Paratha recipe – whole wheat flatbread

Paratha is one of the most common breakfasts of India, particularly popular in North India. It is a homemade flatbread usually prepared with whole-wheat flour or all-purpose flour. Paratha originated in the north of India where wheat is grown and is a traditional staple. Also called as Parantha or Parauntha, the southern Indian version is called the Parotta.

One of the most popular unleavened flatbreads, it is prepared by baking or shallow frying the whole wheat dough on a griddle or a Tava with some oil or ghee. Although it can be cooked in oil, it is traditionally fried in ghee, a type of clarified butter popular in Indian cuisine. Ghee is also used when kneading the dough and may be added directly into the dough mixture too.

plain-paratha-8

Difference between Roti and Paratha

The main difference between a Paratha and a Roti/Chapati is that the basic Roti is made out of flour and water, whereas a Paratha incorporates Ghee or Oil. There are different types of rotis based on the types of flours used, different shapes, sizes and also the procedure of baking/roasting the roti. Parathas are generally thicker than plain rotis/chapats typically because of the ingredients that are mixed in the parathas, or because they have been either been layered using ghee or oil, or stuffed with different vegetables, spices, meat etc.

Plain Paratha 6

Types of Paratha

There are basically three varieties of parathas differentiated by their method of preparation:

  • Layering

This is how a basic paratha is prepared. The dough is rolled and alternately brushed with ghee or oil and then folded repeatedly, almost like the method used for making a puff pastry. This multiple times folded dough is rolled in to a circle, oval, triangle or a square and cooked on a griddle. As the layers puff up because of the heat, you get a nice flaky paratha.

  • Mixing different ingredients while making the dough

Food ingredients such as vegetables, lentils, spices etc. are mixed in with the dough and then rolled into a circle and cooked on a griddle.

  • Stuffing

Stuffed” parathas contain an additional stuffing like cooked potatoes, cauliflower, white radish, cottage cheese, onions, peas, cooked lentils, assorted sprouts, mixed vegetables, etc. The non-vegetarian versions include stuffing made out of chicken or lamb mince, eggs, fish, etc.

Typically, a paratha can be eaten simply with a dollop of butter spread on top or with chutney, pickles, yogurt or a cup of hot tea. Some even like to roll the paratha and dip it in the tea. The best part about this staple food of India is its versatility – other than being served as breakfast, it can also be served for dinner or lunch to accompany both, vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.

Plain Paratha 10.png

The fast, busy life of today’s modern day has introduced another convenience food – “frozen” parathas that can be bought from major supermarkets. These have increased in popularity especially among those who don’t have time to cook and think making Parathas is difficult.

Preparing paratha is not that difficult and you really do not have to be an expert cook to ace it. The delightful aroma of a freshly cooked paratha is so inviting that you might end up loosing count of how many you eat! If you have never tried a paratha before, do not wait too long before you try one. If you have never cooked a paratha before, today is the day to try one!

I’ll start by sharing the recipe of a basic Paratha and eventually share different types of parathas. The number of instructions may seem a little overwhelming. I have written really detailed instructions to make sure you get it right even if it is your first time. Trust me, it is really simple to make and the result is going to be all worth the effort. Happy cooking! 🙂

Rolling the paratha:

Plain Paratha 9

Some things to note down about this recipe:

  • To achieve the perfect parathas, try not to use stale flour. Fresh flour makes the best parathas.
  • Adjust the quantity of water required for kneading the dough. Depending on how fresh or stale the flour is and what kind of flour you have, you might need a little more or less water to get to a perfect soft dough.
  • If the dough looks dry, then add some water. If the dough looks sticky, moist or gooey, then add some extra flour and knead again.
  • A big mistake while rolling is thick edges and extremely thin center. This should be avoided and the paratha should be evenly rolled to make sure it gets cooked evenly.

 

Plain Paratha
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 
Paratha is a homemade flatbread prepared with whole-wheat flour that can be served as breakfast or as a side to a vegetarian or non-vegetarian meal.
Servings: 10 parathas
Author: Soniyaa Dighe
Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour + 1/2 cup for dusting
  • 2 teaspoon Ghee melted
  • Salt as required
  • 1 cup luke warm water
  • Additional ghee or oil for layering and frying
Instructions
Preparing the dough:
  1. In a mixing bowl, mix together 2 cups of flour, salt and 2 teaspoons melted ghee.
  2. Slowly add in the luke-warm water in small quantities and knead into a soft and pliable dough. Add more water if required while kneading.
  3. Grease the surface of the dough with a few drops of oil. Cover the dough with a moist cloth and set it aside for 30 minutes.
  4. After 30 minutes, knead the dough again for a few minutes and divide it into 8-10 equal sized balls. The balls will be about the size of a lime or a golf ball. Keep the balls covered with the same moist cloth to prevent drying.
Rolling the paratha:
  1. Take one ball at a time, flatten it and dust with some flour.
  2. Using a rolling pin, roll into a circle of about 4 inches’ diameter.
  3. Spread some ghee on the rolled dough. Fold in half.
  4. Again, spread a little ghee on the folded paratha and fold in half again. You will get a twice folded triangle-shaped dough.
  5. Dust the folded triangle with some flour and roll it into a circular triangle of about 6-7 inches in diameter. Make sure the paratha is rolled evenly from all sides.
Cooking the paratha:
  1. Heat a tava or a griddle on medium heat and place the paratha on the hot tava. The paratha should be cooked on medium heat.
  2. Once you see tiny bubbles on the surface of the paratha, flip it. Turn the heat to low at this point.
  3. Apply a few drops ghee on the paratha and cook on low heat for about 30 seconds.
  4. Flip it again and apply some more ghee to the other side. Cook for about 30-40 seconds more.
  5. Continue the flipping till you see golden brown spots on both the sides. Do not apply Ghee on the subsequent flip and cook steps.
  6. Once you see some consistent golden brown spots on both the sides, the paratha is cooked and ready to be served.
  7. Continue cooking rest of the parathas in the same way.
  8. If not serving immediately, stack the parathas and keep them covered with a kitchen tissue or a cloth to avoid them from drying up. Serve the hot paratha with a dollop of ghee or butter along with some pickle, yogurt or any other main dish.

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