Sunday, August 8, 2010

Aloo Parathas

When it comes to Indian breads, most people spontaneously think of naan. And for good reason. Soft, fluffy, buttery goodness-what's not to like about naan after all? However, as much as I love naan, parathas win hands down when it comes to my personal favorite Indian bread. I love parathas in any form, plain or stuffed, and would choose paratha over naan any day! Plain parathas typically entail layered, crisp and flaky flatbread brushed generously with ghee or butter, while stuffed parathas can contain a variety of fillings, including just about any vegetable and paneer. The most widespread type of paratha is the aloo paratha, a stuffed paratha containing a spiced potato filling. In addition to being one of our family favorites, I harbor many fond memories of eating aloo parathas with my family back in India. A dhaba in Pune, Vadeshwar, prepares some pretty scrumptious aloo parathas in the evenings, so whenever we visit my aunt in Pune, we always have to order aloo parathas from Vadeshwar for at least one dinner. Moreover, each aloo paratha dinner has to be followed by mastani from Hotel Sujata for dessert. Mastani, ever-popular in Maharashtra, simply consists of a milkshake topped with the same flavor of ice cream, and Sujata wins hands down for the best mastani in Pune. You can find an ample array of flavors, from the typical mango and pistachio to butterscotch and, my personal favorite, orange! I always look forward to this ritual each time we visit India. Indeed, most of my memories of trips to India center around food! Not at all surprising when India boasts such divine delights as chaats, aloo bondas, crisp and spicy dosas, pav bhaaji, samosas, Indian Chinese cuisine and, of course, all the delicious ice creams!

Anyway, I prepared aloo parathas for dinner the other night, and I have only one word to describe them: YUM! Hot off the stove, smeared in ghee, flavorful and filling, aloo parathas make for a perfect one-dish meal, accompanied by just plain yogurt and perhaps a spicy pickle. As if I didn't eat enough of the parathas, I remembered all those aloo paratha and mastani dinners with my family in India, and I suddenly began to crave mastani! Of course, you unfortunately cannot find mastani here in the U.S., but I satisfied my craving by running out and buying my favorite ice cream instead :)

For the dough:
2 cups atta/whole wheat flour
2 tsp. oil
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. mung flour
1/4 tsp. methi (fenugreek) powder
2 tbsp. yogurt(if you want to incorporate soaking)
enough water to make a very soft, pliable dough

Combine all the ingredients except for the water in a large bowl. Gradually mix in the water until you have a soft, pliable dough. Knead for one minute, cover with plastic wrap, and let it sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours if you wish to incorporate soaking, or at least 1/2 hour to fully work the dough.

For the filling:
4 large potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
1.5 tbsp. lemon juice
paste made with 3 green chillis and 1/2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. coriander powder
1 heaping tsp. cumin powder
salt to taste, or about 1 tsp.
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro leaves

Ghee or melted butter for brushing

Mix the mashed potatoes with all the seasonings until thoroughly incorporated. Divide the mixture into 10 equal-sized balls. To make the parathas, make ten 2 inch balls from the dough. Roll each dough ball into a small circle that is larger than each ball of the potato mixture. Place one potato ball in the center of each circle of dough, and close the dough up and around the potato mixture. Flatten the dough ball, dip in flour to lightly coat, and roll in out on a floured surface into a round paratha about 8" in diameter. Cook on a preheated skillet on each side until golden brown. Then, brush each side with ghee or melted butter and cook again until slightly crisp on each side. Serve hot with plain yogurt or raita and a pickle.


Swathi said...

Aloo paratha looks delicious Ameya. My hubbies favorite, mine too.


Looks so yummy, 1st time hearing about mastani, thanks for this informative post...

Padhu said...

Paratha looks yummy!!Do drop by when time permits

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