Crispy, flaky Aloo Paratha (Potato-Stuffed Flatbread) are an emblem of soulful Indian home cooking. Almost every home has their own unique recipe and technique for making this delicious North Indian stuffed flatbread at home. Of all the stuffed breads India is famous for, Aloo Paratha is the one loved in every family kitchen. Here’s how I make Aloo Paratha for my family.
Walk through the entire process for making Aloo Paratha with me. Watch me make the lightly-spiced potato filling, bind a soft but sturdy dough and roll them out so the filling doesn’t burst. Finally, join me as I cook them on the tawa until puffy, layered and beautifully golden on the outside.
Use a combination of wholewheat atta, chickpea flour, oil and ample water. If you are familiar with making other types of Indian bread, check that your dough for Aloo Paratha is soft, like that which is used for making naan or roti. It should not be as hard as poori or samosa pastry. Knead it well and allow it to rest before you roll it. I like to add oil or ghee 2 minutes before the kneading process is complete. This final step ensures a smooth, soft dough every time. That really is it.
Firstly, be sure your dough is soft and elastic. Does it spring back only very slowly when you press it? This is a good indication of well-made Paratha dough. Secondly, check your filling is dry enough to roll into a ball without falling apart. These are the foundations of fabulous Aloo Paratha.
Ultimately, the Aloo Paratha must be rolled gently and carefully, not straight down the middle, but in a circular motion, around the centre rather than straight over it. Once it reaches your desired size, the rolling pin can be used to even the surface out without causing cracks. Don’t be afraid to use your hands to pat it into shape either.
It’s not necessary. The potatoes are already cooked. Indeed, the potato filling is spread so thinly inside the entire surface of the Aloo Paratha that the spices will cook out in a matter of minutes.
This is a homestyle trick canny grandmas use to give their Aloo Parathas that wholesome flavour and crispy texture. Ever wonder why you can never replicate grandma’s Aloo Paratha? This could well be the missing ingredient.
Time needed: 1 hour and 10 minutes.
How to cook Aloo Paratha
Use either a steel, aluminium or cast iron tawa for the most authentic, Punjabi dhaba (roadside cafe) flavour. Deep smokiness from the combination of heat, fat and flour coming together will send your tastebuds straight to a Punjabi kitchen. If none of the above are available, a non-stick pan is absolutely fine to use. For beginners, it’s also an easy way to ensure your parathas cook evenly and of course, don’t stick to the pan.
Always pre-heat the pan for a few minutes before cooking Aloo Paratha (or any Paratha, for that matter). You don’t want to slap your beautifully-crafted flatbread down onto a tepid pan — it will render the outside overcooked and hard, yet leave it unspotted with those iconic char marks.
Don’t grease the pan before cooking. First, dry roast both sides of the Aloo Paratha. This will dry out the surface of the Aloo Paratha just enough so that you can turn it and spread with ghee/oil without it cracking or breaking. Secondly, this “sukha” roast or dry roast will result in the most amazing, even brewing over the surface of the Aloo Paratha.
Spread the surface of the roasted paratha with ghee or oil. This will ensure a puffy, crispy golden finish.
Boiling the potatoes will make them absorb too much water. The filling should be slightly dry and able to form into a ball when rolled. Either microwave, steam or bake the potatoes until tender for a perfect texture. I prefer to microwave my potatoes. Do do this, pierce the skins and cook on high power for 8-10 minutes until soft.
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