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Saturday, 16 November 2013

aloo paratha revisited (BBB November 2013)

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BBB: Let's Get Baking summary: recipe for Aloo Paratha (Potato Stuffed Flatbread); a Bread Baking Babes project; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

Bread Baking Babes (BBB) November 2013

Ah comfort food! Just the thing when it seems the world is turning upside down.

aloo paratha When Karen murmured that she thought maybe we should make stuffed parathas this month, I immediately responded: “Ooooh! J’ADORE aloo paratha! We were just talking about the fact that it has been ages since we’ve made them. I’ve made Madhur Jaffrey’s (plain and stuffed) and Mark Bittman’s look similar.”

What’s Paratha, you ask?

A parantha/paratha is an Indian unleavened flat-bread, and is mostly consumed in the northern regions of India. The word Paratha (Parantha in Punjab) is an amalgamation of the words parat = layers and atta= flour and which obviously combines to mean layers of cooked flour. [...] The Aloo Parantha is merely a variation or deviation, (whatever way you may want to see it) of a basic parantha. [...]

The traditional way to have the Aloo Parantha would be with a big dollop of fresh homemade butter on a stack and with some yogurt and spicy pickles on the side. And the best way to enjoy these paranthas [is] in good company, laughter and someone serving these hot on the plate straight from the skillet!

-Soma, eCurry: Aloo Parantha – Potato Stuffed Flatbread

I told T about this month’s BBB choice and he was as excited as I. Parathas are perfect for breakfast! Or lunch! Or dinner!

BBB Aloo Paratha diary:

Monday, 11 November 2013, 10:48 We were going to make Parathas on Wednesday, but we suddenly decided that today would be the perfect day for making Parathas. It’s gloomy and cold. We want comfort food!

11:21 I just looked at the BBB recipe again.

[...]
1.1/2 c whole wheat flour
1.1/2 c ap flour plus more for rolling out the dough
salt
1 ts ajwain* dried thyme, or ground cumin[...]
 
-BBB Aloo Paratha recipe

Already I’m rebelling. I’m NOT putting ajwain into the dough. I don’t like ajwain right now! (I used to like ajwain but we made a mistake and put it into chile con carne once. It completely ruined it.)

And I’m definitely not puttin ground cumin into the dough! Ewwww!

In fact, I’m going to rebel even further. I’m going to change just about everything… the only things the same are the name and the amount of flour. :stomp: :stomp: (Shhhh! Don’t tell the BBBabes; they are going to kill me.)

Ha! I’m suddenly reminded of the chicken with almonds I made once. But instead of chicken, I used fish and instead of almonds, I used sesame seeds. Did you know that sesame seeds pop when they’re stir-fried? But that’s another story…. :-)

Heat a griddle or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat for a minute or two, then put on a paratha (or two, if they’ll fit) and cook until it darkens slightly, usually less than a minute. Flip the paratha with a spatula and cook for another 30 seconds on the second side. Use the back of a spoon or a brush to coat the top of the paratha with oil. Flip and coat the other side with oil. Continue cooking the paratha until the bottom of the bread has browned, flip, and repeat. Do this a few times until both sides of the paratha are golden brown and very crisp, 2 to 3 minutes total for each paratha. As the paratha finish, remove them from the pan and brush with melted butter
 
-BBB Aloo Paratha recipe

Brush with oil and put a little butter on at the end? I DON’T think so. I’ll use a little sunflower oil in the dough itself but I’m brushing with butter!

11:43 aloo paratha T is so excited about having aloo parathas that he decided to make the potato curry. He LOOKED at the BBB recipe. He is as disobedient as I. He decided to use different seeds. And more of them. And some ginger. And some dried AND fresh chillies. We have beautiful red chillies on a plant rescued from our garden and sitting happily under lights in the basement.

He also threw together some dahl (I love how quickly it is ready). And as the potatoes were boiling for the paratha stuffing, I started mixing the dough, using all whole wheat flour. And it suddenly occurred to me that I should use potato water! So I stole a little from the potato pot. I was kneading the dough and T wandered into the kitchen to check on the potatoes. He cautioned me that in the videos he’d seen, the dough had been quite slack.

I thought the dough I was kneading seemed fine but while I’m willing to be disobedient with the BBBabes, it seems unwise to be disobedient with T… after all, he is the chief cook! And a really good one too. I like to eat.

