Parathas. For those of you who know what they are, you’re all sighing in contentment. This easy bread is a great way to finish off cooking a meal without having to do any work. And if you have an Indian husband lurking near your kitchen, you can probably put him to work “making” them for you. I will be using them in other recipes, so I thought I’d dedicate a post to them today so you have the basics in what they are an how to make them.
What are they? Parathas are an Indian bread that is similar to naan. You can make them from scratch, but here in the States, pre-made frozen ones are very popular. They are smaller than the naan you get in a restaurant. The come in plain, whole wheat or stuffed. You can heat some up to take the place of rice in different
meals. Or, if you are Arvind, they are the meal. The first meal he made me was parathas, Indian pickle (lime chutney, carrot chutney, etc) and shrikhand (a sweet, strained yogurt). Yeah, he went all out. But I was hooked. The puffy consistency pulls you in and they have just enough flavor that they are good on their own, but can also go along with a ton of different dishes. Arvind is a fan of Swedish meatballs and parathas.
What is up with the different types? Plain and whole wheat parathas are the basics. they’ll go with anything. But they do make them stuffed with potatoes, cauliflower, onion, or my new favorite – fenugreek (methi). The stuffed ones are a bit more substantial and can be coordinated with your other dishes.
How do I make them? This is the easiest part. You will need a non-stick pan. We use a 2-burner griddle (aka “the paratha pan” in our house). That is it. No oil, butter or ghee. Just a pan and some heat. The parathas come in 5 in a pack (or multiple 5-packs in a larger bag). They gave sheets of plastic between them. You take out as many as you want while heating up your pan over medium-high heat. I usually am too impatient for the pan to heat up and as soon as it is warm, I toss on the parathas. They will look like a frozen tortilla. Using thongs, a spatula or wooden spoon, flip the paratha frequently as it melts and then starts to cook. As it gets closer to being done, you’ll see brown spots on it. When it puffs up and has some nice brown spots, you’re done. You can make the next one. We keep them in a tortilla warmer to keep on the table because you want to keep them nice and warm. They aren’t great reheated.
Of course they come from the Indian grocery store. They are in the freezer section. Our freezer section has a bewildering array of them, but the nice thing is that they are pretty risk-free in trying out different flavors, but definitely start with the plain ones to get a feel for them.
Click on pictures to make them bigger. Enjoy!