Kachnar Buds Paratha
Kachnar Kali Paratha
Kachnar tree, Bauhinia variegate, is also known as Orchid tree or Butterfly tree because of the way it’s flowers look. In India, its buds are considered a delicacy. They are available for a short season only and are difficult and expensive to buy. They make delicious bhaji stir-fry or stuffed parathas or raita. Makes 6 parathas
1 cup Kachnar ki kali (flower buds)
2 tbsp. besan
1 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
A large pinch of asafoetida or hing
1/4 tsp. chilli powder, adjust to taste
1 tsp. mango powder (amchoor). If you can’t find it, add 1-2 tsp. lemon juice
2 cups chapatti flour. 50/50 whole wheat and white flour can be used, if chapatti flour is not available
Enough water to make a pliable dough
2-3 tbsp. flour for dusting during rolling out, placed on a plate.
Optional: 1 tbsp. oil, 1 tsp. ajwain or carom seeds, 1/2 tsp. salt.
For frying parathas
1/2 cup oil for pan frying
A tava or flat griddle/frying pan
Long handled, round ladle
Boil Kachnar buds in water for 10 minutes, drain well and mash.
Dry fry besan on a griddle or in a wok, keep aside.
Heat oil in a wok and add cumin and asafoetida. When seeds crackle, add the mashed kachnar phali, besan flour, spices and salt, mix well.
Fry until no water remains. Otherwise, it will become difficult to stuff it in the roties.
Leave aside to cool completely.
Making Dough: Place flour in a bowl, add enough water to make dough. If you are new at making parathas, it is better to have a firm…ish dough, which is easier to control while rolling out. Experienced 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 out parathas:
Break dough into approximately 6 portions. Keep covered with a moist cloth.
Dust 1 ball with flour and roll out, 6-8 cm. in size.
Take roughly 1/6th of the filling and place it in the centre of the circle. Pull in edges and gather in the centre. Roll it between your palms, using a little dusting flour, to make it into a round.
Heat the griddle or tava.
Roll the ball out to about 4 inch or 10 cm. size. Place 1/6th of the stuffing in the cntre and pull in edges together to make it into a ball again.
Dip the stuffed dough ball in dusting flour on both sides and roll out gently, to approximately 16 cm.(6-7 inches) in diameter. Roll from centre outwards, so that the edges are thinner than the centre. You will need to dust it with dry flour a couple of times during the rolling out process. If a little filling escapes, don't worry, just remove it.
Cooking the parathas
Place the paratha on the heated tava or griddle (medium hot, not smoking hot). Turn it over when it changes colour slightly, you can see a few blisters on the under surface.
Cook the other side the same way. Turn it over again.
Brush oil on both surfaces, one by one, using a long handled spoon or ladle.
Press gently all over, using a flat spatula. This helps to fluff it up into a ball, as well as making it crisp. Cook until nicely browned and crisp on both sides. It is important that you crisp the paratha on medium heat and not cook on high heat, too fast.