Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Vegan Mofo #6 -Madhu’s Potato Stuffed Flatbread (Aloo Paratha)...

Vegan Mofo #6 -Madhu’s Potato Stuffed Flatbread (Aloo Paratha)

The Region - India
The Book - The Indian Vegan Kitchen
The Author - Madhu Gadia
The Recipe - Potato-Stuffed Flatbread (Aloo Paratha)
Page # 160
Difficulty - Easy - But time consuming
Duration - Roughly 1 hour, maybe less if you work quickly

One of my favorite things about Indian cuisine is the bread. I mean who doesn’t love warm, fluffy bread to dip into sweet/sour chutney, or to scoop up their dal and rice? Am I right? I mean I don’t know a single person that doesn’t like Naan, Roti, or Paratha. I’ve already mentioned how much I hate working with dough, but despite my aversion to dough I’ve come to realize that home-made bread-stuffs of all kinds are really the best. I mean the Naan and Paratha I get at my local Indian restaurants is great, but I’m not going to order a basket of take-out bread every time I’m in the mood for Naan. In some places you might get lucky and find Naan at your local grocery store. This seems to be a more popular item that I’m seeing more and more unfortunately vegans need to be careful as many of the store-bought naan’s are made with eggs, milk, or butter. Most of the whole wheat naan’s I’ve tried are vegan, but they just don’t fluff up the same way as restaurants or home-made flatbread. They just don’t satisfy. Roti is harder to find outside of an Indian restaurant but it’s doable, of course it doesn’t taste the same either but them’s the breaks right? As for Paratha, good luck finding that in your local grocery, and when it comes to flatbread paratha are my favorite.

Incase you didn’t know Paratha are a stuffed flatbread originating in India, and they happen to be the most popular type of unleavened bread in the Northern part of the country. Typically they’re made from frying whole wheat dough in ghee, or oil, and they can be stuffed with just about anything but potatoes, chilies, onions, paneer, cauliflower, and spices like Ajwain and coriander are the most common/popular. Potato Paratha are my absolute favorite, I don’t know about you but there’s just something so delightful about potato stuffed bread. I always order this kind of flatbread in Indian restaurants when I want something a little hardier then the standard Naan, but I’ve never made it myself.

I thought this year’s Mofo would be the perfect opportunity to try my hand at making some Potato Parathas at home. Despite my disdain for dough, and despite my epic fail the last time I tried to make Naan, I decided what the hell. Mofo is all about challenging one’s self, and going against the grain is it not? At least that’s how I feel about it. I thought making the paratha was going to be hard, I thought it would involve a lot of sweating and a lot of swearing on my part but I was surprised to find out just how easy it is. Easy - but not quick, just FYI. The dough is simply made with whole wheat flour, salt, water and vegetable oil, and my favorite part about it is that it doesn’t need to rise!

Next you make the filling by boiling the potatoes. Then you mix and mash them with the rest of the filling ingredients, including salt, cayenne, finely diced green chilies, ground coriander, and ground amchur powder. Once the filling is done you divide the dough into balls, roll each one out and scoop some filing inside. Next you seal the ball, flip it over and gently use your rolling pin to roll it into whatever shape you like. Circle, oval, square etc.. mine are kind of oval shaped and I wasn’t too picky about getting them perfect because I was just happy they weren’t giving me much trouble.

In the end the dough stuck to the surface of the counter a little more then the recipe suggested it would, so I had to use more flour during the process, but overall this was a pretty easy process. Once the paratha are rolled out you fry them for a couple of minutes a side in a lightly oiled cast iron skillet and BAM! Done! Amazing, amazing home-made paratha.

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