Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Aloo Paratha

It's raining potatoes.......fried potatoes and boiled potatoes , they taste good anyway you slice them. My grandfather still teases me about my love for them.

Now my son loves it too. His favorite being Aloo Paratha which he lovingly calls 'Alew Pratha'. This is a versatile dish and can be had as a breakfast item or lunch item. My son will even  have it for a snack.

When I am pressed for time and want to make it for him, I peel and roughly dice one potato and place it in a microwave safe dish, pour sufficient water to submerge the potatoes and microwave this on high for 5-6 minutes. Voila ! the potatoes are ready. Just drain it and add some salt and a little red chili powder and chopped cilantro. Mash it all up and the filling is ready for two aloo parathas.

Wikipedia has an interesting article on parathas, stating that paratha comes from the word 'parat' and 'atta', which means layers of flour cooked. It is mainly a punjabi dish but now it is popular all over India. Another tidbit of information I got from there is that when Indian immigrants moved to other parts of the world, they adapted the paratha to their new regional flavors and thus in Malaysia and Mauritius it is called 'farata', in Singapore it is 'roti canai' or 'roti prata', in Myanmar is is called as 'palata', in Trinidad and Tobago it is called as 'buss up shot' or 'boss up shot' or 'buss up shut', named after the method of striking the hot roti  thus breaking it up into smaller pieces. It would be interesting to find out more about the different parathas adapted by other countries.

Makes 10 -12 parathas


For the stuffing:
4 large potatoes, boiled and peeled
5-6 green chilies, finely chopped ( can substitute with 1-1 1/2 tsp red chili powder )
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
salt to taste

For the atta cover:
2 1/2 cups finely ground, Indian whole wheat flour / atta * + extra flour for rolling.
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
approximately 1-1 1/2 cup water for kneading.
oil for brushing on the parathas

  1. Mash the boiled potatoes and mix the green chilies,cilantro and salt with it. Form the mixture into approximately 8-10 ping pong sized balls.
  2. In a separate mixing bowl, add atta and salt and mix well. To it now add the oil and knead it with the water to form a not-too-soft, smooth round dough. Make another 8-10 ping pong sized balls with this dough. Cover it with a damp cloth and let it rest for at least 30 minutes in a well oiled bowl.
  3. When ready to make the aloo paratha take one of the atta balls and roll it out into a 4-6 inch diameter circle.You can use extra flour while rolling to prevent it from sticking to the rolling pin or rolling surface / board. Now place the ball of potato stuffing in the center of this round and enclose it by pulling in the edges towards the center thus covering the potato stuffing.
  4. Sprinkle with some whole wheat flour and gently roll this out into a bigger round of about 8-9 inches. (See tips below).
  5. Now roast this on a medium hot griddle / tawa. Place the paratha on the tawa. Flip it over when you see blisters forming on the top. Repeat this procedure for the other side as well. Now smear a little oil on both sides and press down with the back of your spatula, as this helps puff up the paratha and also ensures that it cooks properly.
  6. Serve this paratha hot with a pat of butter and / or raita and Indian pickles ( available in Indian grocery stores ).

Add a little water to the wheat flour and start mixing with your fingers. Add the water a little at a time till soft dough is formed.


 Make even sized round balls of both the dough and the filling.

Take one round of dough and roll it out to about 4-6 inches in diameter and place one ball of potato filling in the center of it.

Now bring up the sides of the rolled dough so as to cover the filling.

Flatten the mound down and dust it with some of the extra whole wheat flour.


Roll it out, dusting with flour whenever it starts to stick, into 8-10 inch diameter circle.

Now toast the paratha on a hot tawa / griddle, till you see blisters form on the top. When that happens flip it and add a little oil on the top side.

When you see the other side blistering as well, flip it again and put some oil on the top side.

Flip both sides once more till it is properly toasted and the paratha does not look raw. Take it off the tawa / gridle and serve hot.

Aloo parathas served with tomato raita and raw mango pickle (available in Indian stores).

Tips: when making the dough make sure it is not too hard as this will make it difficult to roll the stuffed parathas. Also do not refrigerate the dough for the same reason. I find that both the stuffing and atta should be made fresh and be at room temperature before rolling for the best results.

* Atta is usually available at any indian grocery store, however, these come in 10 - 20 lbs bag in the US. If this quantity is too much for you, you can substitute it with the whole wheat flour from the regular grocery store. Personally, I have found that roti / parathas made with whole wheat flour made in India turns out much better than those made with Canadian flour or American flour. I guess it is something to do with the type of wheat used to make the flour. I personally use Swarna atta.

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