I’m not dumb; I kneaded in some more potato water. :-)

14:31 When I was getting ready to roll out the parathas, T asked me how many I was making.

me: Six.
he: Really, do you have enough dough? Each ball is supposed to be golfball size.
me: Yes, it’s enough. [forming one of the pieces into a ball] See? …golf ball.
he: It’s too small. Make four. Then they’ll be ready sooner.

Did I mention that I’m not dumb? I made four. :lalala: (It pains me to admit that T was right about the size.)

Rolling the paratha was ridiculously easy. We used a slightly different method than the last time we had aloo paratha.

Roll dough out into a disc; put a small amount of potato filling on one half of the disc, fold in half and brush with melted butter, fold in half again, roll out stuffed buttered triangle to about 1/8 inch thick; place on lightly oiled tava at medium heat, turn after it puffs up.
 
-me, 2006 Paratha making

aloo paratha In fact, dare I admit that the method was quite close to what is in the BBBabe recipe? (Ha! Maybe I won’t be in quite as much trouble with the other BBBabes now.) I rolled each disc out into about a 5 inch circle, spooned in some of the potato curry and folded the edges over top. On the first one, I just started rolling. But the potatoes wanted to escape out the bottom as the dough got thinner and thinner. For the other parathas, I turned them over so all the folded dough was on the bottom. There was much less tendency for the potatoes to ooze out.

aloo paratha Then T put some salted butter on the hot tava and let it sit there sizzling. Just as the butter started turning brown, I placed the paratha on the pan. It took a short time to cook. T added a little more butter before turning the paratha to cook it on the other side. We stored the finished parathas in a warm oven until it was time to eat.

We were going to brush the parathas with a little more butter just before serving but it really wasn’t necessary. They were perfect just as they were.

We had the best lunch! Mmmm! Aloo paratha, dahl, and extra pototo curry. (Rats! Too bad we don’t have any coriander leaf!) Still, how fabulous lunch was. Thank you, Karen!

Sadly, we didn’t have any coriander leaf so we garnished with mint instead. Surprisingly, the mint wasn’t as refreshing as expected. It looked pretty though! These paratha were not quite as thin and crispy as the ones we made before. But they were easily as delicious.

aloo paratha They were so delicious that T said we should have them again for dinner. I agree! Let’s have some tonight!

Here is the BBB November 2013 Aloo Paratha recipe. And here is what I did to it:

BBB Aloo Paratha
based on recipes in “An Invitation to Indian Cooking” by Madhur Jaffrey and “How to Cook Everything” by Mark Bittman

makes four large parathas

dough

  • 1.5 c wholewheat flour
  • 1.5 tsp sunflower oil
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 0.5 c (125ml) just boiled water ¹
  • 0.25 c (63ml) just boiled potato water (salted) ²
  • unbleached all-purpose flour for rolling
  • salted butter, for cooking

potato filling

  • sunflower oil
  • whole dried cayenne pepper(s), chopped coarsely
  • mustard, cumin, nigella seeds
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • good shot of fresh ginger, chopped finely
  • 0.25 tsp turmeric
  • 2 potatoes, boiled and chopped coarsely
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh chile(s), cut into coins

