My blog turns two today and boy am I proud. I still remember the first blog post I did. We had just moved to London from Nottingham and I was every bit apprehensive. In Nottingham, for one whole year, I never really did any major cooking. Trust me when I say this, but we would have tried out all the possible ready meals from the supermarkets, switching between the five that were near our apartment. We were staying right in the heart of the city, which meant restaurants and bars and pubs were aplenty and food was the least of our problems.
Came to London and the scene changed. Staying in Central London was out of question and so I was left with no other option but to start cooking. It was torturous initially. I mean I just couldn't handle everyday-cooking, and packing Ro lunch cos he didn't have a cafeteria at work, altogether was pretty stressful. That's when I discovered the world of blogs and decided to keep a journal so I could fall back on them instead of spending ages googling for recipes (I still end up doing so sometimes, but its reduced a lot). This food blog of mine has been of great help. When everyone holds their old recipe books or moms recipe books close to their heart saying they cant do without it, I feel the same about this food blog of mine. Its not a joke when Ro says out loud to fellow strangers that we would be doomed if we didn't have internet connection and I would not have a clue how to cook. Its sad, but true...I would be lost.
But hey, from a pathetic looking beans mezhukupuratti to aloo paratha...the journey has been fun, not to mention the wonderful blogger friends I have acquired along the way. You guys rock.
Now coming to the recipe, this is probably the first ever Indian bread recipe I'd be posting out here. Its no surprise for most you when I say I suck at the whole consistency-kneading-rolling procedure most Indian breads require, and I still buy frozen chapathis. I decided to get over my fear and tackled it one at a time...my pretty lil Kenwood Chef does the whole kneading bit beautifully, the consistency, I follow recipes that give me exact water-flour ratios and that way its quite difficult to screw up and the rolling out bit, well even if its the 'map of the world' that I started off with, I have now managed to keep it at an oval or oblong shape..much closer to a circle if you ask me.. I'm getting there peeps, I'm getting there. Although I don't think I'll ever be making chapathis on a regular basis, when I crave the occasional paneer paratha, bhatura or poori, I wouldn't be stuck.
So, do you guys remember a friend of mine Rashida, who made the Pav Bhaji?? Well as I'd mentioned before, her aloo parathas were gorgeous and I asked her if she could come over one day and show me how to make the whole thing. She agreed and so on a warm Thursday afternoon we set about making aloo parathas from scratch. She showed me how to do the whole process, which also gave me the opportunity to take step-by-step pics. I tried to grasp whatever I could and wrote down the recipe as accurately as possible. So here you go, my first ever paratha recipe:
Makes about 20 odd parathas
For the paratha dough:
Whole wheat flour (atta)- 2 1/2 cups (I used Pillsbury)
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Water- 250 ml (give or take 1 or 2 tbsp)
Oil- 2 tbsp
Salt- to taste
For the stuffing
Potatoes- 6 large potatoes
Onions- 2 medium, finely chopped
Onions- 2 medium, finely chopped
Coriander leaves- 3 tbsp, finely chopped
Mint leaves- 1 tbsp, finely chopped (optional)
Green chillies- 2, finely chopped (or to taste)
Ginger garlic paste- 2 1/2 tbsp
Black salt- 1 heap tsp (optional)
Cumin seeds- 1 1/2 tsp
Garam masala- 1 heaped tbsp
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder- 1 1/2 heaped tsp
Cumin powder- 1 tsp heaped
Chaat masala- 1 tsp
Kashmiri chilli powder- 1/2 tsp (optional)
Salt- to taste
Flour- to dust
Oil- to cook
Place the potatoes in a pressure cooker half filled with water and cook for about 5 to 6 whistles on medium heat. They should be cooked just enough to grate, not to mash. So about 6 whistles should be fine, but if you find that the potatoes haven't been cooked, put it back on the fire and pressure cook for another 4 to 5 whistles.
In the mean time, get the dough going.
Place all the ingredients for the dough in a free standing mixer with the hook attachment and knead well till you get the desired consistency, more soft and elastic, but not sticky. If you don't have a mixer, then flour the work top and knead well using your hands, for about five minutes or till the dough doesn't stick any more.
Wet a kitchen towel and keep the dough covered for at least 15 to 20 minutes.
Once the potatoes have been cooked, cool and peel them.
Grate them into a large mixing bowl. That way you make sure you don't have any lumps (very imp.)
Add the remaining items from the stuffing and mix well to combine evenly.
Make large balls out of the stuffing and place on a baking tray. Keep aside
Flour a wooden board. Take one dough ball, flatten it a bit, dip it in some flour and roll it out to a size big enough to wrap the potato stuffing. Make sure you keep the centre part a bit intact (refer pic below).
Flatten the centre part a bit, not too much, and then place the huge potato ball in the centre.
Wrap the potato ball with the dough and gather and pinch the top.
Flatten this ball, sprinkle some more flour on top and roll it out into a disc (approx. 6 inches in diameter), not too thick.
Continue this process with the remaining dough and potato balls as and when you are ready to cook.
Place a tawa on medium- high heat and once hot, place one rolled out paratha on it. Brush with some oil lightly.
You will start seeing light brown spots on the upper side at that point, flip the paratha over and oil the other side.
Continue this process till the paratha doesn't look raw any more. It should take about 2 to 3 minutes per paratha.
Place in a hot case or a pre heated oven (on low) till you finish cooking the remaining parathas.
Serve hot with some thick yoghurt and pickle of your choice.
Notes: You can also mash the potatoes, but make sure there are no hard lumps present.
I froze the paratha except for a few I was going to use the very same day. If you want to freeze it, do not oil them, instead pre cook them on medium heat for a few minutes on each side, cool on a cooling rack and store in the freezer. To remove them easily, place foil paper or baking paper in between each paratha. When you are ready to cook it, heat the tawa and follow the procedure as mentioned above, adding oil at this point.
Thin out your parathas as per your choice, If you want it thick, you might not want to roll it out into a larger circle.
These are perfect for freezing and on a day you are lazy to cook, just heat up these lil darlings and have it with yoghurt and pickle (which I'm sure most of the households would have at any time). Its a meal on its own.
The Soups book has some easy, every day soups as well as some exotic stuff, but still doesn't use fancy schmancy ingredients. Its all stuff you get at the local grocery store.
The Leftovers book (one of my personal favourites) covers anything from breads and pasta to dairy and fruit. We all have leftover stuff in our fridge at some point or the other. Turn open this book and let the ideas pour in.
Desserts (the best part of a meal, I think) have all those crumbles and pies and ice creams and jellies and just looking at the pics make me wanna keep this for myself :)
I will randomly choose a winner and will ship the books over to any part of the world (oh yeah I'm being very generous here).
Just make sure you leave your email id, or any sort of contact detail if you're not a blogger, so i can hunt you down and get the address etc. If the winner doesn't reply within 2 days, I will have to select another winner.
So comment away peeps, the giveaway closes on 5th June.