Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dipali's Alu Parathas

Now, either you've had parathas made by Dipali or you haven't. It's a fair way to divide the world. (If you are wondering what alu parathas are, they are traditonal North Indian potato-stuffed flatbreads.)

I can't replicate her magic (I strongly suspect she mutters incantations under her breath as she cooks) but I find I do get very nice results following her methods. Here is what she taught me:


250 gm atta (wheat flour) for 2 adults & some extra for rolling (you can use maida or all purpose flour but atta is tastier)
A cup of vegetable oil/ghee/butter
Warm water (I bung some into the microwave oven for 30 sec before I knead with it)

3 medium sized potatoes, boiled and peeled
Salt to taste
A pinch of ajwain (carom seeds)
A larger pinch of amchoor
Large pinch of garam masala
1 finely chopped onion
1 finely chopped green chilly
1/4 cup finely chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves

*Keep the extra flour handy for rolling out parathas and also to adjust the dough in case you've added too much fat or water.

Plain curd and butter to accompany the end results.


1. Take the flour in a large bowl or plate for comfortable kneading and make a small well in the centre.

2. Pour up to 1 tbsp of oil/ghee/butter into the well and mix it well into the flour to make small breadcrumb-like balls all through.

Use half a tbsp first and add more if you want. The more fat you use, the more pliant your dough is, but dough that is too soft is a pain to roll out.

3. After the breadcrumb stage, add warm water in batches to make a soft but not sticky dough. Like with the fat, start adding small quantities until you're satisfied with the dough.

4. Knead well and set aside while you make the stuffing.

5. Mash the potatoes in a large bowl and add the spices. Mash well to form a soft, spicy potato mash. It should taste a bit more salty than you'd like, to balance the unsalted dough.

The spices listed above are optional and may be used in differing combinations. I tend to leave out the cilantro and onion since I don't care for them much myself. Likewise, unless you are a fan of ajwain (like me) you might prefer to go easy on that one. In lazier moods I've been known to just mash boiled potatoes with some oil from the surface of my jar of pickles and that tastes good too.

6. Now for the fun part. Make large, evenly sized balls from the dough. I make mine the size of large lemons.

7. Roll one ball out a bit.

8. Cup the rolled out dough in your palm and stuff it with the mashed potato. Stuff as much as you dare. If the stuffing does spill out during the rolling/frying, it only adds to the taste.

9. Bring the edges of the circle up around the mashed potatoes to form a closed little ball of stuffed dough.

10. Flatten this gently between your palms and flour both sides. Now roll this out gently.

The marbled look comes from large bits of potato. I was too lazy to make a nice, smooth mash. Tastewise it doesn't matter, but smooth mash is, naturally, easier to roll out. Unless you add chopped onions and coriander leaves to it, in which case it'll be a bit lumpy. Not a problem.

If your dough is pliant enough you should be able to roll really thin parathas. Like so.

11. I usually have a tawa (griddle) heating while I roll the first paratha out. So the ready paratha goes smoothly onto a hot tawa tempered with a little ghee.

That wee mashie thingie I'm pressing the paratha down with is sold as a potato masher. I use it to fry parathas like Dipali taught me, pressing down the edges for even cooking. You can as easily use a clean dishcloth or even the spatula.

12. I like my parathas sinful so I dribble a little ghee around the edges of the paratha and pop a wee bit more on the middle of each side. This is optional however and you can actually roast these babies entirely oil-free on a non-stick griddle. Although really, why would you want to do that?

And that's it. Smear butter over the hot parathas, dip in curd and chomp your way to happiness.

I had the dough and boiled potatoes ready at home on Tuesday morning, so I finished making and eating I think 7 of these in an hour.

The smart thing to do is
set the potatoes to boil -- knead the dough -- set dough aside and mash the potatoes -- set griddle to heat up and roll out the first paratha -- roll while the previous one fries, clean up while the last one fries!
On re-reading this post I would like to point out that I only ate 2, not all 7 of the parathas I made. But they are yummy enough for me to be able to put away 7.