equipment

  • bowl, wooden spoon, countertop
  • kettle
  • rolling pin
  • lidded pot and frying pan
  • tava, or cast-iron frying pan ³
  • stove
  1. Put the potatoes into cold salted water and bring to a boil. Cook until tender. Drain, reserving the potato water, and set aside.
  2. dough: Put flour into a medium sized bowl. Add oil and salt.
  3. Pour in the just boiled water and stir with a wooden spoon. Gradually add the still hot potato water, stirring constantly until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.
  4. Knead the dough in the air for 8 to 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.
  5. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with a plate and set aside on the counter for about 30 minutes. (Madhur Jaffrey says it will keep up to 24 hours if wrapped in plastic and refrigerated.)
  6. potato filling: Heat a cast iron frying pan and drizzle in some sunflower oil. Put the dried pepper, mustard, cumin and nigella seeds in and cook until the seeds begin to pop. Don’t worry if the pepper gets quite dark coloured.
  7. Add the onion, ginger and turmeric and cook until the onion is transluscent.
  8. Chop the potatoes coarsely into the onion mixture.
  9. Add salt and pepper, but go easy on the salt because you will be cooking the paratha with salted butter.
  10. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the chopped fresh chile(s). Set aside while you begin rolling the dough.
  11. rolling and cooking: Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured board. Cut it into four even pieces. Put three of the pieces back in the bowl and cover it with a plate while you roll out the first paratha. Start by forming the dough into a ball – it should be about the size of a golf ball. Flatten the ball with the palm of your hand and then roll it into a disc about 5 inches in diameter. Don’t worry if the edges are uneven.
  12. Heat tava (or cast-iron skillet) to medium high heat.
  13. Spoon a small amount of potato filling into the center of the disc. Fold in the edges over top to enclose the potatoes entirely. Gently flatten it with the palm of your hand. Now, turn the filled disc over so that the thick part of dough is on the bottom. Roll it out to about 1/8 inch thick. Don’t worry if a little potato escapes.
  14. Put some salted butter on the hot tava. When it is sizzling and has the tiniest hint of golden brown, put the rolled paratha into the pan. As it is cooking, begin to roll out the next piece of dough.
  15. Turn the cooking paratha when it is golden brown on the bottom (about 4 minutes). Add a little more butter to the pan and continue cooking until the second side is golden brown (another 4 minutes or so). Place the cooked paratha on a rack in a warm oven. Do NOT stack the parathas. They’ll get soggy.
  16. Add butter as needed for the rest of the parathas.
  17. If you want to reheat the breads quickly before serving, place them on the hot tava for a few minutes.

For serving, place the cooked parathas upright in a basket. Avoid stacking them or they will get soggy.

Serve the parathas with dahl and any extra potato mixture that you’ve warmed up. (There probably will be extra potato.)

Notes:

1.) Water: Please, I know I say this every time. But do not use water from the hot water tap. Even though the other BBBabes mock me for this, I am like a broken record… (How old are your pipes? How old is the solder? When is the last time you flushed the sediment from the hot water tank? How many toxins want to leach out? Do you really want those in your bread?) Instead, heat the water in a kettle or microwave.

2.) Potato Water: Nobody calls for using the potato water but it seemed like a good idea when I saw that the dough seemed to be a little to dry. I have no idea if using potato water made any difference.

3.) Tava: tava Tavas are available in many Indian grocery stores. They are made of carbon steel and are not only great for making flatbread, but also ideal for making crepes. If you don’t have one, a griddle or cast-iron frying pan works just as well.

The last time that I reported about making stuffed parathas, I rashly said the following:

[I]n the final analysis, unstuffed paratha are much more satisfying than stuffed. They are also much more satisfying to make. So next time we want potato filling with our paratha, we’ll make beautiful crispy unstuffed paratha and serve the potato curry on the side.

- me, “Aloo Paratha: get stuffed! (WHB#33: coriander leaf)”, blog from OUR kitchen

Not so! These latest aloo paratha were easily as satisfying as unstuffed paratha! They may even have been easier to make. They’re certainly much less messy.

Thank you BBBabes for reminding me to keep an open mind.

Bread Baking Babes

Karen (Bake My Day) the host of November 2013′s Bread Baking Babes’ task. She wrote:

This comes from “How to Cook Everything” by Mark Bittman. Aloo Paratha, that’s what I chose to bake for November. I saw the recipe earlier and immediately though that that should be the one. [...] I am sure you all can come up with more variations on filling than I can mention here, but I do like the sound of garam masala with the potatoes, spring onions and peas instead of pot., or maybe cauliflower… [...] go forth and bake my girls!

If you’re a purist, you’ll have to use potatoes as your filling for aloo paratha though – “aloo” means “potato” in Hindi. If your filling is spinach then your bread will be called palak paratha. and if your filling is cauliflower, then your bread will be called gobi paratha. But, really, what’s in a name? Who cares what it’s called. Whatever filling you choose will no doubt be delicious!

We know you’ll want to make aloo paratha too! To receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: make aloo paratha in the next couple of weeks and post about it (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 27 November 2013. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to email the Kitchen of the Month to say that your post is up.

For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:

Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ November bread:

Bake Your Own Bread (BYOB)
BYOB is a monthly event that was hosted by Heather (girlichef) and has now been taken over by Carola (Sweet and That’s It)

[BYOB] encourages you to start (or continue) getting comfortable baking bread in your own kitchen. Anything from simple quick breads to conquering that fear of yeast to making and nurturing your own sourdough starter. All levels of bakers are welcome to participate.

