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Friday, November 19, 2010

Paratha



From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...While we were in India, Bob and I were entertained by three young families who opened their homes and kitchens to us. These were atypical families and the meals we shared with them were those that would be found on the tables of the upper middle class. They were all marvelous hosts and I learned a great deal about the Indian kitchen during visits in their homes. One of our hostesses was a cooking instructor who loved to share her knowledge with other people. She was a woman with a mission. Most visitors to India don't realize that an average Indian homemaker spends at least a third of her day preparing meals for her family. She wanted to help reduce that time by simplifying classic recipes and techniques. The Indian kitchen bears no resemblance to yours or mine. Freshness is of paramount importance, so refrigerators are quite small. Fruits and vegetables are purchased daily from vendors who bring produce to the homes for selection. Meats and dairy products are purchased in the same fashion. That means that the Indian kitchen is also very seasonal. There are no peas if peas are not in season. The kitchens in which the cooking is done are Spartan. The ones I saw did not have built-in ovens or cooktops. Meals were cooked on portable gas burners or in small ovens that were set on countertops. Each of the kitchens had an auxillary table, a running bank of lower cabinets and a large sink. Family meals were always served in the dining room. Our hostesses all had help to assist with cooking and serving when they had guests. The help was generally male, though the children's nannies might be called on to cook treasured family recipes. While members of the family wore shoes, the kitchen help and servers did not. It was an interesting distinction. We quickly learned that curry is a sauce, not a powder and that masala is a combination of spices that can very from one region to another. I personally learned that the breads of India are the glory of its tables. Served hot from the grill, these breads can make grown men weep and put women on perpetual diets. They are really lovely. Today's recipe is for an Indian flatbread called paratha. You may have seen it stuffed. This is a much simpler version of that bread. I hope you'll give it a try.

Paratha...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour + 1/2 cup for dusting
2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup scallion, cut up into 1 inch pieces
3 tablespoons mint leaves
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoons ghee for brushing parathas

Directions:

1) Place both flours, scallions, mint leaves red pepper flakes, black pepper and salt in bowl of a food processor. Pulse until mixture is thoroughly mixed and onions and mint are finely chopped. Add warm water through feed tube and pulse until dough gathers into a ball. Remove, knead and rub with oil. Cover and let rest at room temperature several hours before proceeding.
2) Form dough into 12 equal size balls. On a well floured surface, roll dough into a very thin disc. Heat a cast iron griddle or frying pan over medium-high heat and cook paratha until brown spots appear on both sides. Brush with ghee and stack. Serve hot. Yield: 12 pieces.

You might also enjoy these recipes:
Puffy, Fluffy Spinach and Green Chili Puris - KO Rasoi
Tandoori Rotis - Healthy and Delicious
Whole Wheat Chapati - Anja's Food 4 Thought
Naan - Closet Cooking
Multi-Grain Roti/Chipati - A2Z Vegetarian Cuisine
Chapatis and Pooris - One Perfect Bite

42 comments :

Katerina said...

I love paratha. Isn't it amazing that in almost all cultures you can find a recipe for flat bread? Thank you Mary for your lovely comments on my blog.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Interesting post. It is good to know how other people live and cook. Take care. Diane

Priya said...

Parathas are our favourite flat breads, looks prefect..

Red Nomad OZ said...

Just loving all this Indian food! Now all I have to do is work out how to cook it in a small camper trailer!

Happy travels!!

EliFla said...

It's really ineteresting to know how other cultures live they daily kitchen!!Thank you, MAry, as always.... take care, ciao Flavia






Dr.Sameena Prathap
said...

Hey,

Lovely parathas dear...:)

Dr.Sameena@

http://www.myeasytocookrecipes.blogspot.com

charmine. said...

Mary parathas,naan,roti is often cooked at north Indian homes and go well with chicken/lamb curry as well as veg dishes.

The kitchens you describe here,are spartan indeed!more middle class.Upper middle class have kitchens like in the west...built in ovens etc.But what matters is the food and you seem to love it.

Susan said...

I just love all I am learning from you. I do love the idea of shopping each day for meats and vegetables, as they do in Europe also. This bread looks wonderful. I would consider the best part of a trip being in a home and living a daily life with the people of the country you are visiting. That is priceless.

Kim said...

I love bread... All types of breads. This one, looks so good to me. Have a nice day.

From the Kitchen said...

I think I've mentioned the wonderful Indian instructor that taught classes for me when I directed the cooking school. She never arrived with any pre-made herb and spice mix. Consequently, I had recipes that would sometimes contain close to 30 different ing. I had a special grinder set aside just for preparing those mixes. You are inspiring me to get out the old grinder and put some stews and curries + paratha on our table this winter!

Best,
Bonnie

Jenn said...

I have only tried paratha just recently and I agree with you...they really could make a grown man weep! Thanks for posting the recipe, I love how truly simple this is!

Angie's Recipes said...

I haven't tried paratha yet...but I like all kinds of flatbread, stuff or not...they are delicious.

Keeley said...

