Indian Cooking – Methi Paratha

I blocked off a cold & wintry afternoon for my third try at making paratha. Cold & Wintry wasn’t a requirement, just a perpetual condition of Toronto in February. When it’s -25C outside, it’s a good time to inhale warm and tropical spices.

My assignment is Lachcha Meethi Paratha. Paratha means flatbread, lachcha means layers and meethi is another way to spell methi which is also known as fresh fenugreek.

As you can guess, lachcha paratha is a flakey flatbread. Similar to puff pastry and croissants, the layers are made by laminating fat between sheets of dough. Unlike pastry, this is done by painting melted butter on the dough before rolling it up and twisting it into snail type ball. The ball is then rolled out again and cooked on a hot grill or skillet. The lamination process is hard to describe, here’s what it looks like.

Laminating paratha is much easier than laminating pastries AND there’s a lot less fat. The first time I made croissants I was shocked at the 1: 1 ratio of butter to dough. Unlike parathas the objective was to keep the layers of solid butter in tact before baking. That translates to a lot of heavy duty beating and rolling with the rolling pin. Can you imagine what the kitchen lab sounded like with sixteen student bakers pounding away at their dough?!

Of course the end results are different for laminating enriched doughs versus flatbreads. However, there’s as much delight in tucking into a freshly baked paratha. It is tender and soft on the inside, crispy on the outside with toasty flakes of pastry crumbling with each bite.

Parathas are best enjoyed with a tasty curry and lots of gravy. For this time around I planned for maximum time ( and lower stress) on paratha making. For the main, I cooked an easy Chickpea Curry which could sit and wait until all the parathas were done. It was a pretty good meal. Good enough to forget about the wintry cold outside.

Overall, I was pleased with the results of my third try at paratha making. It was much improved from #1 and better than #2. I gave myself a B+ for Better than Before.

Is paratha making something you’d like to do? Are you an expert paratha maker? If so, I’d love to hear hints and ideas.

23 Comments

  1. Wow!
    Just simply wow!
    You definitely proved me wrong about my assumption of 5th or 6th try, Sandy.
    This is really amazing and I’m pretty amazed by what you have done here.
    Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, giving you a crunchy + tender mash-up of wonderfulness.
    Chickpea curry is certainly the perfect combo with paratha. You can also try green or red chili sauce with them, as a snack. You can also roll them with bite sized meat, onions and tomatoes for paratha rolls.
    B+ is the rightful grade you gave yourself here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As Ju-Lyn points out, this technique is also used in making Chinese Scallion pancakes. There’re two ways that I know of to do this. One is with pleated folds. The other is by rolling it up. Have fun trying them out.

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  2. Thanks for alerting me to the fact that I am consuming so much butter with my breakfast croissant – mind you, I don’t add butter or jam or anything else to it. Plain and fresh is the best way to eat it. Paratha looks delicious too and I would eat version 1,2 and #3! #2 looks the best to me, but it is all about the eating, isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you’re going to eat it, you should enjoy it!
      That’s why I restrain my croissant binges to really really good ones

      I didn’t say, but #2 was a less technically challenging paratha. It was a regular flatbread (like a tortilla wrap) and didn’t have layers. It’s challenge was the lack of guidance on water. Now that I’ve done this a couple times, I have a better idea of what to look for. Much like your pastry recipe.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Freaky weather all around!
      Parathas are like flour tortillas, same principle, different countries. I’m not sure if there’s a flakey version of tortillas though.

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  3. Looks fabulous! I have made parathas before and it’s certainly way easier than making croissants. Indeed I often make Indian flatbreads, typically naan, to go with our Friday night curries.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do you make your naan with yeast or baking powder? The next recipe I have uses baking powder and yogurt but lets it ‘proof’ at room temperature for 2 hours. It’s an unusual approach and I’m keen to try it.

      Liked by 1 person

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