Mooli Radish Paratha
Mooli Paratha is one of the most popular stuffed paratha of northern India in winter months, when mooli radishes are in season. The Paratha is filled with grated and spiced mooli stuffing. Freshly cooked and crisp parathas, served straight off the griddle, are the best. They are traditionally served with a big dollop of home made butter (we avoid butter these days), pickles of choice, natural yoghurt and/or Meethi or Namkeen Lassi 1 or 2. In our family, everyone likes to eat them with Sweet Mango Chutney, made to my dad's old recipe. In UK, you can buy similar chutney ready made.
As parathas freeze well, I usually make a large batch and keep some in the freezer. For freezing, slightly under-cook them and place a small sheet of grease-proof paper or a piece of aluminium foil between them. This stops them from sticking together and you can take one or two out at a time, without the need to defrost the whole pile.
You can make the stuffing with other grated vegetables too, like cabbage, carrots, cauliflower etc. Do not be put off by the long list of ingredients and a long process. Once you have read through it, they are really quite easy to make.
For the stuffing
1 kg. mooli or radish. These are the large white radishes you buy from Indian stores.
2 tbsp. cooking oil
1/2 to 3/4 tsp. ajwain or carom seeds
A large pinch of hing
2-3 green chillies (to taste)
1 tsp. chilli powder (to taste)
3 tsp. coriander powder
1 tsp. Garam Masala
4 tsp. salt
3 tsp. amchoor or dry mango powder (don't worry if you can't find it)
For the dough
400-500 gm. whole wheat chapatti flour
2 tbsp. ghee or butter or oil (this helps to make paratha crisp but is not essential)
300 ml. water approximately. Add a little more or a little less until you get a soft dough
Oil for pan frying
Making the stuffing
Peel and grate mooli coarsely. Sprinkle a little salt and leave it aside for 30 minutes or so. This will draw the water out of the mooli.
Pick handfuls of mooli and squeeze tightly, to get as much water out as possible. Re-squeeze if necessary. Discard water. If any water remains, it will make rolling out a very difficult and sticky business.
Heat oil in a frying pan and add carom/ajwain seeds, wait for them to splutter or turn light brown. Add mooli, all the spices and salt. Mix well.
Cook uncovered, until ALL the water has evaporated and the mix is completely dry. If moist, water will leak out during rolling of the parathas, making them stick to the rolling board.
Allow it to cool completely.
Remember that the stuffing is for filling between two layers of unsalted dough. Therefore, it will taste quite salty and over spiced at this stage.
You can also used uncooked mooli for stuffing, see picture 3. Make sure that you squeeze out most of the liquid and add salt and spice just before you are ready to make parathas. See last picture.
Making the dough
Save 1-2 tablespoon (or use extra) dry flour for dusting during rolling out of parathas.
Mix the remaining flour, oil or ghee and enough water to make firm...ish dough. If you are new at making parathas, it is better to have firm dough because it is easier to control while rolling out. Experienced Indian cooks prefer a little softer dough, which make softer parathas.
Knead well for 5-6 minutes. This process can be done quickly in a food processor.
Leave to stand for 10 minutes or so. Knead briefly again.
Rolling our Parathas (*see notes)
Break dough into approximately golf ball size portions and roll into balls, using a little dry flour for dusting. I make only two balls at a time and make the next 2 while the previous paratha is cooking. If you are new at this, you may need an assistant to fry parathas while you are rolling them out.
Dip one ball at a time into the dry flour and roll it out to approximately 6 inches or 15 cm.
Place 1 heaped tbsp. or so of the stuffing in the centre of the 1st circle, and place the second circle to cover it.
Seal by pressing all around the edges. You end up with a small, stuffed circle.
Roll the stuffed circle gently into a pancake like bigger circle, approximately 20-22 cm diameter. You will need to dip it in dry flour, on both sides a couple of time during rolling out. This will stop it from sticking to the rolling board. If a little stuffing escapes, don't worry, just remove it. If the paratha sticks a little to the board, gently ease it off using a flat spatula or palette knife.
Heat a griddle or tava.
Place the paratha on the hot griddle. Turn it over when it changes colour slightly, you can see a few blisters on the under surface.
Turn over again and cook the other side same way.
Brush oil on both surfaces one by one.
Continue pressing it gently, all over, using a flat spatula. If you see any steam escaping, seal it by pressing it with the spatula. This helps it to fluff up into a ball.
Cook until crisp and nicely browned on both sides.
*Another easier way of stuffing the paratha is to roll out only one 6 inch circle, place stuffing in the centre and fold it over like a Cornish pastry or gunjia. Press edges to seal. Now gently roll it out. The shape will not be round, but elliptical.
As parathas freeze well, I usually make a large batch and keep some in the freezer. For freezing, slightly under cook them and place a small sheet of grease-proof paper or a piece of aluminium foil between them. This stops them from sticking together and you can take one or two out at a time, without the need to defrost the whole pile. Frozen or chilled parathas 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 also freeze quite well but should be defrosted properly before re-heating.
If there is any left over dough, you can make plain parathas and eat them later.