thin. each circle should be approximately 5-6 in diameter. now is the time when you'll stuff them if you like. they are also very good without any sort of filling.
4. roll your filling into a ball a little over an inch in diameter. place the ball in the middle of your dough circle and flatten it slightly. the process of folding and pinching the dough over the filling is a little tricky to explain. this site has a good step by step tutorial. flip the filled dough over so the pleats are on the bottom and gently roll it back out. take care not to press to hard or the stuffing with break through the dough. you'll want these to be close to the original diameter of 5-6 inches. you should be able to see any flecks in the filling through the dough.
5. meanwhile, heat up a cast iron skillet or electric griddle (what i use) over medium high heat (about 400 degrees) and grease with a little oil. once the oil is hot, place a circle on the pan/griddle, pleat-side down, and heat until the first side starts to brown. flip and heat until the second side browns. if you've made the parathas correctly, they will start to puff up after flipped. here is a video i took while mine cooked tonight:
if they don't puff, don't sweat it! mine didn't the first couple of times i made these and they were still delicious!
6. remove from the heat and serve immediately. note: they will deflate when removed from the heat. the aloo version is nice with grilled chicken marinated in yogurt and curry. i'm sure it would be fabulous with some sag paneer as well. we served the goat cheese version with a simple side of marinara sauce for dipping. it was a sort of inside-out, deconstructed pizza.
enjoy! if you make these or have any questions, please let me know!