I am a die-hard Parantha fan. So much so that I can have them every day all three times for the meal.
And I have literally done that in the past. When I was in Uni, there were days when we survived basically just on stuffed Paratha for days (and Maggie of course! Goes without saying silly).
Not only the Parathas are super tasty and filling at the same time, if made properly, they are not that unhealthy as they are believed to be.. and am not being biased here. Well, a little bit. But hold on, read further and you would understand why I said that.
Owing to my Punjabi roots, usually every weekend morning used to start with Parathas with huge blobs of butter on them. And I am talking about big, properly stuffed and thick parathas here. Not the skimpy and small variety people make these days. Huh! Ours were like the size of whole tawa (griddle) and we still had the appetite to slug 3-4 of them down with a patiala glass of lassi. How else do I have these thick layers of fat on me, you say!?
I am proud that I have carried that tradition forward with me. No, not the overeating one. Phew! But having Parathas for the weekend. Every Sunday, we have this little tradition of having stuffed Parathas for brunch. And I serve these with healthier options like raita or chutney.
Not to brag (ahem..) but there must be at least a hundred different versions that I could cook these parathas like. The most common ones are Green peas Paratha, Sattu ka paratha, Mooli paratha etc. And the best one among all of these is undoubtedly this Aloo paratha.
This Aloo paratha carry the typical Punjabi flavours and taste great with some butter smeared all over. But lets not go there, shall we! Apart from this Punjabi Aloo paratha recipe, I have this another version of Alu paratha on the blog which is commonly made in the state of Maharashtra. Where the potatoes are first cooked with spices and then stuffed into the paratha. Try that version too if you havent already.
I hear people say that making these parathas is not their cup of tea and it makes me flinch. Making Parathas is like a second nature to me, I can make them from scratch even when half asleep. So I had to do a step by step recipe for the blog, with some tips so you could make the best Aloo parathas. Each time. Along with some tips that I have learned from my Naani and some over time with experience.
Tips to make the perfect stuffed paratha, not just Aloo paratha:
- First and foremost– the texture of the dough should be just right. It should neither be very loose nor too firm. If it’s too loose, the Parathas would start splitting and tearing. And if its too firm, you wouldn’t be able to roll it properly. To be honest, there is no right proportion for the perfect consistency, and it all depends on the quality of flour and even the water that you are using. So you have to play around with it to get it right as per your need.
- Knead the dough till it’s smooth and pliable. And then keep it covered for some time so that the gluten present in the flour binds the flour well. Then knead it again for a minute before start making the parathas. This will make sure the dough is properly kneaded.
- I have realised that adding a tbsp of oil in the dough makes better parathas. Its not mandatory but does make a huge difference in the quality of parathas.
- Another thing which I have noticed after a long time of trials and error with these parathas that adding a small proportion (1:4) of rice flour to the wholewheat flour works wonders to the paratha. So you could use 4 cups of atta (whole wheat flour) and 1 cup of fine rice flour to knead the dough and the results should be better.
- If you add onion to the Parathas – it has to be chopped very small, like the tiniest bits you can chop it into. Since otherwise it might tear the Parathas while rolling, and also wouldn’t taste that good either.
- Do not add onion to the stuffing if you are going to use it after an hour or so. Onion releases water with time, which can make your stuffing mushy. Add onion to the stuffing just before you start making the parathas or maybe or max 10-15 minutes earlier.
- It works better if you make equal sized balls from the stuffing and keep them ready for the rolling, it prevents your hands getting sticky while pinching and rolling the dough for individual Parathas. If not that, I use a deep round spoon to scoop the stuffing.
- If you are making Alu Paratha – boil and peel the potatoes about an hour before you start getting the stuffing ready. The potatoes should be cold enough to be handled by bare hands, since that would mean that all the steam inside is evaporated. If you mash the potatoes which are still hot, the stuffing will get a bit watery due to the steam captured within the potatoes. And then it will start coming off the Paratha while rolling. So make sure they are just warm to be handled by your hands.
- In my experience, it’s better to use a vegetable grater rather than a potato masher to get evenly textured stuffing. You don’t want chunks peeking out of your Parathas, right?
