Paranthas are a wheat-based flat bread found all over the Indian subcontinent and Sri Lanka. They are often plain but can be even more delicious when stuffed with potato, onion and spices. Paranthas are traditionally served hot off the pan with pickles, spicy sauces and yoghurt or as a side to dhal or a breakfast chana masala. As they travel well, paranthas also make a great addition to an adventure food kit, functioning as tasty wraps for your salad or as a filling snack along the trail or river.
To make 10-12 paranthas take:
- 500 g wholemeal wheat flour
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 400 mL water
- 4 whole boiled or baked potatoes
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 tsp ginger, finely chopped
- ½ tsp green chilli, finely chopped
- pinch of salt
- ½ tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- Mix flour and salt together in a large bowl, using your hands. Add water a little at a time, scattering it over the flour with your hand rather than pouring it straight into the middle. This gives a more even distribution, making kneading easier. Knead dough with both hands; as you add more water it will become quite wet and sticky but if you dip your hands in water as you go, they shouldn’t stick too much.
2. To make the aloo filling grate the boiled potatoes into another bowl then add onion and all other ingredients. Stir through gently with your hands, being careful not to squeeze the potato too much – we don’t want mashed potato.
3. Place a heavy-based frying pan over a low flame to heat. Set aside a small bowl of dry flour for dusting. Dust your work bench and a rolling pin with a little flour. With floury hands take a piece of dough about the size of an egg.
4. Gently roll it into a disk roughly the size of your hand.
5. Hold the disk in one hand a fill with a big tablespoon of potato mixture.
6. Pinch the disk closed over the potato, being careful not to squash the potato mixture out as you do; you want to seal the potato inside.
7. Drop in flour again and gently roll flat until your parantha is about 3-5mm thick. Some of the onion will break the surface, this is fine.
8. Turn the heat up under your pan and place your parantha on the dry pan.
9. After 1-2 minutes flip the parantha and drizzle a tiny bit of oil (mustard if you have it, or any other oil you like) around the edges then rub the oil over the whole surface.
10. Straight away flip the parantha again and oil the other side in a similar way. Press the parantha against the hot pan, particularly around the edges.
11. Keep flipping and pressing until it’s nicely brown all over.
If you want a buttery filling, spread a thin layer of butter or ghee on your dough after the first gentle roll, before you fill it with potato. Be sure to leave the edges of the circle unbuttered so they stick together.
Paneer parantha is quite common as well – instead of potatoes use 150 g grated paneer but follow the instructions in the same way.
If you would like paranthas without oil, cook the rolled parantha on a hot, dry pan as usual. Flip once after 1-2 minutes and, instead of dizzling oil over, leave on the second side 1-2 minutes. Remove the pan and, using tongs, place your parantha directly over the flame for a few seconds each side until crispy. You can put butter on one side of your parantha or eat it like this with no oil.