Friday, February 15, 2013

Easy, Healthy Aaloo Parathas (Stuffed Potato Flatbreads)

Aaloo Parathas to a North Indian is what Dosa is to a South Indian. No matter where they go, they crave it...most likely the ones their Moms made0 for them.
My Mom, never made an authentic Aaloo Paratha in her life, though she is a constant inspiration when it comes to her south Indian delicacies. Her forte has always been in classic Keralite delicacies and a bunch of mouth watering non veg dishes. Her biryanis, prawn theeyals (stew with fried coconut and tamarind), and her chicken curry still brings our friends and family asking for more, being the generous, loving type that she is!
My North Indian friends, all excellent cooks have always told me about how easy its to make a Paratha but how difficult it is to make a perfect Dosa. Being raised in a home where dosa IS the equivalent of breakfast, we always ended up in an argument on which dish is harder.
Those friendly arguments gave me the inspiration to try making a Paratha at home. The healthy eater in me hated the oily, unhealthy parathas that were made traditionally by griddle frying them in ghee. But the food lover in me was hopeful that the Edible-experimenter in me would find a way to keep all personalities of mine happy. And thus was born this recipe.
I wont say this is a fat free recipe or a zero carb recipe, but making it with healthier ingredients and healthier methods, definitely makes sure you can feel fuller and stay full longer and still not be weighed down, by all that grease. Two healthy swaps: Canola Oil and Whole grain atta flour.

So here it goes:

For the dough:
4 cups of whole grain chakki atta (wheat flour)
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp salt
Water- as needed

For the Filling:-
1 lb or ~1/2 kg potatoes, boiled,  peeled and mashed finely
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp finely minced garlic
1 tsp finely minced ginger
1 tbsp finely minced green chilies
1 tbsp finely minced cilantro leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp paratha masala ( a powdered mix of dry mango, cumin, anise seed and nigella seeds)
Salt (as needed. Underseasoning is correctible, but do NOT overseason!)
1 tsp oil

1 tbsp oil
A small piece of clean cotton cloth to pat the oil onto the parathas.

Method of Preparation:-

Knead together the flour, salt, 1/2 tbsp oil and water (add gradually as needed) together until you get a fairly nonsticky, smooth and pliable dough. Use the remaining oil to pat on the dough ball all around until completely coated all around. Cover with a tight lid/ wrap in plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 mins.

In a nonstick pan, heat 1 tsp oil and saute the ginger, garlicand green chillies until tender. Add the remaining filling ingredients and mix well, until homogeneous. Cook until heated through, take it off the fire. Let it cool.

Once cooled, make about 16 balls of the mixture. Keep aside.

Return to the dough. Make 16 balls out of them. Take one dough-ball, using fingertips, gently flatten it into an oval, pinch & twist the middle to make an "8" shaped like an open sea shell. See image.

Now carefully place a ball of the filling mixture in the center and pulling on its edges, seal the filling in by crimping the edges and making it look like a closed seashell.

Make sure the filling has no way of opening to come out. It should look like this.

Now in a greased counter or rolling board, roll it out gently (only on the same side; dont flip it over.)
Try not to make it too thin, you might tear it.If it gets too sticky, use more oil, but never flour. The finer the filling mixture, the thinner your parathas will get.

Soak the small cotton cloth in the 1 tbsp of oil and keep ready.

In a hot griddle, roast the flattened paratha, and when brown spots appear on both sides, move it into a container with a tight lid. Use the oil soaked cloth to pat on the hot paratha. The patting with oil, will ensure the parathas' moisture is sealed in and soft. Keep it tightly lidded, while making the other parathas, so that the steam keeps them hot and moist until meal-time.

Repeat with the remaining dough and filling and serve them hot with hot Indian pickles and cooling sweet yogurt on the side. Enjoy!!

And if you get stuck rolling out one or even getting the dough all messed up, took me a long time to get it to (see the image above) this level. Keep at it, and it will happen soon. <3

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