The Taste of Aloo Parathas without the Hassle of Stuffing

27 Jan

Learning how to make stuffed parathas wasn’t exactly a cakewalk for me. Most often I would go overboard with the filling and the paratha would crack open while rolling, leaving a messy spill. To counter that, I would fill so little that only superactive taste buds could tell there was actually something between the layers of flour.

One day years ago, quite by accident, I discovered this pleasing middle ground – aloo parathas without stuffing. Sharing my method here, I’m sure this will help the novice paratha rollers among you.

On that fateful day, after spoiling an aloo paratha while rolling it out, I scraped the flour and filling mess off of the chakla and kneaded a frustrated ball of them together. The ball, I saw, retained its pliability and what’s more, it looked eminently "rollable". And so inspired, I put the kneaded ball back on the chakla and shaped it into a disk. VoilĂ ! Aloo paratha in a new avatar. Toasted and had with chutney and raita, this was the next best thing to its popular sibling, the stuffed aloo paratha.

aloo-parathas-smallYou Need:

For the dough:

  • Atta – 2 cups
  • Coriander leaves –
    1/2 cup, finely chopped
  • Water – to knead

For the potato masala:

  • Potatoes – 2 large, boiled
  • Onion – 1, finely chopped
  • Green chilies – 1, finely chopped
  • Coriander powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Red chili powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Asafoetida – a pinch
  • Oil – 2 teaspoons
  • Salt – to taste

Ghee or oil – for shallow-frying

How To:

Preparing the potato masala:

Peel and mash the boiled potatoes.

In a skillet, heat the oil to smoking point, then set the flame to low. Add cumin seeds, follow immediately with asafoetida, finely chopped green chilies and onions. After a minute, add mashed potatoes and mix well.

Set the flame to medium and stir at regular intervals, taking care to scrape the potato off the bottom of the skillet to avoid burning. Add coriander powder, red chili powder and salt. Mix well. Take the potato masala off the flame after two minutes. Let it cool to room temperature.

potato-stuffing

Preparing the paratha dough:

In a wide-mouthed utensil, measure out a cup of atta (whole wheat flour). Knead into it the potato masala and finely chopped coriander leaves. Take your time over this if doing it with hand -  break any lumps of potato that you find along the way.

When this mixture looks even, knead in water a little at a time, till the dough becomes pliable enough to pluck out balls with ease and not so soft that it sticks to your fingers.

Since the potato masala adds its own binding quality to the flour, you will need to add very little additional water for kneading.

Let the dough stand covered for 30 mins.

Rolling and cooking:

Make balls of the dough the size of golf balls. Press a ball flat between your palms, give it a quick dip in dry atta and roll it into a disk 6 inches in diameter.

aloo-paratha-rolled-out

Place a tava on the fire, put one side of the paratha on it. You can keep the flame high for the first two minutes and then set it to medium. Note that if you set the flame too low, the parathas will turn out to be papad-like – crisp and brittle instead of soft. [Actually, I sometimes like my parathas that way. Do it as you like, just keep in mind that you get different results with different flame intensity.]

When brown spots begin to form, turn it over and spread a little oil or ghee on it.

aloo-paratha-tava

Use a spatula to gently press the paratha so that it browns evenly. Repeat the same on the other side.

Take the paratha off the fire and press a tissue paper to remove excess oil.

 aloo-parathas-closeup-490

To Serve:

Serve hot with accompaniments like raita, pickle and chutney.

A picture of my dinner – aloo parathas without stuffing, accompanied with mint-yogurt dip and sabut moong dal.

aloo-parathas-without-stuffing-meal

10 Responses to “The Taste of Aloo Parathas without the Hassle of Stuffing”

  1. Tadka Pasta January 27, 2012 at 11:00 AM #

    I want your dinner..we had soup and frozen pizza :( This is a great follow-up to those rajma paranthas!

    • S January 27, 2012 at 10:49 PM #

      Thank you. It’s good to take breaks from the regular cooking routine IMO, frozen pizza every now and then can be emotionally therapeutic ;)

  2. mustardseed January 30, 2012 at 7:36 PM #

    I LOVE aloo parathas but it is such a chore to fill and I am no expert in that so the filling keeps popping out. I love your idea of mixing it with the dough. Now I have my dinner menu!

    • S February 3, 2012 at 9:17 AM #

      :) Hope you enjoy the easy version of aloo parathas.

  3. Ajoy Joshi February 3, 2012 at 3:28 AM #

    really enjoyed this article. it made me wonder if you’ve ever been here? here’s my “take” on the subject!

    http://thoughtsfromajoy.wordpress.com/2011/08/17/ever-heard-of-the-paranthe-wali-gali-the-lane-of-breads-in-delhi/

    • S February 3, 2012 at 9:11 AM #

      Hi Ajoy

      I have been there, just a couple of months back. It was an experience of a new kind – sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers on long benches, shouting out orders “Ek aur mirchi paratha!” and watching the waiters run between the open kitchen and plates with great energy.

      Their food doesn’t seem to have changed over the years – what I ate is much as you describe it from 1989 – parathas crisp on the outside, soft inside; the choice of fillings and assortment of accompaniments.

      Fascinating to know the technique behind their offering. There may be scant similarity between Paranthe wali Gali and American food, and yet their guarding of the secret recipe reminds me of Coke, their consistency of Mc Donald’s.

  4. brighteyedbaker February 10, 2012 at 11:32 PM #

    Must say, this looks delicious!

    • S February 25, 2012 at 11:42 AM #

      Thank you!

  5. fatima July 25, 2012 at 8:39 PM #

    hi dear
    i am iranian but today i made paratha for the first time i learn it from utube,i made it with egg and onion filling but unfortunately it was spoiled and i could not make a good roll,thats why my breads are thick (bcz i was afraid of pressing the dough enough) ,since its Ramadhan and i am fasting i did not try it yet and we are waiting for Iftar time but i feel it will not be good and will have alot of dough taste bcz only the surface is cooked and inside is not welldone.
    Anyway next time i will try ur way.tnx

    • S July 25, 2012 at 11:17 PM #

      Hi fatima, Welcome here. It is hard for sure to get stuffed parathas right the first few times. My suggestion is to try one or two stuffed (for practice) and the rest this way. Enjoy and good luck!

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