Aloo Paratha (Potato-stuffed Indian bread)
A Paratha is a type of Indian bread, that literally means – layers 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 – which is a thin, roasted, circular bread made of wheat flour, and the Poori – thin, 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.
* 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.
– 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.
– 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
– 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
– 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
– Now, carefully, close the dough around the potato mixture, and seal the stuffed ball of 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
– Continue to gently roll out the dough till you can see a very thin layer of dough covering the potato stuffing inside.
– 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.
– Enjoy the paratha fresh off the pan, with some spiced yogurt, or Mango pickle.