My parantha preparing skills are directly proportional to the number of years I have been married!
Though I always loved to savour stuffed paranthas prepared by my mom, I never bothered to try my hand at them....till i got married. One lesson cooking teaches you is that "practice makes one perfect!" And when the family is typical North Indian foodie, there is virtually no escape from cooking! Over the years, it has been an interesting journey - from joining two separate dough discs with stuffing spread between them to effortlessly managing all sort of stuffed paranthas. My heart swells with pride when my mom in law says I have become a pro with Paranthas. Finally! All married women will understand what that means coming from the MIL herself!
Being a lazy cook, one thing that gives me jitters is elaborate recipes. Often I have skipped recipes by merely glancing at the long list of ingredients. Having spent decent amount of years honing my culinary skills, I can say that a good recipe is not one involving elaborate ingredients but the right quantity of the right ingredients. For just like too many cooks spoil the broth, too many ingredients mask the flavour of the key ingredients!
Sunday breakfasts is incomplete without hot paranthas. Here's the way I prepare Aloo Paranthas, albeit my simple way, sans any elaborate ingredients.
Ingredients (for 3 adults having 2 paranthas each)
Potatoes - 3 (boiled and peeled)
Onions - 1 large (chopped coarsely)
Green chillies - 2-3
Red chilli powder - very little (as per your preference)
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Green coriander - few sprigs, finely chopped.
Salt - to taste
Asafoetida - a pinch (aids digestion)
Ajwain/Ova/Carom seeds - 1 tsp (aids digestion)
Wheat Flour - made into a medium dough. Also, some loose wheat flour for dusting
Refined Oil - for cooking
Mash boiled potatoes in a bowl. The potatoes should neither be hard boiled nor very soft as it will be a herculean task to manage the paranthas that way. A simple tip I have learnt from my mom in law is that the softness of the dough should be in perfect harmony with the softness of the stuffing to get the perfect paranthas. If the dough is too tight vis a vis the stuffing, the stuffing will escape the paranthas whereas if the dough is too soft, you will have a nightmare rolling the paranthas.
Add chopped onion, chopped green chillies and chopped coriander.
Now add the spices - salt, red chilli powder, asafoetida, carom seeds, coriander powder and mix well into a homogeneous stuffing.
Take a ball of the dough (I take a little larger than the normal ball I take for chapati, since a lot of stuffing has to be accommodated). A little larger than the size of a boondi laddoo, I would say. Roll the dough into a small circle using a rolling pin.
Place the stuffing in the centre and centre and spread a bit taking care to leave enough distance from the sides. Now the quantity of stuffing is subjective. Depends on how much stuffing can you manage without tearing the paranthas while rolling. I say, start safe and increase the quantity as you gain confidence.
Fold the sides keeping the stuffing in between. Dust some dough on the disc and with hands, press lightly to expand as much as you can.
Now, using a rolling pin, lightly roll the parantha till it reaches the side of a chapati. Take care to roll lightly, else the parantha will tear and the stuffing will escape.
Heat a tawa/griddle and place the parantha on it. Cook both sides well, smearing oil (Punjabis are very generous with oil however, I prefer low oil paranthas).
When the parantha gets a nice golden brown colour, take off the flame.
Paranthas are the most favoured North Indian breakfast. Serve with curd/raw mango pickle/Mint -Corriander chutney or just a generous dollop of homemade butter!