~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Indian Flatbread....Paratha

Indian Flatbread....Paratha. I am fascinated with breads...all sorts of bread. I really like trying different kinds of breads, especially those that you can't find so readily on the market. I was introduced to this layered flatbread on BigOven, a cooking site that I am a member of. I immediately went to work and tried it. I loved it!
Paratha is a layered flatbread. There are many versions of this bread....it all depends on the country or region. You will find this type of bread in Pakistan, Morocco, South India, China etc. Some are made into round shapes, triangular shape... and others are square. Some are folded different, but the outcome is always best when you have multiple layers of flakiness throughout the bread. The ingredients are usually the same, though you may find some versions that use only flour and water. This version uses some semolina, which I find helps in the stretching part of the dough...makes it more pliable. Some recipes include yeast... I've only tried this recipe and there are many out there. Maybe another time I will try a different version. If you've ever made Chinese scallion pancakes, this will be quite similar. This recipe required the paratha to be stretched quite thin. I don't think it is that critical(my personal observation). So, don't worry if it isn't that thin...just make sure you do the layering though. You will notice, if you stretch it quite thin, that the dough may rip on you. Just put it back together and roll it out again. Don't worry...it isn't a big deal if you have some rips. I had a ton of fun making these...and enjoyed them very much.
Update: I recently made this flatbread using some whole wheat flour for the bread flour. I used 1 cup whole wheat flour and 2 cups bread flour... with excellent results. So, if you would like to make it a bit more healthier you can definitely substitute some whole wheat flour.
Also, I noticed that if you let the dough rest, after doing the last folding turn, the dough is more manageable and easier to roll out.

You will need: adapted from BigOven
3 cups all purpose flour (I used bread flour)
1/2 cup semolina
1 tsp salt
1 cup warm water to make dough or more (I used 1 1/4 cups)
oil/melted butter, for frying & spreading*
*original recipe required 1 cup each oil and butter...I didn't use that much maybe, 1/3

Mix flour,semolina & salt.
Add 1 cup of water( warm to the touch), stir with wooden spoon until moistened.
If the dough is a bit dry add about 1 TBS water at a time until just moistened. Mine felt that it needed about 4 TBS more or about 1/4 cup. Cover the dough and let it rest for about 30 minutes.
It is at this time that you may want to clean up and get your work space ready. After the 30 minutes resting time, knead the dough for 5 minutes until smooth. I used my Kitchenaid mixer to do this job.
Divide the dough into about 9-10 dinner size rolls.
Cover with kitchen towel to prevent skin from forming. Spread about 2 TBS oil on your counter top. Take a roll of dough and place on oiled surface.
Spread into thin square sheet. Lightly brush with melted butter.
Then fold like a business letter( three sides). You should have a long rectangle.
Lightly brush with melted butter again. Fold left third to center and then fold right third to center of rectangle.
You should have a layered square....maybe the size of your palm. It is at this point that you may want to let it rest a bit.

Roll this square into a big square of 9x9 inch square( or thereabouts...doesn't have to be exact it could be smaller). The layers might move about on you a bit ...just be gentle and try to make it look like a square. If you let it rest a bit you won't have this problem. Fry on preheated griddle or in a skillet on medium/low heat. You may add some oil and butter ( about 1 TBS) in the hot skillet. I usually squirt a bit of oil from my oil dispenser and add a bit of butter to help with the browning. Place the layered paratha(bread) and let it cook until the top seems a bit dry.* Flip over and add a bit more butter/oil. Press on the bread a bit, with a spatula, so that the second side gets brown as well.
*While it is cooking, I roll out the second dough...using the same method(while keeping an eye out on the skillet:). I guess you can make them all ahead and this way you don't have to worry about watching the skillet. It might actually be better that you do them all in advance...
This bread is best eaten hot ...maybe right out of the skillet:).
I did a few parathas, where I added some chives, in the folding process. In case you would like to try this version, here are a couple of pictures.


Sailaja Damodaran said...

nice...i have never made it from scratch....i usually go for frozen...nice effort

Ellie said...

Thanks Sailaja! It must be nice to be able to find it in the freezer section...I know there are many varieties, I hope to try others:)

Jane Ma said...

Based on Chinese cuisine, the water makes huge difference for the texture of the flat bread.
hoter the water, more crispy the bread~ on the other hand, colder the water, more chewy the bread.

There are three versions in China, cold water, warm, and hot. I guess your version is cold water, the bread must turn out to be chewy.
The scallion pancake is mostly made of hot/warm water. It makes the pancake fluffy and crispy.

Ellie said...

Jane Ma,
Thanks for the great helpful information. For this bread, I used room temp. water. It wasn't really cold...it wasn't really that warm either. But, I love your explanation about the different outcomes. I will definitely file that information....actually, I would like to experiment with that next time. Thanks so much!

sadaf said...

Hi Ellie,
I've seen some of these picture on my morrocan paratha's recipe on big oven. But it was a great experience to see all with recipe and instructions and some information great job , Bravo
sadaf or sidu

Ellie said...

Hi Sadaf, Thank you for inspiring me to make this paratha...it was YOUR recipe and your beautiful step-by-step photos on BigOven that initially made me want to try it. So, Thank you!!!... Now we absolutely LOVE it!! It is on my favorites list:)~ thanks for stopping by, it was good to hear from you~Ellie