I've already bookmarked several recipes from your most recent travels. My husband tried paratha at an Indian restaurant and loved it... now I can make it at home!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

What a wonderful opportunity to observe the rhythms of the kitchen in a different culture. As you show, there are so many things that can be learned about how people eat and live. The paratha is beautiful. I'm continuing to experiment with breads, so I've put this on my list.

High Plains Drifters said...

the discussion of kitchen size brought back a memory of Korea. our battalion MKT (mobile kitchen trailer) was the size of the Extreme Home Make-over bus, and it took a truck-load of food to make each meal, and you had a truck-load of garbage when it was done. The ROKs (Republic of Korea army) however, cooked for the same number of people out of two pots: a huge penitentiary-sized pot of rice and a pot of stir-fried veggies. Instead of plastic plates and plastic forks, they all used their tin canteen cup and a pair of chopsticks that they all carried with. Fed the same number of folks with 1/10th the footprint and 1/100th the waste. never failed to impress me.

bellini valli said...

I would love to give these a try Mary.

Croatian_Latina said...

I have been meaning to read all your posts about your trip to India. I love their cuisine. This reminds me of the flour tortilla that is a staple in our Mexican kitchens. But what I like about this recipe is the amounts of spices and flavor.

what is ghee? and can I subtitute it for something else?

ButterYum said...

This actually sounds like a wonderfully tasty bread. I have everything but the mint - how do you think they would be without it?

Claudia said...

I don't think I've had this type of Indian flatbread - so duly noted. When my aunt and uncle lived in India they ahd all sorts of help- it seemed to be required and they were (at first) a little embarrassed by it.

kitchen flavours said...

We love parathas! This bread is extremely popular over here in Malaysia. Everyone from all races loves parathas. We eat it with some dhal curry or fish curry. Absolutely yummy! And it usually goes with a cup of "teh tarik", freshly brewed tea with milk and sugar added, and "pulled", meaning, pouring it from one cup to another, from as high as one arm can raised to the lowest the other arm can go, several times until the tea turns foamy and frothy! Delicious with parathas!

Mrs K said...

Mary,It is such a privilege to have you visit my blog:) and praise it. Just saying I love your blog would be an undersatement.Your blog is a true gem,I love the stories/food you have here and the tiger sighting brought back memories of our tiger sighting at Corbett National Park in Uttar Pradesh,India:) I am coming back for more....

Barbara said...

That looks lovely, Mary. I like the touch of mint.
Excellent post; I love reading about how people cook across the world and so often in impossible situations. We are so spoiled!

flying eagle woman said...

I LOVE this recipe...it turns out I used to actually MAKE it back in my "hippie" days (LOL not HIPPY days). Some day when I'm through all the "stuff" that's going on in my world right now I hope to share some of OUR "Indian" foods on my blog - I have to get permission actually

Foley said...

Sounds you had such a wonderful and eductional trip!! Interesting to read about their customs - especially the one where the help does not wear shoes!!
The bread look wonderful!

Faith said...

What a wonderful opportunity to stay with three different families! I really enjoyed reading about the Indian kitchen...it's so interesting to see the cuisines and customs of other cultures! The paratha looks perfect, Mary!

Sushma Mallya said...

looks perfect...yummy..

Holly said...

Wow that was very interesting! Looks yummy too:)

Joanne said...

I occasionally weep at the deliciousness of paratha. These look amazing!

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

Mary, I devoured every word of your interesting post.
What a wonderful tale of Indian culture and cusine.
The bread looks marvelous!
Yvonne

Ginny said...

This looks wonderful, almost like a pita bread but fluffier. Oh, dangerous not wearing shoes while cooking, but I guess that all has to do with the class system, sad to me.

Shivani said...

Good on you Mary, you are getting expert in Indian cooking ehhh.
Paratha looks simply delicious. W e make different versions of it on daily basis and have it with vegei or curry.

teresa said...

this is wonderful, i bet there are so many things you could do with that beautiful bread!

Chef E said...

All this Indian Food Mary- I am coming over to your house! Isn't it great how you visit a place and flavors just continue to linger...

Judy said...

I am interested in Indian cooking but haven't gotten there yet. Thanks for this post.

scrambledhenfruit said...

I'm enjoying all of your posts about your trip.:) This breadlooks wonderful!

Chef Fresco said...

Amazing trip you had. The bread looks delicious!

Josie said...

I love learning about other cultures and how they eat and cook, I love the chewiness of flatbread and especially Indian food.

My Little Space said...

Paratha is one of our local famous street food. We can easily have it at anywhere anytime. It only cost about $0.60 to $1.00 per piece over here. Making it at home is fun! Hope you're having a fabulous weekend, Mary.
Kristy

♥ Kathy said...

I am so enjoying your stories from your trip! This bread looks amazing!

Foodycat said...

These sound so good! I must try them.

Buttercup said...

So enjoyed having them for breakfast when I was in India. Just seeing the photo brought back great memories.

Sonia said...

Loved the way you described this , I cooked a version of parantha we normally eat in north India from Makki (corn meal), have a look - you might like it - http://onecreativekitchen.blogspot.com/2010/12/makki-methi-parantha.html

cheers

Sonia

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