Bathua (Lambsquarter) Stuffed Paratha
Mamta Gupta lamb's quarters,
Lamb's Quarter (Chenopodium album) grows wild in the fields in UK. Look up in Google, you will find many pictures on the web. In India, it is grown and eaten as a leaf vegetable and sold in vegetables shops. It is used for making vegetable curries, yoghurt raita, parathas and poories. Freshly cooked, crisp bathua paratha, eaten straight off the griddle, is delicious! If you pick it yourself, make sure that you can identify the plant properly. It is well recognised in Indian herbal medicines; it is used for the treatment of intestinal worms, leucoderma, anorexia, helmintic infections, as a diuretic, aphrodisiac and a tonic, to name a few. But please do not try it for treatment, without expert Ayurvedic advise. Makes 10-12
For the dough
3 1/2 cups (approximately 500 gm.)chapatti flour (keep a little aside on a plate, to use for dusting)
300 ml. water approximately. Add a little more or a little less until you get a soft dough
2 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. carom or ajwain seeds
1 tsp. salt (optional)
Water to make dough
For the stuffing
2-3 cup. fresh bathua leaves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. chilli powder or 1 chopped green chilli (adjust to taste and to the heat of chillies used)
1 inch piece of ginger, very finely chopped
1 medium onion, very finely chopped
Oil for pan frying
Making the filling/stuffing
Remove and thick stalks and wash bathua leaves.
Cook in a microwave steamer for 4-5 minutes or boil in a little water until leaves just collapse and become soft. Drain in a colander.
Allow to cool and then squeeze all water out by pressing between both palms.
Mash roughly so they do not end up as a purÃ©e.
Add onions, ginger, green chillies. Keep aside.
Before using, squeeze between palms to remove any liquid.
Add salt and chillies and mix. Do not add salt too early, it makes the stuffing soggy.
Place flour, carom seeds, oil and salt in a bowl.
Add enough water, a little at a time, to bring the flour together, a soft to firm...ish dough. If you are new at making parathas, it is better to have a firm dough, which is easier to control while rolling out. Experienced Indian cooks prefer a little softer dough, which make softer parathas.
there is no need to knead at this stage, just leave it for 10-15 minutes.
Knead briefly again with wetted hands, it will now become soft, pliable and smooth.
Rolling out and cooking parathas: Break dough into 10-12, about the size of ping pong balls, and roll them into balls using a little dry flour to dust. Keep them covered with a moist cloth.
Start heating a griddle or tava to medium heat.
Take 2 dough balls for each paratha.
Dip one ball at a time in dry flour and roll both out to about 4-5 inch diameter disc each.
Place 1 heaped tsp. of bathua leave mix in the centre of one disc.
Place the other disc on top, pressing the edges gently to seal it.
Roll out to about 6-7 inch or 15-17 cm. sized circle, dipping in dusting flour from time to time on both sides during the rolling out process, to stop it from sticking. It should be rolled from centre outwards, so that the edges are thinner than the centre.
Put the paratha on the hot griddle/tava. Turn it over when it changes colour to semi-translucent and you can see a few blisters on the under surface.
Cook the other side same way and turn over again.
Brush a little oil on both surfaces. This can be done with a small ladle or a soup spoon.
Press it gently all over, using a flat spatula. This type of paratha may not puff up, because of the 'bits' of onion, ginger etc.
Cook until crisp and nicely browned on both sides.
Parathas can be made in advance, stacked on top of each other and wrapped in Aluminium foil. They can be re-heated before serving, either individually on a griddle or in a microwave - place 4-5 parathas spread out on a plate and heat for 2-3 minutes on maximum power.
Parathas freeze quite well but should be defrosted properly before re-heating.
You can cut each paratha into wedges and serve as a snack.