One day I was thinking “What is the most important part of my food? Is it the delicately spiced curry, sabzi or daal? Is it the potpourri of pickles and chutneys? What is it, whose absence will make my plate incomplete?” And the answer was a simple roti or paratha.
In Indian cuisine, we don’t often celebrate our breads as much as we do our curries or biryanis. Paratha or roti is simply faded into background as an essential accompaniment. But the truth is, no matter how good the subzi or the curry is, it is transformed into a great meal only when there is a good paratha or roti to eat with.
I am attempting to bring the humble plain paratha into focus today. No fancy stuffing, no refined flour (maida) just simple, traditional and healthy whole wheat paratha recipe (with step by step photos!), which can even turn a simple bowl of yoghurt into a meal. I add a few more grains to make it healthier, you can use multigrain atta or create your own by mixing different kinds of flour.
Plain Paratha (Flat Indian Bread)
By Ashima Goyal Siraj
Preparation time: |Cooking time: |Serves: 2-3
1.5 cups whole wheat flour (+1 cup for dusting)
1/4 cup jowar flour (Soghum millet)
1/4 cup ragi flour (Finger millet)
1/2 cup yoghurt
Salt to taste
1 tsp ajwain seeds
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
4 tbsp ghee (clarified butter) for cooking
- In a large mixing bowl, combine together the flour, salt, ajwain seeds and red chilli powder. Whisk the yoghurt and add to the flour. Mix well with your hands. Add lukewarm water slowly to knead the flour into a soft dough. Cover with a damp cloth and keep aside for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, knead the dough again for about 5 minutes. I have learned this from my grandma — the more you knead the dough, the softer your bread will be. So no shortcuts on this one!
- Divide the dough into 6-8 portions and make balls.
- Dust one ball with some dry flour and roll out into a round paratha of about 6-8 inches in diameter.
- Heat a flat pan/tawa. Place the paratha on the hot tawa and roast for half a minute. Flip and brush the top with a little ghee (or oil). Flip again and brush other side too with a little ghee.
- Continue to roast till both sides are evenly browned. Repeat with remaining dough balls.
- Serve hot with yoghurt spiced with a little red chilli powder, cumin powder and salt.
Here’s a step-by-step photo guide to making the parathas. I could not click photos while kneading the dough but it’s like for any other bread that you make.