Since we are always trying to make things healthy besides being tasty, here are some tips for you to make your usual Parathas a bit healthier:
- First of all- use as less oil as you can. I use about ½ tsp of oil on each Paratha, and the size of my Paratha is massive as you can see. If you are making smaller Parathas, even less oil can be used. A little tip from my personal experience is – apply oil when the Paratha is just slightly roasted each side. This is the time when the Paratha absorbs less oil. If you apply oil when its already fully roasted or completely raw, it will soak in much more than required.
- Use multi grain flour. I usually take a proportion of 2 cups whole wheat flour, ½ cup rice flour, ¼ cup oats, and ¼ cup any other flour like sattu, ragi, bajra, jowar etc. depending on the season and my preference. So basically the flour I use to make Parathas is full of fiber and other nutrients. Which makes me feel less guilty and more full. But do remember, using multi grain flour will also make your dough less pliable and hence difficult to roll with stuffing inside. So if you are a beginner, try with just the whole wheat flour (atta) first and then gradually start adding more flours to it.
- Add some greens to the Paratha. You may add a lot of coriander in the stuffing, which gives a very nice flavour like in this Paneer dhaniya Paratha or use spinach as in this Palak aloo paratha. Or you could add some spinach puree to the dough itself. This will improve the nutritional value, keeping the taste intact. But do remember, addition of greens to the dough or stuffing might increase the moisture content so you only add them if you are going to prepare and consume it all in one go. It won’t be a good idea to keep them for later use.
- Have Paratha with “healthier” sides like a raita full of vegetables. For example, you can have it with Mooli raita, Okra raita, Eggplant (brinjal) raita etc.
- Some unusual additions to the stuffing- you may add a little bit of “extras” to the normal stuffing like grated broccoli, some roasted sweet potato, grated carrot in your usual alu Parathas. If you are not used to these vegetables, start by adding these in small quantities first and then when you get a hang of it, gradually increase the quantity. It’s a good way to include more veggies in your diet. Have a look at this Mix veg Paratha for inspiration.
- Add some yogurt or milk to the dough. This will add some calcium and protein to your meal and also make the parathas softer. Do remember that will also decrease the shelf life of parathas. So again, only add dairy if you are going to consume the parathas fresh and do not keep them aside for longer.
So finally, all we have to do is to plan ahead and cleverly. So this infamous dish would no longer seem like a road towards the guilt trip anymore. Rather it could be a very balanced meal, especially if eaten for the breakfast. Since you are bound to overeat and really, you can’t afford to do that at night. Or you would curse me in the mornings. They also make a great travel food.
Anyway, hope you make awesome and healthy parathas next time. Do write to me if you try this recipe and it comes out to be good. Even if not, I would love to hear from you. Connect with me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to see more of these recipes and inside fun.
Nutritional info-> This is a Vegan recipe. High in fiber and minerals.
Punjabi Aloo paratha | Stuffed unleavened flatbread
For the dough:
- 4 cups of whole wheat flour
- ½ cup of rice flour
- 1 tbsp of oil
- Enough warm water to knead
- A pinch of salt
For the stuffing:
- ½ kg potatoes boiled and peeled
- piece A small of ginger minced or grated properly
- 1-2 in green chilies chopped very fine (I cut them using a pair of scissors, tiny pieces)
- leaves A handful of fresh coriander washed and chopped small
- 1 medium sized onion chopped very small
- tsp Salt to taste about 1½
- A pinch of black pepper powder
- ½ tsp Garam Masala
- ¼ tsp cumin powder
- ½ tsp red chili powder
- ¼ turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp of Anardana powder (pomegranate seeds powder optional)
Mix the flours, oil and salt together. Then add warm water gradually and knead into slightly firm dough. Keep aside for 20-30 minutes.
In the meanwhile, prepare the stuffing by breaking the boiled potatoes by hands or grating them using a vegetable grater. Add in the spices and mix well. Finally add in the green chilies and onion.
Give a final mix and keep aside. **Check the notes on the blog about adding onion to the stuffing.
Once ready to cook, heat the (tawa) griddle at medium gas settings. Pinch a small ball sized dough, roll it on the rolling board (chakla), scoop a spoonful of stuffing and put it in the centre. Pull the sides up and seal it into a ball. ** Check the step by step picture on the blog.
While keeping the flame at medium, roast the Paratha from both sides applying little oil. Once it’s
almost cooked, reduce the flame to low and press it from all the sides to help it cook evenly.
Once done, serve with chilled Raita, chutney or pickle aside.
Recipe Notes**Check the notes carefully for tips to make parathas healthier ** With tips on how make perfect parathas
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