May it be summers or winters, stuffed paranthas are an omnipresent breakfast feature in a Punjabi household…generally speaking, that is. In my Mum’s house, it was during the cold winter days that we used to gorge on these delicious stuffed paranthas. Paranthas fried to crisp perfection and topped with dollops of butter was heaven on a plate! However, with changing life styles, fried food is something now most of us avoid and that’s the reason I opt for these oven baked ones since they are crisp without being fried, taste great and one can indulge guilt free. J
Though these paranthas can’t beat the tandoori baked ones nonetheless they reminded me of the paranthas that we used to have freshly baked from the traditional Indian tandoor run by a lady near our ancestral house. All that one had to do was, make the dough and get the filling ready. The rest was done by the lady. With palm of one hand and fingers of the other, she would make balls of the dough; roll the dough in her hands to make pockets in which she would then add the filling. Using a little water she would pat it, making a clapping noise, between her palms to make a perfect stuffed parantha. The paranthas were then deftly planted by her on the walls of searing hot tandoor. The tandoor, a clay baked open mouthed oven, used to be tough to manage; the heat even during the cold winter was quite a lot to handle. The paranthas took seconds to be ready with blistered top which she extracted out using a hooked iron rod; sometimes even without them. Her agile mechanical hand work made it all look so easy!
2½ cups plus extra for dusting – wheat flour
¾ cup water (extra of needed)
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp ghee or any oil of your choice
In a wide pan or bowl, mix the flour with salt and ghee. Rub the flour well with your fingertips. Use your hands to make the dough. Start with adding water, gradually, and bringing the flour together. Use the palm of your hands to knead the dough till it is smooth and firm (not hard). The dough should offer some resistance when you press in a finger.
(Too soft a dough and you will have trouble dealing with the filling while rolling the flatbread…too hard a dough will be equally difficult to work with.)
2 cups grated cauliflower (650-70 grams of cauliflower sans the stump)
1 tsp finely grated ginger
1 tsp chopped green chillies
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp salt
¾ tsp chaat masala
Red chilli powder to taste
1 generous pinch of garam masala
Break down the cauliflower into florets. Wash and scrub them clean. Keep aside. Fill a pot with chilled water and keep aside.
Heat a pot of water (1½ litre) and bring to a boil. Dunk in the florets in the boiling water and leave them for no longer than a minute in the boiling water; the idea is to get rid of any worms or insects hiding in the nooks of the florets
Drain the water and immerse the florets in the pot with chilled water. Let them be there for a minute. Remove the florets and keep them aside to drain any excess water from them. Grate the florets(not too fine) and sprinkle half a tea spoon of salt. Mix well and keep aside for a minute and a half.
Take fists full the grate cauliflower and squeeze out as much water as you can. (We do not want any excess moisture while rolling the stuffed flatbread). Keep transferring the squeezed cauliflower in a mixing bowl. Using a fork, fluff the grated cauliflower.
Start mixing the other ingredients to the cauliflower and using a spoon stir well together.
Making the flatbread
Pre-heat the oven at 230 degrees C. Heat the baking sheet. (I turned the sheet upside down and used its bottom to bake flatbread; it is easier to place and remove the flatbread)
Divide the dough into equal sized ping pong sized balls (larger if you want larger sized flatbread). Take some wheat flour in a flat bowl. Keep it aside.
To start prepping the flatbreads, take one ball and roll it in the wheat flour. Using a rolling pin roll it into 4 inch disc. Place the disk in your palm and slightly cup your hands. Add the stuffing; 2 heaped teaspoons full in each disc (+/- as desired). As shown in the pic bring in the edges together and pinch the top and twist in over the stuffed ball of dough. Slightly flatten it between your hands and again roll it in wheat flour so it is easier to roll it. Start rolling into six and a half inch sized flatbread; 3-4 mm thick or as desired.
Make the stuffed balls in a similar fashion. Roll them only once you need to place them in the oven for baking
Slightly brush both the sides of the flatbread with oil. Place the flat over the baking sheet and place in the oven for 6-7 minutes or till both sides are golden and crisp.
The stuffed flatbread tastes great served with mint cilantro chutney, pickle, yogurt or tea/ coffee. Do not forget to smear butter on them for an extra delicious taste!
Makes 7-8 paranthas (depending on the amount of dough used)