Paratha is a style of flatbread that originates in the Indian subcontinent. The word paratha is an amalgamation of the words parat (a large plate for mixing dough) and atta (a type of flour), which literally means layers of cooked dough, says Wikipedia. The great thing about this bread is how easy it is to make.
“If making bread has long intimidated you, start here. Parathas come in many shapes, textures, and flavours across Asia,” says Priya Krishna, “they’re perfect for dipping into dals and stews or eating alongside assorted condiments.”
This simple Aloo Parathas recipe is inspired by Priya’s aunt Rachna: it’s a basic wheat-based dough stuffed with silky spiced potatoes. The result is a delicious, nourishing and quick vegetarian dish that’s often eaten for breakfast (brunch? Sure, why not!) or as a snack. You’ll want to make it over and over again!
Chef’s Tip: Eat the aloo paratha on its own or try it with a side of tangy achar (a South Asian pickle) and/or yogurt for dipping.
Cookware, Tools and Utensils
This is the kitchen equipment that you’ll need to make this recipe.
- Fork (or another pointy thing)
- Chef knife
- Fruit/vegetable peeler
- Pastry brush
- Potato masher (or a large fork or spoon)
- Microwave-safe bowl
- Mixing bowls–small and medium
- Cutting board
- Measuring cup
- Measuring spoon(s)
- Mortar and pestle (or a heavy object for bashing)
- Frying pan (aka skillet)–medium
2 medium russet potatoes (10–12 oz)
1 cup whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting
¼ tsp plus ¼ cup vegetable oil
½ tsp kosher salt, divided
½ tsp fennel seeds
1 small handful of cilantro
¼ tsp red chilli powder
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (optional)
Chef’s Tip: To give your aloo paratha a bit of a kick, add ¼ cup grated cheddar cheese to each potato ball before you roll them into the whole wheat dough.
1. Scrub 2 medium russet potatoes (10–12 oz), then pat dry. Pierce each potato 5 times on each side with a fork, then microwave in a microwave-safe bowl for 10 minutes, turning over halfway through. (Alternatively, place potatoes in a large saucepan without pricking and pour in water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook for 20-25 minutes until a fork easily pierces the flesh. Drain, rinse under cold running water, and let cool for 10 minutes.)
2. Peel potatoes (it’s best to do this when they are cool enough to handle but still fairly hot). Transfer to a medium bowl and mash with a potato masher, fork, spoon, or your hands until mostly smooth. Measure out 1½ cups and transfer to a small bowl. If you have any extra, save for filling samosas or pierogi.
3. Mix 1 cup whole wheat flour, ¼ tsp vegetable oil, ¼ tsp kosher salt, and ½ cup room temperature water in a medium bowl to combine, then knead until dough is smooth and no dry bits remain. Wrap in plastic (a bowl with a tight-fitting lid will also work) and chill for 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, finely crush ½ tsp. fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle or crush on a cutting board with a heavy object (like a cast-iron skillet) to as close to a powder as you can get. Chop 1 small handful of cilantro.
5. Using a fork, mix ground fennel, ¼ tsp red chilli powder, 2 tbsp chopped cilantro, and the remaining ¼ tsp kosher salt into mashed potatoes in a small bowl. Use a fork to break up any lumps; your aim is to get potatoes really smooth. (the dough will be hard to roll if the potatoes aren’t smooth enough). Divide into 4 equal portions and roll into balls.
6. Divide dough into 4 equal portions and roll into balls. Dust the work surface with flour and coat each dough ball in flour. Roll each ball into a 6″ circle, dusting with more flour if needed.
7. Working one at a time, place a potato ball in the center of a dough circle and bring sides of dough up and over the ball like you’re enclosing a parcel, gathering edges at the top. Pinch together to seal. (Make sure it’s sealed well, otherwise the filling will spill out during the rolling process.) Turn the ball sealed side down and roll out to an 8″ circle.
8. To cook one paratha, pour ¼ cup vegetable oil in a small bowl. Heat a medium skillet over medium. Brush a paratha with 1½ tsp oil and carefully place, oil side down, in the pan. (The easiest way to move parathas to the pan is to drape over your palm; this will keep them from losing their shape.) Cook for 2 minutes, brush the top side with 1½ tsp oil and turn over. Continue the process of brushing and turning until both sides are golden brown, 2 or 3 more times. Repeat with the remaining paratha.