And Carola wrote:

Homemade bread is healthy! As healthy as you decide: choose the best ingredients (if you can afford it, organic and GMO free) and you’ll be surrounded by the most delicious scent and fascinated by the most delicious taste.

Let the adventure continue!

Sweet and That's it - BYOB For more information about BYOB, please read the following:

 


Carrot Bread

 

10 Comments for aloo paratha revisited (BBB November 2013)” »

  1. Comment by ilva — 16 November 2013 @ 10:15 EDT

    I am in awe of your perfectly ROUND parathas Elizabeth, I wish mine were as perfect…

    Ha! You should see how unround some of my parathas have been in the past, Ilva…. But I feel certain that round or not round, they taste just as perfect. -Elizabeth

  2. Comment by Lien — 16 November 2013 @ 13:25 EDT

    Wonderful parathas, and you got them so big! We ate them for dinner, you ate them for lunch and our daughter had them for breakfast.. so versatile, a fantastic bread!

    Thank you, Lien! I started to roll them out smaller but T objected. He said we’d NEVER eat if I rolled them out that small. – Elizabeth

  3. Comment by Heather // girlichef — 16 November 2013 @ 13:52 EDT

    Okay, so oddly enough – my filling escaped less when the “seam” was on top!? Even without the addition of a spice in the dough itself, I bet these were just wonderful – they sure look fantastic!

    Well go figure! Everyone rolls differently, I guess, Heather. – Elizabeth

  4. Comment by Elle — 16 November 2013 @ 18:02 EDT

    So you’ve made unstuffed and stuffed parathas…you are lucky. Love how huge and thin yours are. Perfect accompaniments too. Good thing you have a master chef to keep you in line and brilliant of you to add the potato water. Will try to remember that tip for next time.

    I AM lucky, Elle. Even though… sometimes having a master chef around can be just a little intimidating. :lalala: – Elizabeth

  5. Comment by barbara — 17 November 2013 @ 11:26 EDT

    Oh my, those look good, *drool*. I’m planning keema for dinner tonight and was lazily just going to have pita, but maybe I’ll make aloo paratha instead and put less potato in the keema.

    edit December 2013: Good idea, Barbara! I hope they turned out brilliantly – Elizabeth

  6. Comment by Katie — 17 November 2013 @ 13:59 EDT

    So, you’re saying a paratha by any other name will taste as sweet, er, I mean good?
    So nice that T was so happy with the choice ;-))

    Yes, Katie, that’s the gist of it. And yes. It’s ALWAYS good when T is happy with the choice. :-) – Elizabeth

  7. Comment by MyKitchenInHalfCups — 17 November 2013 @ 22:07 EDT

    Breakfast lunch dinner … yes! all of the above BUT really why wasn’t I there for that dinner! Dal would be so perfect and really just as easy and quick as the parathas.
    Really you used the potato water! I would say I missed out not using the potato water but then since I baked my potato, I had no potato water.

    Why indeed, Tanna? We set a place for you! – Elizabeth

  8. Comment by barbara — 17 November 2013 @ 23:20 EDT

    I used potato water for all the required water. It seemed silly to boil more water when I had that water available. It worked out fine as far as I could tell. They were crispy on the outside, and slightly chewy inside, and tasted fabulous.

    I found them easy to roll either side up. Some potato broke through both ways, maybe because I couldn’t resist putting a bit too much in. But it didn’t matter at all.

    There was indeed extra potato. It’s excellent on its own.

    Whoohoooooo!! I’m so glad they worked out so well, Barbara. And how great that it doesn’t matter if there’s too much filling. – Elizabeth

  9. Comment by Baking Soda — 18 November 2013 @ 16:10 EDT

    Oy I coudnt throw potato water down thedrain, so yes I used it.. I agree with breakfast, dinner and lunch, and I love that you loved it, to me it sounds like the two of you had a wonderful dinner!

    That’s exactly what I thought, Karen. It just made sense to use the potato water, didn’t it? – Elizabeth

  10. Comment by Ckay — 1 December 2013 @ 17:04 EDT

    Elizabeth, I was so happy I made you laugh :-) – I am laughing at it each time I see the “big bang” of my parathaS….
    But you are absolutely right: the taste of them is amazing.
    Maybe one day, I’ll try again. Shall I mix some cement into the flour?

    Many thanks for sharing your wonderful aloo paratha with BYOB

    Thank YOU for hosting BYOB, Carola. – Elizabeth

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