These are the easiest thing EVER. My friend Satjeet made cauliflower ones for the Indian brunch we had, and I was amazed by how easy they were. Parathas are stuffed Indian flatbreads – like roti, but with vegetables and spices and yumminess. Inspired by Satjeet, I made some of my own. I used Manjula’s video to help with the process, so maybe you want to, too!
This is a really unglamourous photo, but I was drinking wine while I made them, so I hope you will forgive me. My whole world was blurry, in fact, not just this photo.
1 cup flour (white, whole wheat, or a mix)
1/2 cup water
For the filling:
1 bunch fresh spinach
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
1/2 white onion, sliced into thin rounds
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tsp ground cumin
Salt, to taste
Oil, for brushing
Mix the flour and water together until it forms a soft dough. Knead the dough on a lightly oiled or floured surface; oil your hands so the dough doesn’t stick. Knead it until it’s soft and pliable – a few minutes. Return to the bowl and cover with a cloth; let it rest for ten minutes.
Shred the spinach and cilantro, and mix with the rest of the filling ingredients. You can get creative here – add whatever you want – or keep it simple. You could add mashed potato, cauliflower, ginger, whatever. Be liberal with your salt. Throw it all in a frying pan on medium-low heat; your goal is to cook as much of the water out of the spinach as possible. Wilt it and let it steam a bit, then remove it into a metal strainer or colander with small holes and use the back of a wooden spoon to press all the liquid out. Be merciless! The more water you press out of the filling, the better your parathas will be.
Now, you should have roughly similar volumes of dough and filling. Split the dough into 6 evenly sized balls; it works best to split it in half, then in three. Roll each chunk of dough into a ball on a floured surface.
Now, flouring your surface as you go, take one of the dough balls and roll it out so it’s a bit bigger than the palm of your hand (assuming you have average-sized hands). Spoon about a sixth of the filling in – again, it should be roughly the same volume as your dough ball. Pull the sides of the dough up and pinch it closed like a dumpling, or, like, a handkerchief in which you have enclosed marbles. Make sure it’s sealed and set aside.
Repeat for all 6 dough balls. It’s best if the balls sit for a few minutes.
Heat a non-stick frying pan up on medium-high. You want the pan to be hot before you use it. Roll one of the filled balls out until it’s as flat as you are prepared to make it – if filling spills out the edges, it was probably a bit wet, but no loss. Dry-fry it until the edges start to change colour, then flip it. Brush the cooked side with oil, and when the bottom is done, flip again, let it cook a bit with the oil on, then remove to a plate covered in paper towel or non-paper towel.
Repeat this with all 6 parathas. You can roll the next one out while the first one is cooking, and so on. It’s a very fast process once you get going.
These are best eaten hot, spread with Earth Balance or dipped in chutney or homous. We used them as “buns” for some masala veggie burgers we got at TJ’s in San Francisco – super delicious.