You'll often find me cooking up parathas in my kitchen because they are easily Jay's most requested breakfast. Because I always have potatoes on hand, they are usually Aloo Parathas. But sometimes, when I have radishes available, I make these Mooli Parathas instead, and he loves them just as much.
Parathas, north Indian flatbreads stuffed with veggies, are a popular breakfast in Punjab in northern India, where they're served with pickles and yogurt. You can conceivably stuff any veggie into a paratha, but traditionally cooks have used aloo (potato), gobi (cauliflower) and radish (mooli).
While the potato version is easily found on restaurant menus, you probably won't find the others as easily, especially mooli paratha. So do the smart thing and make it yourself, without the fat and the ghee that a restaurant could add. You'll find that Mooli Parathas are a delicious and wholesome treat, and one you'll be wanting to make and eat over and over again.
Mooli ka parathas in India are made with the large, white daikon radish but I can't find that in the markets unless I'm willing to make a longer trip to the Indian or Asian grocery store.
So I've learned to use the little, brilliantly purple and red radishes more easily found here in the United States. They are less pungent than the daikon, which probably is better suited for their use in salads or for eating them raw or in a dish like these braised radishes. I use them in dals and sabzis, just as I would use a daikon radish, and they work beautifully in these parathas as well, adding a brilliant and unexpected splash of color.
Table of contents
What we love about these mooli parathas
- They're spicy with the complex flavors of the radish and a few simple spices.
- They are easy to make.
- They are incredibly healthy. These parathas are whole wheat. And radishes are low in calories, full of vitamins and minerals like potassium and they can boost collagen production, keeping you looking and feeling younger. Now why wouldn't you love that?
- Everyone'll love them. Guaranteed.
Tips and tricks for making the softest, healthiest mooli parathas
- Your first priority when you make these muli parathas is to get all that water out of those radishes. This is really important, because if your stuffing is watery, you cannot stuff it into the dough. This is easy enough. Add a bit of salt to the grated radish and let it stand around 10 minutes. Then squeeze out all the water you can from it, either with a kitchen towel or with your hands. Done.
- Once your radishes are ready, add to them a few simple spices--cayenne, turmeric, ginger, kasoori methi (optional) and amchur (mango powder). Some add chopped green chilies and cilantro to the recipe, and you can if you want to, but I would advise against adding any ingredients that add more moisture back to the radish. I even prefer powdered ginger, although you can make an exception and use grated fresh ginger if you would rather. Keep things simple and you're more likely to be smiling at the end of this process.
- Make a smooth, pliable dough with whole wheat flour and ajwain or carom seeds. Although this is not traditional, I add potatoes to the paratha dough -- one medium russet potato to 1 ½ cups of flour. What this does is that it ensures the dough remains pliable and resilient and smooth, which is important in helping roll out the parathas. The potatoes also keep the cooked parathas really soft, and makes them more nutritious
- To roll out the parathas, don't try using the technique you usually would for an aloo paratha, where you roll out a small circle of dough, place the stuffing inside, gather the edges at the top, pinch them together, and roll out your paratha. Instead, make two circles of dough, place the stuffing in the center, and press the circles together. Roll out the parathas a little more before roasting them. This technique not only works better with mooli parathas, it also helps ensure they will be puffy.
- While Indian cultural lore has always associated parathas with oodles of ghee and butter--because these products are part of the foodscape of dairy-rich Punjab--you really don't need any of that to get delicious parathas. Besides all that fat just makes a quintessentially healthy food unhealthy. The stuffing is delicious already, so when you roast the parathas, all you need is a tiny bit of cooking spray or oil that you will spread on the surface of the paratha.
- You can stuff the parathas with a mixture of carrots and radishes, for a healthier take. Grate both and proceed with the rest of the recipe.
- Add chopped cilantro to the stuffing instead of kasoori methi.
- Use chopped green chili peppers instead of the cayenne, but be sure to mince them really fine--you don't want big pieces of peppers sticking out when you're trying to roll the parathas.
Mooli Paratha (Radish-stuffed Flatbread)
For the dough:
- 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
- 1 medium russet potato (Boiled, peeled and mashed)
- ½ tsp ajwain (carom seeds)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup (approx) water
For the radish stuffing:
- 1 pound radish (use either the small, purple radishes or daikon radish. Grate them fine)
- 1 tsp ginger (grated, or ½ tsp dry ginger powder)
- 1 tsp cayenne (use less if sensitive to heat)
- ½ tsp turmeric (optional)
- 1 tsp amchur (mango powder)
- 2 tbsp kasoori methi (dry fenugeek leaves, crushed between your palms before adding)
- Salt to taste
- Cooking spray or oil for brushing on the parathas
- Place the grated radish in a colander over a bowl. Add ¼ tsp salt and mix well. Let the radish stand for 10 minutes, then press it firmly to express any water. You can use this water as a stock in another recipe--it's full of nutrients so try not to throw it away.
- Mix the flour with the potatoes, ajwain and salt. Slowly drizzle in the water and knead into a smooth and pliable (not sticky) dough. You can either do this by hand, in a stand mixer, or in a food processor. Set it aside for a few minutes while you make the filling.
- Mix the radish with the remaining ingredients.
- Divide the dough into 16 balls about an inch in diameter.
- Roll out two of the balls of dough into five-inch circles. Place a couple of tablespoons of the filling in the center of one and then press the other circle on top of it and press the edges to seal.
- Flour both sides of the paratha and roll it out into a slightly bigger round, about 6-7 inches in diameter. Be gentle and turn the paratha often while rolling to make sure it doesn't stick. If a tear appears on the paratha, patch it up and continue rolling.
- Place the paratha on a hot griddle. Cook until golden-brown spots appear all over the underside, then flip. Spray on some cooking spray or oil.
- Once both sides are cooked, wrap the parathas in a kitchen towel so they remain soft until you serve them. These are best eaten hot.