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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Aloo ke Parathe ban ke taiyaar hein… Sound of everybody running………………………………………

Flavorful mashed potato stuffed fried flat-bread-the classic Aloo Paratha

Now if you haven’t tried this reader, yes I am talking to you, you have missed something amazing and until you try it you can’t even guess what you are missing! Once you make them or try them somewhere you will make them again n again or go back to them time n time again. Yes they are indeed so lovely.

                                                              Hearty potatoes treated in the healthiest way, boiled, flavored with herbs, onion and spices and stuffed inside flat bread which then shallow fried on a pan and they are a heavenly delight to eat. Eating them is such a fulfilling experience in it.

                                            A classic Indian staple dish that has stood the test of time and has made numerous men, women, children n dogs(;)) happy throughout hundreds of years and will keep on doing so. Aloo is potato in Hindi, Urdu n Bengali, in Marathi it is Batata. Undoubtedly one of the most popular breakfast or snack dishes served in homes across the western, central and the northern part of the Indian sub-continent. They are mostly served with yogurt or chutney of mango/radishes/mix-vegetables/tomato or with butter. To eat them hot while the blob of butter melts on their surface is a sight to watch and to eat! So often these flat-breads/parathas are fried in butter and then again served with butter! But also they are equally delicious fried in vegetable oil. Eating them with lots of butter day by day has its own effects on you…you can get fat! How will I forget to tell you they are simply amazing with tomato ketchup! Sometimes I add a touch of chaat masala in the tomato ketchup and it is mouth watering. The combination with yogurt is also to cherish, lovely creamy yogurt adds tang and so refreshing.  With chutneys it’s a beautiful moment. Now tell me that you are making them tomorrow.

                                                                                                      Potato is such a beautiful vegetable, healthy, nutritious and amazingly versatile! No wonder they are a staple food across many nations. We can have them in breakfast, lunch, dinner, in between meals and they are used both in savory and sweet dishes. Of all the stuffed fried breads found across the corners of India, I think aloo paratha is the most popular; the other popular ones will be mooli paratha, paneer paratha and recently cheese paratha.

                                                             If you are making them for the first time, which you must do, you can find them a bit challenging, like every new thing. Making the dough is easy, preparing the mashed potato is easy, when it comes to stuffing the mashed potato into the dough and rolling them out, it becomes challenging. All you need is soft hands, a bit of delicacy and a dose of confidence. That’s all n you are literally ready to roll.

                                                                                                                                                                         Once the mashed potato and the dough is done, you take a ball of dough , flatten it, make a dent in it and then stuff them with the mashed potato and then enclose the mashed potato with the dough, it will like a ball of dough with mashed potato inside it. All you need next is a soft hand when you roll them, because if you with heavy hand you will be spilling the potato mixture from the dough from everywhere. Remember that the mashed potato is very soft, so handle them softly.

Now I will tell you about the recipe, get ready with you rolling pin.

For The Recipe: You will need

For the Mashed Potato
4-5 medium potato in skin, halved and put a cross mark on top of both the halves with knife
Water to boil the potatoes
1 tbsp of salt
I medium onion, finely chopped
2 green chilies, finely chopped
1 tbsp of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp of Cumin seeds
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste
1 tsp of oil

For the Dough
200 gm plain flour or 100 gm of whole-wheat flour+100 gm of plain flour
Pinch of salt
85-90 ml of water
1 tsp of vegetable oil

For Frying
Around 2 tbsp of oil for each paratha/flat bread

1. Let’s make the dough first, mix the 2 flours if using 2 flours, then add the salt, 1 tsp vegetable oil and rub it in the flour, make a well in the center and add half of the water in the well, then slowly incorporate the flour, add half of the remaining water and do the same, then add the rest of the water and make the whole dough come together.  Start kneading the dough from this point until the dough becomes smooth n elastic which will take about 6-8 minutes. The dough will be moderately tight, not very soft neither very stiff. When the dough is smooth, divide the dough in 4 balls, smooth them out , then place them in a bowl, sprinkle 1 tsp of vegetable oil on them, coat them in the oil n rest them for 30 minutes.

2. Wash the potatoes, then cut them in half across the length, then with the knife put shallow cross mark on the top of all the halves, then heat the water in pan, add salt in the water and add the potatoes. After about 10 minutes check with the knife, if the knife goes smoothly inside the potatoes, they are done. Drain the water, cool them in normal water, then peel the potatoes and then smash them with a fork.

3. Put a pan on low heat, add the whole cumin seeds and toss them in the pan for about 2 minutes, then put them in a mortal n pestle and grind them to a powder, put the black pepper corns in the heat for 1 minute and similarly grind them.

4. Add 1 tsp of vegetable oil in the pan and put it on medium heat, when the oil is hot add the chopped onion, the chopped green chilies and toss them for 2 minutes, reduce the flame to low, add the chopped coriander leaves, give them 1 minute, add a little salt to them, then add the mashed potato in the pan and mix everything well. Next add the crushed cumin powder, the crushed black pepper, salt to taste and mix well, give them 3 minutes in low heat in the pan, take them out in a bowl and let it cool.

5.  Now when the dough has rested for about half an hour, on a dry surface sprinkle some flour, then pick one ball of dough and sprinkle that ball with a little flour and cover it lightly with flour, then place it on the surface and press gently with your palm to flatten it slightly with your three tallest fingers. After that pick that flatten ball in your palm and start pushing the dough along the circumference to the center with your thumb while you go around doing that all across the circumference. What you are basically doing is creating a little dent in the middle region of the ball by pushing the dough and stretching the dough around the sides towards the center. This dent will be the space for the stuffing.

6. So pick about 1 tbsp of the mashed potato stuffing and place it in the dent, put such an amount that you still have about 1 inch side above it, now with your fingers stretch the sides slightly and put all the sides together so that the stuffing is covered, now twist the gathered edges lightly to seal them, then press the twisted edges on to the ball so that it again looks like a leveled flatten ball. Here the images will help you understand.

7. Now is the time for soft hands, a crucial point. Place the ball back on to the  floured surface and press lightly with your hands to flatten it even more, then with your rolling pin do the same, press on it gently to flatten it uniformly, then start rolling with a very light hand and give it a round shape. Don’t try to roll this ball very thin because in that case the stuffing will tend to leak from the sides. So roll it to a thickness when the stuffing is just about to come out, it will be around 1 cm thickness when this will begin to happen. Stop there and aloo parathas are always thick simple because they have stuffing. Do the same with the rest of the dough balls.

8. Put a pan on medium heat and let it get hot, don’t let it get very hot, when the pan is moderately hot, place on paratha on the pan and put I tbsp of vegetable oil on the surface and with the back of a spoon smear it, then flip that side over so that it begins to fry, take 1 tsp of butter and place on top of the paratha while the lower side is getting fried.  After about 2 minutes the lower side will be starting to brown. Keep the heat medium and let it develop some brown color, then flip it over and let this side also get light brown. Once done take it off the pan and do the same with the other parathas. Done!

Since they are very hot give them some minutes and then jump in, tear them off and eat them warm. Aren't they just amazingly yummy? I know, I know…..Bon appétit.

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