Friday, July 17, 2009

Bake Like An Indian!

One of the most common types of bread found in the worlds different cuisines is the simple non leaved griddle cooked variety. From the Mexican tortilla to the Indian chapatti what these breads all have in common is their simple fast preparation which makes them great for fast family dinners or lunches.

One of my favorite breads to serve guests at an Indian meal is the paratha. It goers with anything, Indian or otherwise, is great for sopping up sauces, veggies and the like and can even be used to wrap around Indian style spiced ground meat at a barbecue.
To make parathas like a pro all you need is flour, water, a little vegetable oil , salt and a griddle.
Start off with a good quality flour or as the Indians call it, Atta. Get a good chapatti flour at any Asian or Indian market, or you can order it online . If you can't locate any, use a good quality whole wheat pastry flour . Your paratha flour should be finely milled and soft for a more tender bread.
To Start off get a large bowl and add
1.) 3 cups of flour
2.) 4 1/2 Tablespoons of oil
3.) 3/4 teasp of salt
Get in there with you fingers and mix it up so you have a moist blend of flour salt and oil.
4.) Add about 1 cup and 1/4 of warm water. Add it gradually till you get a nice soft dough.
5.) Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead it, till it's pliable and soft and a little shiny.
I usually knead mine for about 10 minutes.
6.) roll it into a large ball and set it in a bowl.

Cover the surface of the bowl with a dishtowel that's been soaked in warm water and wrung out. You want to keep your dough moist. leave it for about an hour . Just set the bowl aside in a warm safe corner of your kitchen till you're ready for it.

Now to make parathas.
7.) pinch off a small ball of dough
8.) Roll it out on a floured surface. It should resemble a tortilla in shape and size.

9.) heat a flat griddle on the stove. brush it with a little oil. When it's nice and hot slap your paratha down onto it. It'll cook up fairly quickly.

10.) Brush the side that's face up with a little oil and then turn the paratha over.
it'll start to brown and puff up like a little pillow..when it does that it's done!

I usually stash my parathas in a tortilla keeper to keep them warm while I'm cooking them all up..or you could wrap them in foil and pop them into a just warm oven.
This recipe will serve about 8 people depending on the size of the parathas you roll out. If you have any left over dough. Roll it in a ball and pop it in a freezer bag for next time.


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