I have a confession to make. I lied in my previous post when I said summer was here. For me summer is all about salads, bbq charred meats and grilled fish, light curries and refreshing drinks. Although now comfort food is warming my senses and now more than ever I’m dipping in and out of it.
So while I crank up the heating ever so slightly and hear the rain lashing down the window pane I know nothing will cheer this rather glum day like ‘Parathas’. I mean who doesn’t like Indian flat bread stuffed and fried in butter! Brings back those childhood memories of monsoon with a chill in the air and the smell of buttery parathas wafting through my mum’s kitchen. Mum had a rule when she made them; we had to eat it ‘garam garam’. I have to agree with her; freshly made parathas are flaky, crisp around the edges with melted butter and stuffed on the inside with a moist spicy filling. And just had to be scoffed straight off the piping hot pan. I’d break a piece of paratha and scoop up some yoghurt on the side; with a helping of tangy pickle or even some chutney this truly made monsoon or even winters feel much more special.
Unleavened Indian bread is cooked across households in India and commonly eaten for breakfast as well apart from any other times of the day. There are lots of recipes for parathas including a variation of fillings that they can be made with. My favourite is with spiced potatoes and also paneer/ Indian cottage cheese. Both of which I cook regularly. Other fillings include mooli/ radish, kheema or even mint. I have also made parathas with rice previously which were delicious! Most vegetable can be used as stuffing and it’s something my mother always did when there were any leftovers.
So that’s just what I did leftover Gobi/ Cauliflower. Grated, spiced and cooked. Stuffed, layered in flat bread and fried in butter. The smells of spiced cauliflower cooking through the bread is addictive! I have used dried pomegranate powder in my recipe for the added tangy flavour in the paratha. If you aren’t able to get any at your local Asian grocers, make sure to check out my spice guide and where you can buy it online.
For the dough;
300gms chapatti flour (a little extra for dusting)
Salt to taste
Small bowl of melted butter or ghee
For the stuffing;
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Pinch of asafoetida
1 tsp ajwain/ carom seeds
1” ginger grated
1 green chilli finely chopped (or more if prefer it spicy)
½ tsp mild chilli powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp anardana/ dried pomegranate powder
Salt to taste
Fresh coriander chopped for garnish
Butter for frying
In a bowl, sift the flour and salt together. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter or ghee and enough water to form a soft dough. Knead well for 5-7minutes until smooth. Wrap in cling film or cover with a damp cloth and rest the dough while you make the filling.
To make the stuffing; cut the cauliflower into large florets and grate on a coarse grater in a large bowl. You can also coarsely grind in a mixer/ grinder if you prefer.
Heat oil in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Add the asafoetida and let it sizzle for 2-3 seconds. Now add the carom seeds, grated ginger and chopped chillies. Fry for a further minute on medium heat and add the grated cauliflower along with all the powdered spices except the dried pomegranate powder. Season to taste. Stir well and cook on a low heat with the lid on for 12-15 minutes stirring halfway through until the cauliflower has softened. Add the pomegranate powder and fresh coriander, cook for a further couple of minutes. Turn the heat off and let the mixture cool before making the parathas.
Now divide the dough into equal portions. Flatten the dough ball and roll out on a lightly floured surface to a 6cm disc. Add the cauliflower filling to the disc, pulling the edges together, seal well and flatten.
Heat your flat griddle pan or frying pan. Dip the encased dough in dusting flour and roll out again into a 9cm circle. Dust off the excess flour from the paratha and place it on the hot pan. Cook for 15 seconds or so until brown speckles appear underneath. Smear the top of the paratha with a little melted butter using the back of a spoon. Now turn over to cook the other side and add some more butter on the top side. Cook until there are brown speckles on the base as well. Serve warm with yoghurt and choice of some pickle.