Anonymous said...

I want to have aaloo ke paraathe NOW! And mooli. And methi.
Damn! And, it's just the start of the day! :-P

Anonymous said...

I want to have aaloo ke paraathe NOW! And mooli. And methi.
Damn! And, it's just the start of the day! :-P

Ron said...

Im so impressed with all the precise measurements. I learnt to make alu and other parathas from my mother in law, and everything was "andaze se". The results were as good so Im not complaining.

Something else I learnt from the mother in law, is to take left over sabzis (dry ones not with jhol) and make parathas out of them similar to the aloo ones. Leftover dal too can be transformed into yummy parathas. Siigh. Im hungry now.

Aneela Z said...

i think im going to skip all these steps and
1) stand in queue for an Indian visa
2)buy a ticket to Cal
3) go eeny meenie mina mo should I go abreakfasting at Casa Dipali or Sue

Sue said...

TDA -- I know the feeling. I unwisely re-read this post for typos just now and am feeling extremely peckish!

Ron -- Actually, Dipali taught me andaz se too and that's how I make them. After all, pretty much anything goes. For the post though I tried to be more precise because when I try out new recipes, especially of unknown things, I need exact specs.

I do the leftover sabzi thing but dal? Had no idea. You take the dryer dals and stuff them in? How does it work?

Aneela -- LOL Casa Dipali it should be. She's the whiz, I'm just the rookie in these parts. Come on over, be great to meet the three of you.

Saya said...

This sounds delicious:) I make a version where i grind green chillies with a dash of ginger, coriander/pudhina, lime and mis this with the potatoes.

I ve a food blog. Come and read.

sraikh said...

Drool.. I am going to make some tonight.
A friend told me to use the left over gravy of any sabzi and use that to make dough. SO instead of using water, use chicken actually tasted pretty good. My kids ate it up

eve's lungs said...

Now I want parathas made by the Sue . When ?

dipali said...

Dipali and her parathas are both touched and honoured! Thank you:)

E said...

And who would ever thought... I was lucky enough to have her New York!!! Dipali, you rock!!!

dipali said...

@E: We had a lovely evening together:)

dipali said...

@Aneela: Pliss pliss come!

Ron said...

No stuffing. Instead of kneading the atta with water u knead it with the dal. U add some ajwain, some more masalas if you like (chili powder, black salt etc) even dhone pata and onions if you wish. And roll them out like you would a roti. And fry them with ghee / oil / butter. Eat with dahi and /or achar. Yummmmmm. Excellent way of getting rid of leftovers. I hate leftovers.

Ron said...

Just saw Sraikh's comment. Chicken gravy to knead the dough sounds awesome. I shall try it immediately :D

Ramya said...

Just read this. Lunchtime cannot get here soon enough!

Sujatha said...

This is the first time commenting here, though I read your blog quite often.
I tried these Alu parathas and they were awesome. I followed your steps to make the dough and it came out well.

Lefiera said...

Yummy, perfect for a snowy weekend!

Sue said...

Saya -- Must give your version a shot sometime.

Sraikh -- That sounds delicious, actually. I will definitely try that out sometime. Thanks.

Evie -- As soon as I get baked goodies form Evie, that's when. :P

Dipali -- Arre, the honour's mine I'm sure!

E -- :) Lucky is the right word!

Ron -- I love the sound of dal rotis. We do have occasional leftover dal that becomes a steady continuing fraction in the fridge for ages. This is a perfect way to deal with it, thanks!

Ramya -- :)

Suja -- That's great feedback, thanks. I do tend to worry as to whether the recipes work out when followed by somebody other than me!

Lefiera -- I hope you give them a shot soon, then. :)

peter kenneth said...

Oh !!! that is so amazing !!! i would love to try once !!!

beef jerky said...

I am so impressed !!! this recipe is so easy and seems that the final outcome is going to be figure licking !!! thank you !!