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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Aloo Paratha {Bread Baking Babes}

Aloo Paratha from
My paratha rolling needs perfecting.  To say the least.  These whole wheat flatbreads are stuffed with a spicy potato filling that was bound and determined to find its way out.  Oh, and I should probably mention that there wasn't actually any whole wheat flour in my parathas.  There was meant to be, but since I found myself attempting these very last moment (as in, this morning), I was unable to zip to the market to pick up another bag of whole wheat flour when I discovered that weevils were making a home in mine.

So, I went through every bag of flour that I had tightly rolled, but not put inside a container or zippered baggie.  This morning I threw out 3/4 of a bag of white whole wheat flour, half a bag of regular whole wheat flour, 1/2 bag of buckwheat flour, a whole box (minus a tablespoon or so) of cornstarch, 3/4 of a bag of masa harina, a box of rice flour, and a 1/4 of a bag of cake flour.

I was left with all-purpose flour that I have in an airtight jar, plus a bag of unopened bread flour.  I'm praying that those nasty little things didn't find their way into that unopened bag.  It seems to be sealed pretty tightly, so hopefully it's good.

Before you start shaking your finger at me... I know, I know.  I actually DO know better.  I just got lazy.  I hadn't seen weevils in years, so I erased them from my mind.  I have now added a dry bay leaf to even my airtight jars, and will be sure to drop one inside any bag, box, or container of flour or starch going forward.  Bay leaves are supposed to help keep them bay, if you will.
Aloo Paratha from
So yes, I didn't really have much choice when it came to the flour I used in my paratha dough; 100% all-purpose it was.  But back to my initial point - I could not get the filling to stay inside the dough to safe my life.

I found that it worked best to keep the initial "roll out" slightly thicker than 1/4-inch.  Use a scant 2 tablespoons of filling.  Press and pat out as best, and as gently, as you can before attempting the final "roll out".  Initially, I thought it would be the middle that I'd have to worry about, but it was always the outer edges that wound up bursting.

In the end, I was able to keep more filling in than out, but I want to go back for another round.  I will master the art of keeping all of the filling inside.  And then - a thicker layer of filling.  It's good to have goals.

Aloo Paratha
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Aloo Paratha from
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 1 hour (mostly unattended)
Cook Time: 5 minutes per paratha
Keywords: bread snack vegetarian potatoes Indian

Ingredients (approx 10)
    for the dough:
    • 1-1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
    • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour + more as needed
    • 1 teaspoon ajwain, ground with a mortar and pestle
    • big pinch of salt
    • 3/4 cup water
    • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or another neutral oil) + more for brushing
    for the filling:
    • 12 ounces russet potatoes
    • 1-2 jalapeños (red or green), seeded and minced
    • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
    • 1 teaspoons roasted ground coriander
    • kosher or sea salt, to taste
    • ground white pepper, to taste
    to serve:
    • melted butter
    • chutney
    • plain yogurt
    making the dough:
    Stir the flours, ajwain, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add water and oil, stir with a wooden spoon until mixture looks shaggy, then finish kneading into a dough with your hand until smooth and pliable. Form into a disk, wrap in plastic, and set aside to rest while you make the potato filling (or at least 30 minutes). You can refrigerate the dough for up to a week, but bring it back to room temperature before proceeding.

    making the filling:
    Peel the potatoes, and cut them into halves or quarters; cover with cold water and a big pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer gently until tender, 11-13 minutes. Drain the potatoes, then add the remaining filling ingredients to a bowl with them and beat/mash until well combined; adjust with more lemon juice as needed.

    putting it all together (making the aloo paratha):
    Put a little bit of flour into a small bowl by your work surface. Rip golf ball-sized pieces of dough from the disk (keep the remaining dough covered while you work), and roll into a ball in your hands. Toss it into the flour, shaking off excess, and then press the ball into a 1-inch disk on your work surface. Use a rolling pin to roll it into a thin round that is about 5-inches in diameter.

    Place a mound of 2 tablespoons filling into the center of the round. Pull the edges up to the center to form a parcel, and squeeze them together. Press down on the extra dough, so that you once again have a disk. Dip lightly into the flour again. Gently press and pat out using your fingers, then use your rolling pin to roll into a 6 or 7-inch round.
    Aloo Paratha from
    Place on a sheet of plastic wrap and then set another sheet of plastic on top. Repeat with remaining dough (you may have leftover filling). At this point, you could store the wrapped disks in the fridge for a couple of hours, if need be.

    Set a cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Pour a little bit of oil into a small bowl and have a pastry brush handy.

    Once the skillet is hot, lay a paratha onto the center of the pan. (I wound up turning the heat down to medium.)  Once a light "crust" forms, 30-60 seconds, flip it over. Brush with a thin layer of oil. Flip after another 30-60 seconds, and then brush the second dry side (now facing up) with a thin film of oil. Once the bottom has browned and crisped up, flip and repeat with other side, 3 minutes or so per paratha.

    If serving right away, brush with a bit of melted butter, with some chutney and/or yogurt on the side, if you wish. If serving later, reheat and then brush with the melted butter.

    If you don't have ajwain (aka carom seeds), you can substitute ground cumin or dried thyme.

    -adapted from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
    Aloo Paratha from
    Aloo Paratha Bread Baking Babes November 2013 Challenge at
    The Bread Baking Babes are:   Bake My Day - Karenblog from OUR kitchen - ElizabethFeeding my Enthusiasms - Pat/Ellegirlichef  - HeatherLife's a Feast - JamieLiving in the Kitchen with Puppies - NatashyaLucullian Delights - IlvaMy Kitchen In Half Cups - TannaNotitie Van Lien - LienPaulchen's Foodblog - AstridThyme for Cooking - Katie (Bitchin’ Bread Baking Babe Bibliothécaire)

    The Bread Baking Buddies are: YOU!

    So which Babe is the hosting kitchen this month?  That would be Karen at Bake My Day, if you'd like to join in, simply make Aloo Paratha (yes, you may adapt) - and then send Karen your link (info in her announcement post).  Submissions are due before November 29th.  Once you've posted, you'll receive a Buddy badge for baking along.  I hope you'll join us this month!