Indian Breads: Parathas with Potato, Chile & Cilantro Filling
Simply put, I'm a bread person. After a coworker brought in pooris and parathas, I was hooked on Indian breads too!
I skimmed the bread recipes from a great book on Indian home-style cooking, and decided to make filled parathas.
The basic idea is you make the dough, make the filling, combine the two, then fry in a skillet.
Spicy Potato Filling
Slice in half and pressure cook 3-4 small potatoes (yukon gold worked best, but you could use red potatoes too) in 1 C water for 6 minutes. Use the fast release option, open the lid, and let them cool a little on a cutting board.
You could boil them for forever until soft, but the pressure cooker works great and saves time.
Then, peel the skin off the potatoes. Place potatoes in a bowl and squish into pieces with your fingers (careful not to burn yourself).
In a food processor, mix:
1/4 red onion
1 jalapeno, some seeds removed
2 TB fresh cilantro
Add the chopped onion/jalapeno/cilantro mix to the potatoes. Also add:
1 tea salt
1/4 tea cumin seeds
1/4 tea garam masala
2 TB lime juice
Mix and squeeze the potatoes and spices together. Try to break up the big clumps, but you aren't going for mashed potato consistency either.
Reserve potato mix for filling paratha dough (below).
Combine in a medium bowl:
1 tea salt
1 C all purpose flour (unbleached is my preference)
1 C whole wheat flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour, but I'd guess that bread flour also works)
Then add 1/2 C water and mix with hands until combined. Add another 1/4 C water and keep mixing. If you need it, add up to 1/4 C more water and knead the sticky mass for about 2-4 minutes until it is slightly stretchy. Set aside and let dough rest for 10-30 minutes (you may want to cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel to keep the surface of the dough from drying out).
After the dough has rested, pull off golf ball sized chunks and roll in a small amount of flour. Press into a thin disc. Mound a large spoon full (1-2 TB?) of potato mixture, then stretch the dough around to encase the filling. Press flat.
Repeat for the remaining dough/potatoes.
Don't just stack the parathas together. They become sticky as they sit and I had a whole pile (see picture) become a sticky mass. Use wax paper between them or leave them spread out on a cutting board!
Heat a skillet to medium high heat. Add a paratha and cook in the dry skillet on each side until browning.
Then add a drizzle of olive oil to each side and flip, to make a crispy texture. When crispy on both sides, remove and serve with raita (indian yogurt dip).
I read that these travel well, so I will have to take them on a road trip someday!