I’m constantly griping about my weight and I don’t agree that it’s a woman thing.. to gripe about weight, that is. It’s a ‘Me’ thing.
So I love all kinds of fried food, potato chips and crisps included (especially the kind with extra salt and vinegar) and butter, though I have cut down on the last named item a bit.
Oh the sacrifices ones taste-buds have to make in the name of healthy eating!
I’m waiting for the weather to turn, and the rains to start and I’ll put on my walking shoes and start my 3km walks which will build up to 5kms and more and be happy. My bad knees don’t quite let me run, not on concrete or tarred roads anyway, and the walking track laid out in the park near my house is full of the ambling sort swapping daughter-in-law stories or tales about the stock market. Little has changed in the world… and then there’s the tattooed, bright blue streaked haired waif who breezes past in a brisk clippity-clop kind of walk, like she’s practising for the 50km at the London Olympic Games. And the heavy-set ma’s-in-law stop as do the paunchy men… everyone looks on, in envy… almost.
But back to food and I’ve decided to go Indian today and dish up some parathas (or stuffed Indian fried flat-bread). Parathas are of course right up there with my favourite things, but I don’t make them very often. I could bake them of course… but then, I like them the way they’re meant to be eaten, with a liberal dose of pure ghee (clarified butter) and with some yoghurt (or dahi as we call it) and some pickle (achar) on the side. I also love experimenting with different kinds of fillings in the parathas; potato (aloo), radish (mooli), pea (mutter), cauliflower (phool-gobi), paneer (cottage cheese) and even minced chicken or beef. This time I combined two of my favourites, potatoes and cauliflower or Aloo Gobi, combined them with onions, chillies, garlic and a bunch of spices, then roasted them on the tava or griddle pan before frying them in ghee.
For the dough -
2 1/2 cups Whole wheat flour (+ extra while kneading and making the parathas)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup whipped yoghurt (dahi)
1/2 cup water (at room temperature)
For the filling -
1 1/2 cups grated cauliflower (raw)
1 large potato (boiled and roughly chopped)
1 medium onion – minced (I used a white onion)
5 – 6 cloves of garlic – minced
2 green chillies (chopped)
1 teaspoon salt
8 – 10 curry leaves – chopped
3 tablespoons chopped coriander
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
large pinch of chilli powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
pinch of garam masala
1 teaspoon caraway seeds (shah-jeera)
pinch of dried bishops weed (ajwain) (optional)
2 tablespoons oil
a squeeze of lime juice
The ghee or clarified butter for frying. I generally use about 1/2 tablespoon ghee per paratha but you can reduce the amount if you like, or use a vegetable oil instead (sunflower oil would be ideal).
Start by boiling the potato and roughly chopping it while still hot. Then grate the cauliflower. Keep the potato and grated cauliflower aside while you sauté the onion in vegetable oil into which you’ve added caraway seeds and bishops weed. Add the garlic, curry leaves and chillies and sweat them down before you put in the spices. Fry the spices on low (adding in the salt), till the oil separates and immediately add in the cauliflower. Allow it to cook for about a minute before adding the potatoes. Mash the potato up a bit and finish with the chopped fresh coriander and a squeeze of lime juice.
To make the dough I’ve used yoghurt, vegetable oil, salt all mixed together, along with some water and the flour. Make a well in the centre of the flour, add the yoghurt and oil mix, and fold the flour into the yoghurt, adding a little water at a time until a dough forms. Knead the dough for about 10 – 12 minutes until soft and pliable. Cover the dough with a damp tea-towel and keep it aside for about 30 minutes.
Once the dough has rested, give it a quick knead and divide it into equal sized balls. I didn’t want a very thick paratha, preferring to keep the casing for the filling thin and crisp rather than thick, and I managed to get 11 parathas out the dough. And guess what… the filling too was just perfect for the parathas, not a teaspoon more.
Roll the dough ball in your hands and pat it down. You can either use a rolling pin to roll it out just a bit (about 3″ in diameter) or flatten out the dough ball using your fingers to create a little receptacle for the filling. Place the filling into the dough and pinch it shut, folding over to seal the opening shut. Flatten the filled dough-ball, dip it in flour to coat it well and roll it out with the rolling pin to the thickness you desire… I wouldn’t recommend exceeding 3 – 4mm. Heat the griddle pan till hot, then turn down the heat and place the paratha on the pan, roasting it on one side and then the other for about 2 minutes per side or till you begin to see light brown marks appearing on the parathas. You’ll need to do this a couple of times each side, turning then over to ensure that the parathas get evenly roasted.
Add the ghee, smearing it around, first on one side, then flip the paratha over and smear the ghee on the other side, raise the heat up a notch. Press the paratha down with the back of the spatula, and fry the parathas till they take on a lovely golden hue.