Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Paratha Series#1-Gobi Paratha.....and my very first blog award!

Today, I received my first ever "blog award", which, in blogger's lingo, is a mark or badge of appreciation given by one blogger to another. This award was given to me by Biny Anoop, all the way from Dublin, Ireland (talk about the world shrinking to a global village, thanks to the Internet!). I love that I'm able to make friends with people from so many different places, sitting in the comfort of my home, through this blog (I think the Internet has taken over from what "penfriends" used to be in the past!). Biny has a full-time job and still has time to indulge in her hobby of blogging. She has a very informative food blog out at Biny's Recipes. She is also a very regular and encouraging commentor on my blog, though we haven't met yet! Thank you, Biny, for the appreciation and support. It's readers like you that keep me going!

I'm passing on this award and badge to two of my blogger friends:
Emreen (who I personally know), who has a flair for transforming her house into a warm and lovely home-at LivenThingsUp.
Katerina, all the way out there in Athens, Greece. Again, she is one of my most prolific commentors! She manages to blog, be mom to a toddler, and have a full-time job! Here, at Culinary Flavors.

Now onto my new series, where my aim is to provide recipes which would help you to make a (North Indian) paratha/parantha with a different stuffing for each day of the week (or more, if you are so inclined to have parathas every day!) and about 5 to 6 different ways of rolling out both stuffed and plain parathas.

Parathas are basically unleavened flatbreads, cooked on a griddle or tawa. They are usually stuffed with different types of vegetables, leafy vegetables, or even leftover vegetable stir-fries. The usual accompaniments for parathas are pickles, spicy yoghurt, or chutney.

Until now, the stuffings I commonly used for my parathas were mashed potatoes or crumbled paneer or cheese. Now all that has changed, thanks to my friend Priya, a true-blue Punjabi kudi (translation: girl from Punjab, a state in North India!).  She introduced me to several types of stuffings (which I'd read about but never tried) and different ways of rolling a paratha. She being the kind of girl who loves cooking and inviting people over for food, I have had the distinct advantage of being called over for lunch to her place ever so often. It's always some kind of delicious paratha or other, with varieties of great vegetarian dishes, and other Rajasthani food items as well (her husband being from that state).

In this series, I'll be featuring recipes for stuffings provided by Priya. The ways for rolling out the parathas are a mix of methods I've seen from her and from a Nita Mehta parantha book.

So today, I'm going to feature a gobi (cauliflower) paratha. I've also given the recipes for 3 other different stuffings, at the end. For the first time on this blog, I'm using a step-by-step photograph format. Okay, so not exactly step by step, but I've photographed those steps that might make things clearer to all you amateur cooks/singletons out there who've never made a stuffed paratha in your life. Now's the time to start!

      For the dough:
  1. 3 cups whole wheat flour
  2. Salt to taste
  3. 1 cup water (if it's lukewarm, you'll get a softer dough)
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt well.
  • Add the water gradually and combine with the flour to make a soft but firm dough. Knead until smooth for 1 to 2 minutes. Leave it to rest, covered with a cloth, for about 30 minutes.
  • At this point, I have to say that personally, I love adding dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi) to my dough whenever I make chapathis. Try it and see!
       For the filling:
  1. Half cup cauliflower, grated or shredded in a food processor (I just used my microplane grater for this)
  2. Half-inch ginger, grated
  3. 1 small onion, chopped finely (or use the food processor for this too)
  4. 1/2 teaspoon carrom seeds (ajwain-this is basically good for digestion)
  5. 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  6. Salt to taste (Priya's tip is to use normal salt and a pinch of black salt (kaala namak) for parathas, as it's good for digestion)
  7. 1 tablespoon coriander leaves, chopped finely
  • With the exception of the salt, mix all the ingredients well in a bowl and keep aside (if you add salt at the beginning, it will become watery).
  • Divide the dough into lemon-sized balls.
  • (This would be the right time to heat up the tawa/griddle).
  • Take one ball and roll it out into a circle of about 4 inches in diameter.
  • Place a tablespoon of the filling in the middle and mix the salt into it now.
  • Now dust some flour on top of the filling (to prevent it from getting wet when rolling out).
  • Gather up the sides of the roti.
  • Pull the sides up and press them together to seal it (will look like a dimsum/momo).
  • Now flatten it lightly with your palm and roll it out again, without applying too much pressure. Dust with flour as needed. Don't worry if any of the filling spills out...that's life!!!
  • When it is as thin or thick as you prefer, transfer to the waiting hot tawa/griddle.
  • Lower the heat and wait for bubbles to arise, then flip over.
  • When bubbles arise there and brown polka dots appear, press with a ladle or clean cotton cloth until it puffs up a little and both sides are polka-dotted.
  • Now spread some ghee or oil, to your taste, on both sides and transfer to a warmer/casserole dish.
  • Repeat with the other balls.
Serve hot with pickles and yogurt.

For the yogurt:
Season with salt and pepper if using just yogurt. If you're adding vegetables like onions, cucumber, tomato, green chillies, etc., then add jeera powder, a pinch of chilli powder for garnishing, and even dried and crushed mint leaves too for an extra taste.

                                                                         Other Stuffings:
  1. Radish (Mooli)-Grate and mix with grated ginger, finely chopped green chillies, carrom seeds and chopped coriander leaves. Remember to salt it only at the end and to dust with flour after you place it on the roti, before rolling it out.
  2. Potato (Aloo)-Mash the boiled pototoes with finely chopped onions, green chillies, coriander leaves/fresh or dried mint leaves, carrom seeds, roasted jeera (cumin) powder, dried mango powder, chilli powder, and salt (normal + black salt).
  3. Stir-Fried Potato-In oil, splutter fennel seeds and cloves. Add the boiled and mashed potato, grated ginger, coriander powder, carrom seeds, dried mango powder, chilli powder, coriander/mint leaves, salt. Stir fry for a few minutes and proceed as usual.
The more the stuffing, the tastier the paratha!
If you're particularly nervous about the stuffing slipping out, then just use two rotis-place the stuffing on one, cover with the other roti, and roll it out to make it one stuffed paratha!
Experiment with the seasonings, subtract and add ingredients, and see what you can come up with!

Adding a blob of butter on the paratha just before eating it, when it is still hot and crispy, makes it even more yummilicious!

Here are the pics of the crucial steps:

With the filling placed in the middle.

With the sides all scrunched up and sealed with a pinch.

Flattened with my palm.

Rolled out into a larger disc.

Finally, the paratha with a blob of pickle on the side!


Katerina said...

This paratha closes inside it so many beautiful ingredients. I would love to taste it.

Katerina said...

Karishma, thank you so much for this gift. I was so caught up with your recipe and the steps to do it that I have somehow passed the paragraph with the award. When a recipe is new and interesting to me, I see nothing else. You make such beautiful things.Thank you again very much. I will write about it and link to your blog in my next post. Thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

CONGRATS ...Ab kuch Meeta hojaye...

Biny Anoop said...

Hey Karishma.....the paratha is yumy and easy explaination....karishma it was sooooo nice to read wat u have written abt me and the blog...i think got a bit emotional......this is the first time iam readg somethg abt me.....will surely keep me going for next few days.....
take care dear.

Emreen said...

WoW ! dear,,,, First Congrats for getting the award .... ;-) ;-) ... And a big hug for passing it on to me.... ;-) ;-) ....!!!

Love the way you have put the step by step instructions...!!!