I honestly love paratha. I love to top it with pesto or hummus, or roll it up, burrito-like, around grilled veggies or meats. It’s a cinch to make, and the only equipment you need is a bowl, a pastry brush, and a cast-iron skillet.
Can’t bear the taste of all-whole wheat bread? Use a 50/50 mix of whole wheat and all-purpose flour.
Then add just enough water to make a firm dough. In summer, when the humidity is high, my paratha dough requires about 2/3 cup of water. In winter, when my haunted, 188-year-old house is bone-dry, the dough begs for 3/4 cup of water.
Yes, I know I didn’t roll up my sleeves. But you should.
Repeat the previous 4 steps for the remaining segments of dough.
Paratha is delicious with Garlic Scape Pesto…
Or with homemade Greek yogurt and freshly snipped chives.
In India (and in Indian restaurants) it is commonly topped with chutney.
And are you thinking what I’m thinking? Paratha would make a mighty fine pizza dough.
Need a copy-and-paste version of the above? Here goes:
Whole Wheat Paratha (Indian Flatbread)
Adapted from various sources
Ingredients for 8 6-inch diameter breads
2 cups whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon (or more, to taste) kosher salt
4 tablespoons flavorless vegetable oil, plus more for coating and brushing the dough
2/3 cup (or slightly more) water
Seasonings — freshly ground black pepper, ground cumin, etc., a small pinch for each “loaf”
The dough — Put the flour, salt, and oil in a mixing bowl. Use your fingers to blend the oil into the flour — it should resemble coarse crumbs.
Then add just enough water to produce a firm but workable dough. You will probably need 2/3 cup of water on a hot, humid day, and 3/4 cup during the dry days of winter. Roughly mix the dough with your hands, and then pour it onto your work surface. Knead for 3 minutes. Return the dough to the mixing bowl, coat it with a little vegetable oil, and then cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Let rest for 15 minutes, or for up to 30 minutes.
Forming the bread — After the dough has rested, knead it for 30 seconds. Then tear off an egg-size piece of dough, and roll it between your palms to form a ball. Then flatten the ball into a disk. Gently press the disk into a plate of whole wheat flour, and then flip it over to coat the other side. Roll it, with your rolling pin, into a 6-inch-diameter circle.
Seasoning the bread — Brush one side of a disk with a little oil. Then sprinkle it with the herbs or seasonings of your choice.
Baking the bread — Heat a cast-iron skillet over a medium flame until hot. Then place one disk, oiled-side-down, in the skillet. When the breads starts to puff here and there — after about 5 seconds — brush the top with a little oil, and then flip the bread over. Let cook for about 30 seconds, or until spotty-brown.
Form, season, and bake the remaining disks.
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