Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Cauliflower and Red Pepper Paratha

Back to my delicious Indian breads, we’re focussing on the stuffed paratha served at Allison’s birthday party.  Although paratha and rotis are considered easy as making toast to many Indians, to me, they are a labour of love.  

I have an Indian friend who is unfazed by making them, but she does admit she spent many hours of her youth perfecting her breads, feeding the imperfect specimens to the family dog.  As much as my little dogs would love me to perfect mine in such a fashion, I’m afraid imperfection will be the rule around here.  After all, neither I nor my dogs have that many years left!

The filling is where the flavours will happen:

2 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter) or a mix of canola and ghee
1 teaspoon cumin seed
10 curry leaves
½ minced red onion
½ minced sweet red pepper
1 minced Thai chilli
1 tablespoon garum masala
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
salt to taste

Put a skillet on medium high heat, and add the ghee or ghee mixture.  When it’s hot, add the cumin seed which will immediately splutter and pale.  Add the curry leaves, then the minced onion.  Reduce the heat to medium, and cook the onion till it’s transparent and golden at the edges.  Add the minced cauliflower and peppers, and cook about ten minutes, till they’re soft. Add the garum masala and turmeric and cook, stirring,  for another few minutes.

Taste for saltiness and spiciness.  You want it a bit oversalted and spiced, as the bread will soften these flavours.  Adjust with spices and salt as desired.  Set aside to cool till luke warm.  While that’s happening, make the dough.

The dough for this paratha recipe is very simple, since all the flavours will come from the stuffing.
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour (plus some extra white)
1 cup (approximately) water
ghee for brushing onto the cooking parathas

In a large bowl, combine the two flours and slowly add a bit of water to them.  Using your fingers to stir, incorporate the water into the flour by moving in large circles.  Slowly add more water as needed.  At about the one cup of water stage, all the flour will be sticking to the dough ball, as you move it around in circles. 
Have ingredients handy!

At that point, stop with the water, and begin to knead.  You may knead in the bowl itself, or take it out and onto the counter.  You will need a little more flour to knead, and you’ll definitely need more at the rolling out stage.  Once kneaded a little, (maybe five minutes max) set aside to rest for a few minutes.

Pinch off a piece about the size of a large golfball, and roll into a ball.  Set on a floured surface, and use the palm of your hand to flatten it.  Flip it onto the other side to get more flour over there.  Use a rolling pin to roll it out to about five or six inches, then drop a couple of spoonfuls of filling in the middle.  Pinch up the edges, then roll out a second time.  It should be about six inches in diameter when rolled out. 
a closeup of the filling

Have a griddle on medium heat.  Carefully lift the first stuffed paratha, brush off excess flour, and lay on griddle.  

Start rolling out the next paratha, while keeping an eye on the griddle.  Once the dough has changed colour, flip the paratha, and get back to rolling.  Once it’s changed colour again, brush a scant amount of ghee over it, then flip again for a few seconds.  Flip again, brush more ghee over that surface, and remove to a warming plate.  

It’s tricky to get into the rhythm of rolling and stuffing and flinging on the griddle, flipping and brushing and rolling and stuffing and so on, so you may need a partner. If small holes appear during the second roll out, do as I do and keep going. 

Tightly seal your package before rolling out again,

This recipe will make about six or seven parathas, which make a lovely lunch.  

I served these with my regular sag paneer, although I had extra cauliflower which went into the sag paneer before it was blended.  Yum.  

Along with the parathas and sagpaneer, we also had caramelised onion raita, a shredded radish salad, and for dessert, a magnificent Pavlova

Of course we also had white wine, but also a Rose Milk drink which will bring up the last post in the Allison’s birthday party series.  Meanwhile, here’s a pic of the festivities.  

And another of the ladies...

and yet another of our birthday girl

She's lost her 'y' in the glories of the day...

If you need help finding any of these ingredients, please drop me a line.  Tune in tomorrow for that Rose Milk beverage to wrap up these birthday recipes.