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Aloo Paratha (Potato-stuffed Indian bread)

October 27, 2009

A Paratha is a type of Indian bread, that literally means Рlayers of cooked flour.  It has a thick, chewy, crunchy texture and is usually eaten with pickle, yogurt, or a lightly spiced vegetable and sometimes with Chhole (Chickpea in spiced gravy). Other types of Indian breads include the Roti also known as Chappati Рwhich is a thin, roasted, circular bread made of wheat flour, and the Poori Рthin, refined flour (Maida) dough, which is then deep fried.

Paratha’s are usually stuffed with vegetables and sometimes even mince meat. Aloo Paratha’s (Potato stuffed Paratha’s) are my personal favorite because it reminds me of home. My mother served it for breakfast at times and when I was a child, I often woke up to the fresh fragrance of roasting dough, and the sound of sizzling ghee (clarified butter) in my summer holidays.

In this recipe, I take you through the process of making a Paratha, step by step, from scratch. While it does look complicated, I have tried to explain how to roll the dough (atta) in the best and easiest way possible, followed by the next step, which is stuffing the paratha. It takes some practice to get this right, but it’s worth the effort. I hope you enjoy the experience!

The following recipe makes about 4 paratha’s and feeds 2 people.

Method:

Step I – Making the dough – You will need:

Wheat Flour

Wheat Flour

* 2 cups wheat flour

* 1 cup warm water

* 3-4 tablespoons full-cream milk

*1/2 teaspoon salt

* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

- Take a large, deep bowl and put all the flour, oil, milk & salt in it. Mix coarsely with your fingers.

Mix the flour, oil, mil and salt mixture coarsely with fingers

Mix the flour, oil, milk and salt mixture coarsely with fingers

- Now slowly add the water, 4-5 tablespoons at a time, while mixing well with your fingers. Keep adding water till the flour and water have mixed to form a soft, but firm mass. In case you add too much water by mistake (It happens!), add flour to the bowl, little by little, continuously mixing the dough, till it reaches a soft consistency.

- Now pummel the dough with your fist into the bowl for about 2-3 minutes.

Pummell the dough

Pummell the dough

- Once done, keep the dough aside for about 1/2 hour before making the paratha’s.

Step II – For the potato stuffing:

* 3 medium sized potatoes washed, boiled and peeled

* 4-5 tablespoons chopped onion

* a handful of chopped coriander

* 6-7 leaves of mint, finely chopped

* 1 teaspoon salt

* 1 teaspoon chili powder

* 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

* 1 teaspoon Dhania – Jeera powder (available ready in Indian stores)

* 1 teaspoon Chaat masala (available in Indian stores)

* Juice of 1/2 lemon

- Mash the potatoes well, in a large bowl. Add Onion, chopped Coriander & Mint and all the dry spices along with the lemon juice. Mix everything well together.

Assembling the Paratha: You will need -

* A rolling pin and a rolling stone – if you don’t have a rolling stone, roll out the paratha on your clean kitchen counter

* Some dry flour in a flat, large bowl or box

Method:

- Take a small quantity of dough (about double the size of a golf ball) and knead it into a ball with both your palms.

- On a rolling stone, flatten the ball of dough with your fingers. Cover it with some dry flour, on both sides

- Start rolling the pin across the ball of dough, with some pressure, so that it the dough now looks like a flat oval

- Turn the oval around, so that it is now horizontally lying in front of you on the rolling stone, and roll the pin from top to bottom, toward you, to flatten out the dough in the other direction, to make a circle

Flattening out the dough

Flattening out the dough

- Once you have a roughly circular, fairly thick piece of dough, you can begin the stuffing.

- Hold the rolled out dough in the palm of your left hand, and take a spoonful of the potato mixture. Place it between the circular piece of flattened dough

Place the potato mixture in the middle of the dough

Place the potato mixture in the middle of the dough

- Now, carefully, close the dough around the potato mixture, and seal the stuffed ball of dough.

