Paratha - Plain
Paratha is made of whole meal chapatti flour. It is a richer version of chapatti. Freshly cooked crisp paratha, eaten as the cook is taking it off the griddle, is delicious! Parathas are usually made as rounds, but can also be made as squares or triangles. Makes 10-12.
Edited August 2012
300 gm./2 cups chapatti flour. 50/50 whole wheat and white flour can be used, if chapatti flour is not available
1 tbsp. ghee or butter
1/2 tsp. carom seeds (ajwain).
1/2 tsp. salt
Enough water to make dough
Oil for pan frying
Place flour and ghee/butter in a bowl, saving 2 tablespoon flour for dusting while rolling out parathas later on.
Add enough water, a little at a time as you knead it, and make a soft...ish dough. If you are new at making parathas, it is better to have a slightly firm dough, which is easier to control while rolling out. Experienced Indian cooks prefer softer dough, which makes softer parathas but it is a little more difficult to roll out.
Knead till is all comes together. Leave to stand for 10 minutes or so. Knead briefly again. This process can be done quickly in a food processor.
Rolling out parathas:
Break dough into 10-12 portions (size is your own choice) and roll them into balls, using a little dry flour to dust. Keep covered with a moist cloth.
Dust one ball with dry flour and roll it out to approximately 7 cm. or 3 inches diameter.
Place 1/8 tsp. (a few drops) of oil in the centre of the circle, pull the edges in and seal it in the centre. Now you have a ball again.
Heat a griddle or tava. Lightly oil its surface.
Roll out the ball into a 6-7 inches or 16-18 cm. circle. It should be rolled from centre outwards so that the edges are thinner than the centre. You will need to dip it in dusting flour on both sides a couple of time during this process. Parathas should not be too thin, approximately 2-3 mm. thick, as very thin ones do not have a 'bite'. This however is your personal choice, some people prefer paper thin parathas.
Put the paratha on the hot griddle/tava (lightly smoking).
Turn it over, when less opaque and you can see a few blisters on the under surface.
Cook the other side the same way and turn over again.
Brush a little oil on both surfaces, one by one. This can be done with the back of a long handled ladle or a soup spoon.
Press paratha gently all over with a flat spatula. If you see any steam escaping, seal it by pressing it gently, making it balloon up.
Cook this way until crisp and nicely browned on both sides.
Next paratha can be rolled as the previous one is cooking.
Serve hot with a curry of choice. Parathas, Potato Bhaji and a pickle of choice are often taken a packed lunch by millions of North Indians.
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 minutes on maximum power.
They freeze quite well too, but should be defrosted properly before re-heating.
If you want to make parathas crisper and flakier, add 2 tbs. oil to the dough.
Experiment with shapes. You can make square parathas. At step 9, after putting oil in the centre of the rolled out ball, fold over both edges to meet in the centre, both in vertical and then in horizontal directions, to make a square. Now roll it out into a square paratha. For a triangle, fold in half once and then half again. Roll out the resulting triangle into a paratha.