An easy Aloo Paratha, a flaky Indian flatbread with a delicious stuffing of potatoes and spices like ginger, turmeric, and cayenne. I make the whole-wheat casing even healthier by adding some sourdough starter.
This almost instant and easy Aloo Paratha is a huge hit in our home with Jay, who can eat four or five at a sitting and still ask for more. What makes it a hit with me is the fact that it takes just minutes to put together, because there’s no chopping or grating involved. All I need to do is pop a few potatoes into the microwave, and — once they’re done — mix in some powdered spices.
Aloo Parathas are a much-loved food in India — and for lovers of Indian food anywhere in the world. What’s not to love about crispy dough encasing a delicious mixture of everyone’s favorite veggie? And they are by no means a difficult food to make, if you know how to roll a flatbread. What trips up some people when they make aloo parathas is that the stuffing tends to get all over the place, but I have a few tips to help you with that:
- Do not over-boil your potatoes which waterlogs them and makes the stuffing really soft. You can use whatever method you use to boil your potatoes, but get them out of the water before they start to fall apart. I usually boil mine in the microwave– I pierce the potatoes a few times with a knife, add a couple of tablespoons of water to the microwave-safe bowl, cover, and nuke for 8-10 minutes on high power. The potatoes should be tender enough that a knife inserted in the center goes cleanly through.
- Keep all your ingredients really fine. Grate the boiled potatoes, or mash them so there are no lumps, and try and use dry ingredients instead of wet. For instance, in this easy and instant version, I don’t use ginger-garlic paste or green chilies or lemon juice: I use powdered garlic and ginger and red chili powder and chaat masala. which adds a tang and more flavor without the moisture from lemon juice.
- Add the right amount of stuffing. I love overstuffing my aloo parathas, but make sure that you can get the dough up and around it to create a tight seal. If your stuffing is peeking out of the dough even before you can start to roll the paratha, you’ve got a tough road ahead.
- Make sure your dough, when you knead it, is pliable but firm. A soft dough will make it that much harder to roll out the parathas evenly without the stuffing spilling through.
- Finally, if the stuffing does squeeze out, don’t panic. A little bit of the potato baked directly on the griddle actually makes the paratha even tastier. Just pat it down, dust with flour, and roll gently.
Now that you are all armed with knowledge and ready to go, let’s make the parathas. I get the dough ready the previous day or at least an hour in advance. A hot tip here for those of you who, like me, have a pot of sourdough starter in your kitchen: I often add sourdough starter to the paratha dough– this is a great use for the “discard” portion when you are feeding your starter. The sourdough not only makes the whole-wheat parathas flakier and crispier without the need for mixing in some all-purpose flour, but it also makes the parathas more nutritious, of course. If you don’t have sourdough, no worries — use plain whole wheat flour or a half-and-half mix of whole wheat and all-purpose for flakier parathas.
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup sourdough starter If you are not using sourdough starter, use 1 3/4 cups of whole-wheat flour instead, or a mix of 3/4 cup all-purpose and 1 cup whole-wheat
- 1/2 tsp ajwain or carom seeds
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Water for kneading
- 4 medium russet potatoes, boiled, peeled, and mashed or grated so there are no lumps
- 1/2 tsp red chili powder, like cayenne
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp ginger powder
- 1 tsp chaat masala
- 1/2 tsp garam masala (optional)
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro (optional)
Place all the ingredients except water in a bowl or in a stand mixer. Trickle in the water slowly, kneading as you go, until you have a stiff but pliable dough. Set aside for at least 30 minutes. You can make the dough a whole day ahead and refrigerate.
Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Divide into 12 equal-sized portions and form into balls.
When ready to use the dough, divide into 12 equal-sized portions and, again, shape into balls.
Roll out one of the balls of dough into a disc, about four inches in diameter. Keep the center thicker and make the edges thin.
Place the stuffing in the center and pull the edges over the top of the stuffing. Pinch to make a tight seal and squeeze off any excess dough.
Flatten into a disc, flour both sides, and roll into a circle about six inches in diameter.
Heat a griddle and spray with oil. Place the flatbread on the griddle and let it cook until golden-brown spots appear. Flip over and cook the other side. Flip over a couple more times if needed until the surface is evenly cooked and covered with golden-brown spots.
If you're seasoned at rolling out flatbreads, you certainly won't need 25 minutes of cooking time-- I usually roll one as I am baking the other on the griddle.
Make more parathas: