Cornmeal Roti or Paratha With Urad Dal & Kasoori Methi-Indian (Flat Bread)
Makka, Urad Dal and Kasoori Methi Roti/Paratha
I love cornmeal roties, parathas, especially when served with a Spinach or Mustard Leaves saag. This type of recipes are disappearing from modern day Indian cuisine, because younger generation find them harder to make. This is an easy version, using a Poori Press that most people have these days. Taco press will work just as well.
This recipe is based on my late mother in-law Kiran Devi Guptas popular Urad Dal Kachaurir recipe.
Edited August 2023
2 1/2 cups fine corn flour/cornmeal, not the fine corn starch that is used for making custard and sauces
1/2 cup skinless black gram or urad/urd/urid dal
2 tbsp. dry methi leaves (Kasoori methi)
1 1/2-2 inch piece ginger root, peeled and finely grated
1-2 green chillies (to taste). Use dry red chillies, coarsely ground, if you do not have fresh ones.
1 tsp. fennel seeds, coarsely ground (optional)
A large pinch of asafoetida*.
A little oil for rolling out and for pan frying parathas
A plastic sandwich bag, with two sides slit open
1/2 cup oil for rolling out and making parathas.
1 Poori Press. You can roll them by hand also, see step
No salt. Salt makes the dal dough runny
* Asafoetida reduces the flatulent effect of lentils, beans and dals. That is why, it is always used in India to temper the dals, called giving a Tarka to the dals.
Grind dal in a grinder, I use a coffee grinder.
Place dal, and methi leaves in a small bowl and half a cup of hot water. Leave for a couple of hours for dal to soften.
Place flour, ginger, chillies, asafoetida, ginger, ground fennel seeds, in a large bowl.
Add ground dal and methi leaves mix and enough hot water, a little at a time, to make pliable dough. You will need to mix it with a spatula initially, unless you have asbestos hands like mine! The dough should not be too soft. Otherwise it will become impossible to lift up a rolled roti without breaking it. If it is too firm, it will crack while rolling.
Cover and leave aside for 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, split open a clean sandwich bag on two sides and open it out. Grease the inside surfaces lightly. You will need to do this between each roti/paratha. Plastic bag stops the roti from sticking to the poori press or your work surface, as you roll out each roti/paratha and makes it much easier to lift up.
Grease your palms lightly and pick a small portion of dough to make a ball, slightly larger than a gold ball. Size is a personal choice.
Place the ball between two layers of oiled plastic bag and then place it in the centre of the poori/taco press.
Press gently to 5-6 inch diameter.
Peel the top layer of plastic off gently. Then lift the roti/paratha, along with the base layer of the plastic, with your right hand. Turn it over onto the left palm and peel off the other layer of plastic.
Slide it gently onto the pre-heated griddle or Tava. Turn it over with a flat spatula when it becomes slightly darker in colour.
If you press it gently with a balled up kitchen towel, you can coax it into puffing up.
For roti, you do not need to put any more oil. For paratha, coat both sides with a thin layer of oil as it cooks, using a small ladle.
Turn it over a few times, until golden and crisp on both sides.
Serve hot, with a spinach saag/dal or a vestibule curry of choice. You can also serve them snacks, with a pickle of choice and a steaming mug of tea. If making in advance, slightly under-cook and cool them out on a towel. Stack them to heat them individually on a flame or a few at a time, under a grill.
You can also freeze them when cool.
You can roll out roties/parathas with a rolling pin, using dry flour for dusting. Spinach leave may be used as a substitute to methi leaves.