Khasta Paratha, a flaky flatbread from India, is a unique treat that just begs to be torn apart with your fingers, dunked into a spicy curry, then popped into your mouth.
I've seen as many versions of this dish as there are cooks. Some recipes are rather straightforward and not unlike those for other flatbreads like rotis. The problem is, they end up looking and tasting no different than rotis. Others, modeled along the south Indian parotta, require tons of technique -- enough to make you throw up your hands and call in for chow mein.
My recipe produces a result that's not just crispy and layered and flaky and uber-delicious (exactly what a Khasta Paratha should be), but it's also easy enough that a child could make it. Really. I do away with all the complicated rolling instructions and instead use a technique not unlike that used for puff pastry (a trick I learned from watching Sanjeev Kapoor, one of my favorite Indian TV chefs). All you need is some time, and that's not dedicated time because you don't have to stand over a stove slaving away or anything like that.
My Khasta Paratha also does away with ghee, which is traditionally used in this dish and which, of course, is a cholesterol-packed animal product. Instead, I use heart-healthy canola oil. Use any flavorless vegetable oil you have on hand.
I made these parathas this past weekend and we had them with this delectable Mushroom Curry-- one of my most cherished recipes from this blog. Trust me, I wouldn't just pair it with just any old bread.
Here's the recipe. Enjoy, all!
More Indian flatbread recipes
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- Water for kneading the dough
- Place the flour, salt and 1 tablespoon oil in a bowl and mix until the oil has dispersed through the flour.
- Add enough water to make a stiff but pliable dough. Set the dough aside for at least 30 minutes so it can relax and roll out easily.
- Roll the dough on a floured surface into a rectangle, about 10 X 7 inches.
- Brush the entire top surface lightly with some oil, then dust lightly with a little flour.
- Lift the sides of the rectangle and fold them one over the other horizontally, so you have three layers.
- Place the rectangle of dough in the refrigerator on a flat surface, like a cookie sheet.
- After half an hour, pull out the dough, roll it again into a rectangle about 10 X 7 inches, brush with oil, dust with flour, and fold again to get three more layers. Put it back in the refrigerator.
- Repeat the entire process two more times.
- After you've folded and refrigerated the dough four times, roll it again into a rectangle and brush it with oil. This time, roll the dough horizontally the way you would a jelly roll.
- When you have a cylinder, tuck the seam under and, using a knife, cut it into 10 equal portions.
- Take one roll, flatten it, and then roll it into a circle, about 6 inches in diameter. Don't make the paratha too think, or you will end up flattening the layers. Use some flour to help you roll, if the dough sticks. Repeat for all the remaining 9 portions.
- Heat a griddle until it's piping hot. Lower the heat to medium-high, place a paratha on the griddle, and wait until bubbles appear.
- Flip over the paratha and lightly brush some oil on the surface. When the underside is cooked and golden-brown spots appear, flip over once more and cook for a few more seconds or until golden spots appear.
- Serve rightaway.