We are super excited about our upcoming A Little Yumminess Around the World Camp at 18 Reasons. We are going to be traveling from India to Japan, Middle East to Scandinavia and ending with a Mexican taco fiesta. To prepare, we have been experimenting with our kids (much to their delight) and not much beats making Indian paranthas with kids.
Parantha is an Indian flatbread made of atta (semi-hard wheat, also know as durum wheat) and oil or ghee. It a a crispy, flaky, layered flatbread, which almost everyone loves and is made by pan frying rolled out dough on a griddle. Paranthas can also be stuffed with vegetables such as spiced potatoes, leafy vegetables and paneer (Indian cheese). Ours are going to be turned into Kathi Rolls which are a street food originating from Kolkota in India. To make a kathi roll, the plain parantha is rolled up, and can be filled with a variety of fillings from kebabs, cooked vegetables, paneer and pretty much anything that catches your fancy. The making and the eating were both a super hit with the kiddos.
A messy project, but well worth the effort. Guaranteed all little ones will love it – it’s that kind of dish. The recipe is a bit long, but very well-written and clear, courtesy of Suvir Saran from his Cookbook, Indian Home Cooking. There is a YouTube video at the end of the recipe, by masalacheff that you can watch, if you need a visual guide.
Paranthas by Suvir Saran
- 1 cup whole wheat flour plus one cup unbleached all purpose flour, or 2 cups chapatti flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 to 1 ¼ cups water
- All purpose flour for rolling
- Vegetable oil for rolling and cooking
Mix the flour(s) and salt in a large bowl.
- Add ½ cup of the water to the flour mixture and mix with one hand to combine. Add another ¼ cup of water and mix again. Continue adding water, a little at a time, until the dough forms a ball. (This should take about a cup of water).
- Then, knead the dough vigorously on a clean, unfloured surface until the dough is moist, soft and slightly sticky, but doesn’t cling to hands or work surface. If the dough is dry, dip your fingers into some water and knead the water into the dough.
- Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover with a clean damp towel pressed directly on the surface, and let rest for at least 10 minutes, and for up to 30 minutes.
- When the dough has rested, set out a bowl of all purpose flour on your work surface, along with a small bowl of oil with a spoon. Lightly flour your work surface.
- Break off a dough the size of a golf ball. Toss it first in the bowl of flour and then roll between the palms of your hands to make a ball. Set the ball on your work surface and flatten into a 2 inch disk. Now roll the disk, flouring the work surface and the dough round as needed, into a thin round 5 to 6 inches in diameter.
- Use the back of a spoon to coat the top of the dough round with a little oil. Sprinkle the round with flour.
- Place the point of a small knife in the center of the round and cut down to make a slit from the center to the edge of the dough round.
- Then, starting with one side of slit and working your way around the center, roll the dough into itself to form a cone.
- Pick the cone up, place it pointed side down in the palm of your left hand, and squash it into a disk with your right hand.
- Lightly flour the work surface again. Roll out the disk to a round 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Pat it between your hands to brush off the excess flour.
- Put the parantha on a plate and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. Continue in the same way to roll out the remainder of the dough into paranthas and stack them on the plate with sheets of plastic wrap between them.
- Heat a griddle or frying pan, preferably cast iron, on medium high heat.
- Place a parantha on the ungreased heated griddle or in the pan and cook until the dough darkens slightly and you see bubbles begin to form underneath the surface of the dough, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Now flip the parantha with a spatula and cook until you see bubbles form again.
- With the back of the spoon, coat the top of the parantha with oil. Flip and coat the other side with oil.
- Now continue cooking, pressing gently on the bread with the back of a spoon and moving the spoon around in a circular motion to press the bread onto the pan for even browning.
- When the bottom of the bread has browned, flip and repeat. Do this a few times until both sides of the paranthas are golden brown and very crisp, 2 to 3 minutes total.
- Remove the parantha from the pan and serve immediately.