Stuffed Paratha

Paratha! Something that is quick and relatively easy to make and has the potential to be lick smacking good. However, not all parathas are created equal and it is very rare that we come across good parathas. To be called a good paratha, my check list include crispy shells on the outside, not too greasy, oodles of spicy stuffing and no potatoes please. Also, no rips and gaping holes in the shells. It does take some practice to make parathas without rips and holes. Before we go into the making paratha, let me walk down memory lane and reminisced the hot summer afternoon I happened to be in Parathewali gali, Chandni Chowk. Amma and me along with a chaperone appointed by a dear uncle went shopping at the chowk that morning. Our chaperone walked us all over in the narrow, rather dirty by lanes. Numerous stops later, holding numerous bags filled with Cikkan suit pieces, cotton suit pieces and zardosi saris, we dragged our famish selves to Parathewali gali. There were few paratha shops in the lane those days and we snuck into one of the larger ones. Amma was not convinced. She was far more puritanical those days and rolled her eyes at the stinky open drain right next the platform where parathas were being made. But the determined bully that I am left her with no choice. It was so long ago that most of the day is rather hazy. But I remember ordering panner and gobi parathas. I was slightly surprised that those parathas were actually deep fried and not cooked on a griddle like else where. But they were oh so delicious. The parathas came with a curry, sweet chutney, green spicy chutney, pumpin subzi and perhaps choley. They were great and I immediately assigned the world's best paratha crown to Delhi.

After a few months, I was back in Delhi for my university, this time for a longer stint. Lousy hostel food along with first separation from family kept my spirits low. My mint new friends trying to cheer me up took me to Ganga Dhaba in our university campus. (oh! alright I am a JNUite) They had great things to tell about the parathas at Ganga dhaba. It must be really good I assumed after all I had already assigned the Paratha crown to Delhi. Some one ordered Aloo Paratha and they came in sets of three. That was pretty much a truck load of potatoes for a very small price! I remember thinking sitting on one of the blocks that made our chair. But it was miserably bland and I was happy that my friends helped themselves to it. Bread pakoda, a slice of bread filled with seasoned potatoes and deep fried in a strange smelly oil was way better. It ended up being my default order at Ganga Dhaba during my rest of the years at JNU. They served the bread pakoda with a slightly sweet tamarind chutney.

I guess Parathewali gali set my Paratha standards high and I have very rarely come across parathas that could like up to that standard. So here is a recipe for those persnickety paratha lovers like me.

 We will need,

Wheat flour ,Salt and water to make a rather tight dough.

For the stuffing:
Panner  1 C
Cauliflower  2-3 large florets
Carrot 1 (optional)
Spinach 1 cup (optional)
Coriander fresh a big handful
Green Chilli paste 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Lemon juice to taste
Toasted Jeera powder (optional)
Oil/ ghee/butter to cook the parathas

  • Spread a few layers of cheese cloth  on a chopping board and grate panner, cauliflower, carrots on it.
  • Chop spinach and coriander very fine and stir it into the panner mixture.
  • Sprinkle a little salt over the grated vegetables and set it aside for a few minutes.
  • Once the vegetables have started to get tender fold the cheese cloth by the edges and squeeze as much of moisture as is possible. Stir in the other ingredients.
  • Prepare a tight dough with the whole wheat flour, salt and water. It helps if the dough is not rested.
  • Pinch small balls of dough and using fingers, mould it into the shape of a small bowl. Place as much of stuffing as is preferred in the hollow if the dough bowl and seal it pulling the edges together. Roll it into paratha as below. 
  • Cook it on a hot griddle on both sides and serve immediately.
  • If this method is hard and the parathas are getting punctured, roll out a small ball of dough into a very large round roti. Place the stuffing on one half of the roti and fold over the other half, like a turnover. Seal the edges and cook it on a hot griddle on both the sides to end up with a paratha that looks something like the one in the picture above. No punctures , half moon paratha will be ready. Serve it with butter, chutney, fresh yogurt, pickle, or an condiment of choice.

P.S: The filling needs to be as dry as possible for the parathas to be good. Also the tighter the dough the easier it is to roll out the parathas.

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