Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Recipe: Aloo Paratha

Today we're taking a break from our season on spices to fill you in on a recipe video we made a few weeks ago. It's been a while since we put one together and it was by happy chance that we found the perfect opportunity one sunny afternoon about 2 weeks ago, to get our filming on.

To celebrate our return to camera we decided to showcase one of our all time favourite comfort foods - Aloo Paratha - lightly fried Indian flat breads stuffed with a delicious spicy potato filling. For us this is the ultimate Sunday afternoon lazy, late lunch - especially when served alongside yoghurt sprinkled with roasted cumin or a big bowl of Dal Makhni. Come rain or shine, warm or cold there is no bad time to serve this recipe. You can of course play around with filling and stuff the parathas with whatever you like - mixed vegetables, cauliflower, mashed beans, paneer - whatever takes your fancy, but this is our personal favourite and we hope you enjoy it too, see below for a full list of ingredients and step by step instructions :)

Ingredients for the Filling
 1 ½ kg potatoes
3 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 ½ tsp ginger
3 green chillies, finely chopped
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp red chilli powder
Salt to taste
1 tbsp sugar
Juice of half a lemon
Small handful of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped

Ingredients for the Dough
500 g whole wheat or chapatti flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 tbsp oil
500 ml warm water
Oil for shallow-frying


  • Start by peeling and dicing the potatoes into evenly sized pieces and then give them a thorough rinse. Drain well.
  • Heat up the oil in a large, heavy pan and when it’s hot add the cumin seeds.
  • When the cumin seeds begin to fizz in the pan add the ginger and chillies and allow them to sauté in the oil for a few moments – be careful that they do not burn.
  • Carefully add the potatoes to the pan and stir well to cover them in the oil.
  • Sprinkle in the turmeric, red chilli powder, and salt. Stir well, cover and allow the potatoes to cook, stirring occasionally until they become completely tender.
  • Once the potatoes are cooked add the sugar, lemon juice and coriander and mix them well into the pan.
  • Turn off the heat and allow the potatoes to cool slightly before mashing them.
  • Leave aside to cool completely while you make the dough.
  • To make the paratha dough, place the flour in a mixing bowl, drizzle in the oil and roughly mix together.
  • Sprinkle in the salt and pepper.
  • Pour half of the water into the flour and knead to begin forming the dough. Add the remaining water as and when you need it until you are left with smooth, soft, moist dough – you may not need all the water, or you might need a little more, depending on your flour. If the dough is too dry, it will be difficult to stuff with the filling, and keeping it slightly moist will allow it to remain more elastic.
  • Leave the dough to rest for 15 minutes. In the meantime, place a heavy skillet to warm up over a medium heat.
  • After 15 minutes, turn the dough over itself a few times to make it easier to work with, then take a golf ball-sized amount and roll into a smooth ball.
  • Place the ball of dough on a flat, flour-dusted surface and use a rolling pin to roll it into a circle about 10 cm in diameter. Lightly dust the dough in more flour if it sticks to the surface or the rolling pin. Use a light touch - you do not want to press the dough out, merely gently ease it into a circle.
  • Take about 2 tablespoons of the potato mixture and roll it into a smooth ball, then place it in the middle of the circle of dough.
  • Bring the sides of the dough up to the top centre of the ball of potato filling so that the entire filling is encased and you have a small knot of dough at the top.
  • Carefully, ensuring that the wrap of dough around the filling does not tear, break the top knot from the ball and add it back to the remaining dough (if you leave this piece of dough on the Paratha it will be too thick to cook through, and all your efforts will be ruined).
  • Gently press down the gathers at the top of the ball, and flatten to form a disc 1-2 cm thick.
  • Dust the disc with a little more flour, turn it over and then gradually roll out the Paratha to approximately 16-18 cm in diameter, and 6 mm in thickness (dust with more flour as you roll if necessary).
  • Carefully lift up the Paratha and place it onto the hot skillet. Ideally, you want the side that was facing you whilst rolling to remain topper most whilst cooking, so that the other, slightly thicker side where you formed the seal gets properly cooked through.
  • Allow the Paratha to cook on this side for about 30-45 seconds, until the top surface starts to bubble and the bottom side looks like it’s just beginning to turn golden.
  • Carefully flip the Paratha, allow to cook for a further 30 seconds, and then spread a little oil over the surface before flipping again.
  • Fry for 30 seconds on this side, before spreading the top surface with a little more oil and flipping for the last time.
  • Cook until golden on both sides, and then transfer onto some kitchen roll to drain off any excess oil.
  • Serve hot with yoghurt, chutneys, or, my favourite – dal makhani.
  • You can mash the potatoes to be completely smooth if you wish but I personally prefer to leave them with a bit of texture – as long as you can roll a fairly round ball out of the mixture all will be well. 
  • If you find that your potatoes aren’t quite moist enough to hold together add a little yoghurt to help them along.
  • Another way of making this recipe is to boil the potatoes first, peel them, and then add in all the other ingredients for the filling (omitting the oil and cumin seeds) before mashing them. Both ways work equally well. 
Recipe taken from Devnaa's India - Delicious Vegetarian Home Cooking & Street Food