For the last post of my Indian-Breads Fest, following India’s household bread Chapati-Roti, a homemade version of the popular Naan, and versatile fermented Dosa crepes, is north India’s creation which has become a pan-India staple, stuffed Paratha.
Many Indian food fans believe that Indian bread is best consumed in restaurants or as packaged food.
With my Indian-Breads Fest, I hope to have changed this notion, by giving pictorials and step-by-step guides to homemade versions of versatile, at times healthful, and always delicious breads from different parts of India.
These dough and batters are very much doable in your home kitchen with common ingredients, and just a little imagination to get to your favorite topping or stuffing.
Now let’s talk Paratha…
Difference between Paratha and Chapati
Techniques for making Paratha and Chapati differ, but the dough for both flat-breads is similar and generally made using whole wheat flour ‘Atta‘; although at times, other flour varieties can be mixed in.
A Paratha is cooked in oil or clarified butter Ghee, and the dough is sometimes flavored with whole spices like cumin seeds.
How to Make a Paratha
An Indian Paratha can be made plain or as a stuffed paratha.
Plain paratha is generally layered in a multitude of ways using fat/oil. Common layering techniques give rise to the triangular paratha, and the much-loved and rather rich Laccha Paratha, in which coils of dough are rolled into a circle.
The well known stuffed Parathas of north India use a simple technique of adding a stuffing mix of spiced vegetables to the dough, which is then rolled out into a flatbread, like the one in this recipe.
At times, ingredients for the stuffing are kneaded directly into the dough, a method most often seen in western India, and one of my favorites, as found in the spinach and mint paratha, as well as my potato and parsley paratha recipes.
While taking you through the basic technique of making a stuffed Paratha; for today’s recipe I’ve created a delightful and minimally spiced stuffing mix of kale (easily replaced with spinach), cauliflower and aromatic roasted crushed fennel seeds.
Peak at the end of this recipe for 5 amazing stuffing ideas for Paratha.
- 2 cups Indian Atta or whole wheat flour (an equal mix of regular whole wheat flour & whole wheat pastry flour works well)
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup water, plus up to 2 tablespoon more as required
- ¼ cup kale leaves (or spinach, if preferred)
- ¼ cup cauliflower florets, chopped in pieces
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds or Saunf, dry-roasted and finely crushed (See note)
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon dry mango powder or Amchur (optional, if on hand)
- Oil or clarified butter/Ghee for cooking the Paratha
- (Check out my Chapati recipe for a detailed step-by-step pictorial on making this dough)
- In a large bowl or in a food processor bowl, bring together whole wheat flour, oil and salt. Add water to the dough slowly and knead well for about 5-7 minutes till a soft pliable dough is formed. Food processors help shorten kneading times.
- Tip: If you’ve added too much water in error, sprinkle more flour and knead it into the dough. Unlike many baked flour-based recipes, this dough is not an exact science.
- Put the soft dough back in the bowl and cover with a damp kitchen towel for the dough to rest (dough will not rise,) while you get the stuffing mixture ready.
- The stuffing mix can be made in a food processor by adding cauliflower florets, kale leaves, spices, salt and dry-roasted crushed fennel seeds to the bowl, and using the 'pulse or chop' mode. The stuffing should NOT become a smooth paste, but instead have a chopped/grated texture.
- Alternately, make the vegetable stuffing by grating or finely chopping the cauliflower florets and kale leaves, and mixing in the spices, salt and dry-roasted crushed fennel seeds.
- Put the stuffing mixture in a kitchen towel and squeeze out some of the liquid, before making the stuffed Parathas.
- Roll out the dough into a log, and divide in 6 equal parts. Make dough roundels with each part.
- Also, divide the vegetable mix into six rounds of about a teaspoon each.
- Heat a flat cast iron griddle 'tawa' on the stovetop.
- Dust a wooden board or a clean kitchen counter with whole wheat flour. Flatten a dough portion to a 3 inch circle. Put the vegetable stuffing in the middle of the circular dough and completely cover the stuffing with dough. (Check the pictorial above.)
- Using a rolling pin, roll out the stuffed flat-bread into a 5-6 inch circle. Do not apply too much pressure while rolling or the stuffing will come through the dough. If it does, cover the stuffing with flour and continue rolling.
- Add ½ teaspoon of canola oil or ghee to the hot griddle, and cook the flatbread for 2-3 minutes per side, adding more oil/Ghee as desired; the stuffing needs to cook completely and there will be a brown crust on the Paratha.
- Repeat this step for each Paratha; keep the cooked ones warm and soft, covered in a paper/cloth kitchen towel till they are consumed.
- Unused dough and stuffing mix can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
- Serve Kale and Cauliflower Paratha with a dab of butter, for breakfast/brunch or a light meal.
- Spring onions; finely chopped and spiced
- Sage and garlic mix
- Shredded cheese with fresh herbs
- Grated hard boiled eggs
- Stir-fried and spiced ground meat like turkey or beef
- To dry roast whole spices like fennel seeds, roast them on a dry hot pan or griddle without any oil, till the aroma of the spice reaches you; keep an eye since they burn quickly. Crush the roasted spice with a mortar-pestle or in a spice grinder. Read more on handling whole spices in 'The Whole Truth on Whole Spices'.
Subscribe to Blog via Email
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. For the full disclosure notice, please read here