This whole project came about just because I didn't want to schlep.
See, the closest desi grocery requires both the Metro and a bus. At the same time I was tired of not having parathas and rotis to go with all the dal I was cooking up. The one time I did schlep out to the desi grocery, I bought all of these frozen breads and pickles and each meal, for a while, had dal/rice/bread/pickle/curd just like a complete meal should.
Then the breads ran out, and eventually the pickles ran out too, and there I was, trying to plan out another lengthy trip.
And then I thought "But all of those frozen Indian breads at the desi grocery are pre-packaged and probably full of preservatives. It would be so much healthier if I could make my own..."
So I sat down with my cookbook and analyzed the bread possibilities. Pooris were out because of the whole "open flame" thing; I could all-too-easily imagine myself setting my kitchen on fire. The "how to make naan without a tandoor" looked interesting, but I had no white flour on hand.
Then I read the recipe titled "Delicious, Flaky Parathas."
I think I'm a sucker for recipes with the word "delicious" in the title. The roti recipe, after all, was just called "Roti." So of course I picked the paratha recipe--and as a bonus for all of you devoted readers, photo-journaled every step.
Here we go!
Mix 3 cups white flour with 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add 5 tablespoons melted ghee and mix until it looks like coarse breadcrumbs. (I used 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour because I had no white flour; olive oil because I had no ghee.)
Add 1 cup water and knead until the dough forms a ball. (I used 2 cups because whole wheat flour needs more water than white.) Rub ball with ghee and let sit for 1/2 hour.
Divide dough into six equal parts; roll each part out flat, then roll the flat part into a tube, then coil the tube up like a snake, then rub the coil with ghee. (Does that make sense?) Cover and let sit overnight.
The next day, roll out the coils into parathas. Heat up your largest pan, pour out some oil, and cook, flipping occasionally, until both sides are bubbly and brown.
Madhur Jaffrey says a serving size is 1/4 paratha. I cut mine into thirds instead, stacked them all in-between layers of foil, and fit them in the freezer next to samosas, dal, soup, and cabbage.
Except for the one piece, of course, which I ate for dinner. ^__^
How did the parathas fare? I didn't miss the white flour, but I did miss the ghee. Oil is oil is oil in terms of its ability to create brown bubbles on a piece of bread, but I think we'll all agree that ghee tastes different than olive oil, and it was this difference that showed up after the whole thing was done.
I mean, the thing turned out fine, it tastes good, it's both flaky and delicious, but it doesn't taste right.
Which means that in a few days you should see a post about me trying to clarify my own butter. ^__^