Known as one of the best and popular breakfasts of India, ‘Parathas’ (Stuffed Bread) are a healthy, delicious and filling food. Anyone would agree that the best way to start a morning with a good appetite would be to indulge yourself into some steaming hot butter-dripping ‘parathas’.
Check out how this type of ‘Indian bread’ came to exist in almost every household. ‘Parathas’ can be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner too…
What is a ‘Paratha’?
A ‘parantha’ is a flat bread that originated in the Indian subcontinent. It is usually made with whole-wheat flour, pan fried in ghee or cooking oil, and often stuffed with vegetables, especially boiled potatoes, radish or cauliflower and/or paneer (Indian cheese). A paratha (especially a stuffed one) can be eaten simply with a blob of butter spread on top but it is best served with pickles and yoghurt, or thick spicy curries of meat and vegetables. Plain parathas are also made without any stuffings but accompanied by the melted ghee and pickles like the stuffed parathas.
Origin of Parathas
Parathas originated in Peshawar and then spread all over the former northern parts of India. It began as a wholesome meal often eaten at breakfast. The paratha is stuffed unleavened bread with various fillings that could be added according to your choice.
Traditionally Parathas and assi go hand in hand and are inherent to Punjabi cuisine. The history of lassi like the paratha is unknown however it is known to have originated in Pakistan. Lassi is made from dahi, which is either made from the milk of the cow, buffalo or goat. Sometimes various flavours are added to it. Lassi can also be plain with the necessary addition of sugar.
Some people prefer to roll up the paratha into a “pipe” and eat it with tea, often dipping the paratha into the tea. Parathas can also be used as an evening snacks and are available at street vendors in the northern states of India.
Difference between rotis and parathas
The main difference between ‘roti’ and ‘Paratha’ is that roti is made with flour and water whereas Paratha usually incorporates ghee or oil.
The dough is rolled out and brushed with ghee or oil then folded again, brushed with more ghee and folded again. This is then rolled out to a circle and cooked on a buttered griddle. The heat makes the layers of dough puff up slightly, resulting in a more flaky texture.The paratha can be flavoured with different herbs and spices, rolled, stuffed or just eaten as an accompaniment to meat, poultry, fish and vegetable dishes and make an exceptional addition/replacement to rice.
The Paratha has a social connotation too. The significantly higher expenditure and effort in preparing the Paratha when compared with the daily Roti means that the Paratha is usually prepared as a special item, or for important guests. With all the food accompaniment like fresh cream, melted ghee and lassi,Parathas is no less than a high calorie, rich dish.
Stuffing in Parathas
The stuffings of the paranthas served here range from the traditional potato, radish and cauliflower to cottage cheese, assorted sprout for the health conscious, goor, garlic and dhania and ginger and chilli for vegetarians.
The non-vegetarian versions include chicken and lamb mince, eggs, fish flakes, salami, and assortment of seafood and chicken tikka. The best thing about parathas is that you could add any stuffing and it would still be a wholesome meal. Non-vegetarian parathas are not common in India except for those made with minced meat.
Diversity of Parathas
South India’s ‘Porota’
Regardless of its origins, parathas soon became popular all over South Asia. All south Indian states have their own versions of the ubiquitous paratha, the most popular being “Kerala Porotta,” which is mostly made of ‘maida'(white flour) instead of ‘atta'(wheat flour). The Kerala Porotta is popular and is usually devoured with egg roast, chicken, beef or mutton curry.
During Ramadan, Muslims from the Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh), often eat Parathas for breakfast.
Regardless It is thought that the butter and flour mixture are not only a good souce of calories but also stave off hunger pangs and help sustain a person throughout the long day.
Indian immigrants took this dish to Malaysia and Singapore, resulting in variations such as roti canai and roti prata. In Myanmar (Burma), where it is known as ‘palata’, it is eaten with curries or cooked with either egg or mutton, or as a dessert with white sugar.
Htat ta ya, lit (a hundred layers), is a fried flaky multi-layered paratha with either sugar or boiled peas (pè byouk).
Paratha in Trinidad and Tobago differs from the south Asian paratha in that it is generally thinner and larger. In Trinidad and Tobago it is commonly called “buss up shut” (“burst-up shirt”), especially by non-Indo-Trinidadians.
How to prepare Parathas
Aloo Paratha Recipe
A] For Dough:
2 Cups of wheat flour
B] For Stuffing:
3 to 4 Nos of Potatoes
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of cumin powder
1/2 tsp of paprika
Oil of your choice
Coriander leaves 1/2 cup
* Wash,dry & cut the Coriander leaves
* Boil , peel & mash the potatoes.
* Add Cumin,paprika,salt,coriander leaves & mix.
* Make small balls of the same & keep aside
* Mix flour,salt & required amount of water to make a soft dough.Rub a Tsp if oil over the dough & let it rest for an hour.
* Take a lemon size dough, & roll it into small circle.
* Keep one potato ball .cover all the sides & roll to triangle shape.
* Heat a flat pan ,when it gets hot add the paratha & let it cook for a minute.When it starts to get small bubbles turn around & add a small tsp of oil around the paratha.when the brown spots appear take it out & keep it in an in a covered box.
* Serve hot or warm with curd or pickles.
Methi Paratha Recipe
3 cups of whole wheat powder
1 bunch of methi washed and chopped into small pieces
1 medium sized onion chopped into very small pieces
1 tsp jeera seeds1 tsp haldi powder
1 Tb.sp of chili powder
1 tsp of coriander powder
1 Tb.sp of olive oil
1 tsp salt
* In the above oil season jeera until it starts sputtering
* Add onions and fry until translucent
* Then add all the remaining masala powders and fry for ½ minute
* Now add the chopped methi leaves and fry for another minute
* For the above mixture add the wheat flour and make dough adding water only if required.
* Roll the parathas as thin as possible and roast on both sides on thava until u see small brown spots and smear some ghee/oil if desired.