Seal the ball of stuffed dough

Seal the ball of stuffed dough

- Put 1/2 a tsp of ghee / Oil to heat on a non-stick pan on medium high, at this point

- Put the stuffed dough back on the rolling stone and gently roll out the dough in a circle, flattening it out, in one direction at a time

Roll out the stuffed dough

Roll out the stuffed dough

- Continue to gently roll out the dough till you can see a very thin layer of dough covering the potato stuffing inside.

The rolled out stuffed paratha

The rolled out stuffed paratha

- Check if the pan is hot enough, and place the paratha to cook. Allow to cook on medium heat, for at least 2 mins on each side, or till the dough is cooked golden-brown.

Cook the paratha till it is golden-brown on each side

Cook the paratha till it is golden-brown on each side

- Enjoy the paratha fresh off the pan, with some spiced yogurt, or Mango pickle.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. November 6, 2009 2:47 pm

    Oh man. I love Indian food, and used to make it all the time, but I could never make this. The rolling part would be a disaster. I’m so impressed! Excited to follow your blog :)

    • November 6, 2009 7:15 pm

      Thanks for visiting Rebecca! Yup I know…the rolling bit does take time getting used to. But the effort is really worth it. Thanks for following! :-) And I’d love to hear from you if you try any of these recipes!

  2. notsoliteral permalink
    November 8, 2009 10:06 pm

    This looks so fricken good! I’ve never given bread a shot. Seems like something that would be really good for company. Can you prepare these in advance?

    thanks for the awesome recipe!

    • November 9, 2009 2:16 pm

      It definitely will be great for company James. Don’t forget your condiments! (spiced yogurt, a coriander chutney, or a mango / lime pickle)

      And yes you can make it beforehand. Prepare the paratha’s about 10-12 hrs before you plan to cook them. Cover with a damp cloth and keep in the fridge till you’re ready to cook it. (lightly flour each paratha from both sides when storing, to prevent one from sticking to the other). You can store uncooked parathas for abt 2 days this way. Try and remove them from the fridge and allow the paratha’s to get at room temp before roasting (otherwise, there’s a chance the dough will get cooked, but the potato stuffing remains cold).

  3. December 1, 2009 7:52 am

    YUM! This is one of my most favorite things to eat and you make it look AMAZING!!!

  4. January 21, 2011 12:03 pm

    loved ur step by step recipe :) also your blog name ‘one life to eat’ , is that name inspired by the day time drama on tv ‘one life to live’ ? ;-)

    • January 21, 2011 4:15 pm

      LOL! No the soap’s name didn’t inspire OneLifeToEat but I did realize the similarity once the blog was set up :) Thanks so much for stopping by Roopa, and I must say your blog is quite lovely!

  5. vayu permalink
    January 25, 2012 4:32 pm

    hi. i love indian food! ive just learned to make chapati. & i never realized how easy it is! now im ready to take it to the next level. i’m gonna try this one ; ) i have a couple of questions, can u do without any ghee & just roast it like the regular chapati? & i don’t have the indian spices. what can i substitute it with?

    • January 28, 2012 3:08 pm

      Hi Vayu – Thank you for trying my recipe! Some amount of ghee / oil is needed to roast the paratha as unlike a chappati, it tends to stick to the pan. You can use very small amounts as the paratha roasts, just so it doesn’t stick to the pan, and for an even healthier version, you can use olive oil. If you want to use minimal oil / ghee, put a small teaspoonfull on the pan before placing the aloo paratha. Once it’s heated and it coats the pan well, place the paratha. Cook on medium – low heat and add small amounts of oil/ghee on the sides as it cooks, to make it crispy, plus prevent sticking.

      Regarding spices, I suggest you purchase small amounts of Indian spices – at least the 3 basic ones – turmeric, chili powder and coriander-cumin powder. You will not achieve the Indian flavors without Indian spices! Good luck!

      • vayu permalink
        January 28, 2012 5:35 pm

        hey Sabera, thanks. i have d turmeric, chili powder & cumin. no coriander though. but i can get get fresh curry leaves.

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