Aloo-Paneer Paratha


paratha

 

 

Paratha has become such a staple for me- not only as a side dish when I’m stuffing myself with Indian take-out, but as a snack as well. You can freeze these and cook them on a pizza stone [at 425F for about 10 minutes] even months after you’ve made them! No defrosting, no potato mashing or paneer-making—- just baking.

paratha

For anyone unfamiliar with Indian cooking, paratha is a wheat flatbread that has been stuffed with various fillings– usually a potato mash or other vegetable medley. I filled mine with a mixture that is similar to the kofta mixture. It contains mashed potatoes, paneer, cilantro, and peppers. I decided to add in some fennel and chili pepper, to make the piratha stuffing a little more savory. Honestly, the filling is a place to really get creative. You can create whatever mixture you like and stuff it in there, and it’s going to be delicious!

paratha

One note before we begin cooking: you really do need a rolling pin for this. I am in love with a French rolling pin that I bought very cheaply off of Amazon. When rolling out this dough it’s important to get a thin, yet solid layer, and that is difficult to do without a rolling pin!

 

Aloo-Paneer Paratha

makes 8-10 flatbreads

 

for the dough
just under 2 1/4 cups chapati flour (I use a mixture of AP and whole wheat)
just under 1 cup water
1 teaspoon kosher salt

for the filling
5 butter ball potatoes (boiled and mashed)
1 cup crumbled paneer (store-bought, or home made)
5 tablespoons minced cilantro (hara dhania)
1 poblano pepper, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin (jeera)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon fennel
1/2 teaspoon of ground ancho chili pepper

Before you can really begin the assembly of the stuffed flatbreads, you must make the dough and the filling separately.

 

To make the dough, simply combine 2 1/4 cups chapati flour and the kosher salt in a medium bowl. I can never find chapati flour, and I don’t have any need to go to specialty groceries, so I usually just opt for 1 cup AP flour mixed with 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour. It is an easy solution that uses commoner ingredients, and still produces a delicious result!

parantha

 

The dough will feel fairly dry, and that’s okay! The butter used in cooking it, as well as the moisture in the filing will make up for this!

parantha

 

After you have created your dough, you can let it rest for a few minutes while you mix up the filling.

 

Combined the boiled,mashed potatoes with the paneer, minced cilantro, minced pepper, cumin, pepper, salt, fennel, and chili pepper. You are making a mash similar to the one for the kofta.

parantha

As you are adding your spices and peppers, I would encourage you to taste everything along the way! The flavor of this filling is not going to change much in the cooking process, and there is nothing involved that cannot be eaten uncooked.

parantha

 

Lick the spoon and take little bites here and then, to ensure that you’re getting the flavor profile you want!

 

parantha

 

 

The next step is to assemble the flatbreads. Lay out a piece of parchment paper and flour it generously. With floured hands, separate the large dough mass into little balls- about the size of golf balls.

parantha

 

You want an even number, because you’ll need two dough balls for every flatbread. We got about 16 out of our dough (meaning 8 parathas).

parantha

 

Using a well-floured rolling pin, take two dough balls and roll them each out, one at a time.

 

parantha

 

You should now have two roughly circular layers. At this point, you want to prepare a small dish with water, butter, or olive oil. You will use this to help press the dough pieces together and create a seal around the filling. Many recipes call for ghee, but I find that regular butter works just fine here.

In this instance I used water in the pressing process, and butter in the grilling process. Everything still turned out great!

parantha

 

Now that you have two pieces of dough ready, you can assemble the flatbread! Spoon a generous heaping of filling on top of one piece. When I say generous- I mean about a 1/4 cup! The dough is surprisingly elastic and shouldn’t break easily. However, it might take some trial and error to get the right amount for your parathas.

parantha

 

Next, gently position the second, flattened circle on top of the filling. If you have two, differently-sized circles, I’d recommend putting the bigger one on the bottom. When the bottom circle is bigger, it is easier to pull the edges up and around the top circle, pressing down to create a single, enclosed flatbread! At this point, you can use the water/butter/ghee/olive oil to seal the dough and increase elasticity.

parantha

 

 

The final step before cooking is to flour the rolling pin and roll out the enclosed paratha! This is such a fun process, as it totally transforms the flatbread, and it is so neat to see!

parantha

 

I find that it’s best to flip the paratha a few times during the rolling process and re-flour the surface of the parchment paper. This helps to ensure no sticking or breaking of the bread during the rolling process. A warning- it will stick a bit to the rolling pin, so be careful about how much pressure you use when rolling it out.

Continue this process with the remaining filling and dough balls, and cook them in a butter skillet over medium heat.  Cook in the butter and flip, until both sides are browned.

parantha

 

Even if you are planning to save some for later consumption, you should still cook them all in the skillet with butter before freezing them. The butter adds a great flavor and when you reheat them in the oven they will become extra crispy and delicious!

parantha

 

Serve at once with chutney as a snack, or as a side to your favorite Indian dish! (I often even eat them by themselves, and they’re still incredible!)

parantha

 

Enjoy!

 

 

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