Sunday, 17 March 2013

Bending the Rules - buying factory food


Lacha Paratha takes a huge amount of work!
As much as I rail against factory produced food, encouraging cooking from scratch only, of course I sometimes break my rules. 
When grocery shopping, sometimes I see a factory produced delight that I can’t resist, and other times the temptation of a quick and easy bite (only if it’s delicious) trumps making something from scratch, especially if the scratch food is labour intensive.
Lacha Parantha is a croissant like chapatti that I can’t imagine myself preparing.  Once the dough is rolled out, the circle has to be pleated like an accordion, buttered, then rolled out flat again, and pleated, and so on and so forth. 

When we have such delicious whole wheat lacha parathas available in the frozen aisle, I would have to be a saint to attempt making my own.

Flip the paratha once it's changed colour!
Although I have made my own paneer, I usually buy it frozen.  The Indian groceries here offer it as butter fried or plain, and a certain chain of big box groceries offers it plain only, but fairly inexpensive.  Better for my waist line and pocket book! 
Not long ago I was wandering down a refrigerated aisle and spotted a chilli studded paneer, which surprised me. 
Lacha paratha with sag and chilli paneer
Not only was it not frozen, not only was it not in any of the Indian/Desi designated aisles, the packaging didn’t indicate its Indian/Desi origins at all. 
In fact, the package advised us to buy this block of goodness, cut it into cubes, poke toothpicks into the cubes, and serve it as an hors d'oeuvre.
While this would so not go over well at a cocktail party, I knew it would be fabulous in sag paneer, so that’s where mine landed up.  After cubing it, I used only as much as I needed, and froze the rest.  I’ve used it since, and it was still good, as I figured it would be, as paneer doesn’t protest too much when it’s frozen.

Soan Papdi is another treasure you can’t even think of trying to produce at home.  My friend, Jeanne, before returning home to the wilds of North Idaho yesterday, lugged shopping bags heavy with Indian groceries to the trunk of her car. 

One bag filled to the brim with countless packages of the sweet confection.  
I couldn’t help but chuckle.
Soan Papdi, so pleasing!

So far, I’ve never found a good recipe for papadam, but these are readily available in packages too.  I do buy them, but am holding out for a recipe that allows me to pour the batter onto the griddle, as rolling a dough out that thin is work for patient angels, only.  
Please drop me a line if you are aware of such a recipe, I am begging you!  
Meanwhile, happy grocery shopping!


  1. hi mary
    so you like soan papdi....hmmm!!!
    then you will so adore all the desi sweets...
    I hope you also tried fresh soan papdi ..that tastes absolutely awesome!
    my favourite are cold gulab jamuns...
    why dont you try lacha parantha at so so simple...
    I'm tempted to try to make it...only problem is the photos....

  2. Hi Shalini, Yes, I adore Indian sweets, especially gulab jamun. I've only tasted the soan papdi from the package shown, next time I should try to hunt it down. The lacha parantha don't take hours and hours? Maybe I should try them.

    Thanks for visiting the blog! I'm still using your masala, which is delicious, btw!