Paratha: The Crispy Roasted Flatbread

Parathas, which literally means “layers of cooked dough” are crispy, chewy flatbreads packed with flavors and unique textures. They can be eaten in any meal and they complement any dish they are served with. 

What are Parathas?

Parathas are a type of flatbread, native to the Indian subcontinent. They are popular in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh. They have a variety of names and pronunciations which include the popular ones like “parantha”, “parauntha” and “poranta”. Parathas are easy to make and require no special skill. They are easy to stock and can be kept frozen or stored in the refrigerator for multiple days. 

How are Parathas Cooked?

Parathas are made up of a few simple ingredients like wheat flour (which is the main ingredient), water, salt, and oil or desi ghee. In the first step, a soft wheat flour dough is made which is then rolled into layers, smeared with oil or ghee, and then flattened out into a thin base. The greased and flattened dough is then roasted on a pan until crisp and golden brown. The process of roasting is crucial in paratha-making as it traps the steam in between its layers, which results in a perfectly cooked soft layered paratha.

Image Credit: Abdullah Shakoor from Pixabay 

Varieties of Parathas

There are two main types of parathas: plain paratha and stuffed paratha. The plain paratha doesn’t have any filling, and hence is a good candidate to be savored with curries, daal, and even rolled into a paratha wrap. The stuffed parathas have a huge variety of fillings ranging from meat to vegetables to eggs, that are tightly packed inside the dough layers. Some popular paratha stuffing includes mashed potatoes, shredded radishes, chopped leafy greens, cheese, and a mixture of spices and herbs. 

Flavor and Texture of Parathas

Since parathas are a type of flatbread they have a chewy texture. The flavor depends on the amount of ghee or oil used. The ghee gives it a nutty-sweet aroma and a super flaky texture which is a treat for the taste buds. 

Image Credit: Flickr user Sonia Goyal Jaipur ( CC BY-SA 2.0 )

Culinary uses of Parathas

Parathas are a staple in the Indian subcontinent and are eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. At breakfast, parathas are best paired with butter, yogurt, eggs, sauerkraut, pickles, and chutneys. For lunch and dinner, parathas are enjoyed with various types of meat (mutton, fish, and chicken), curries or stir-fries.

Looking for dripping, saucy, and flavorful recipes to pair with your parathas? Here are our top picks that perfectly complement a crisp buttery paratha.

●      Red Lentil Daal

●      Butternut Squash Curry

●      Lamb Curry

●      Thai Coconut Chicken Curry

In the Indian subcontinent, parathas are a popular snack at tea times, where people like to dip it into their tea to make it more gooey than crisp. Additionally, plain parathas can be stuffed with barbecued chicken, shredded vegetables, sauces, and condiments to be turned into “paratha rolls”, a popular street snack in Pakistan. For a change of taste, you can easily reconstruct our recipe for Steak Tacos by swapping tortillas with parathas to experience its rich, buttery, and crisp impression.

Image Credit: Flickr user chooyutshing ( CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 )

Feature Image: Flickr user Sonia Goyal Jaipur ( CC BY-SA 2.0 )

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