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Parathas (pan-fried Indian flatbread) are truly a treat. Crispy and flaky, they go well with most Indian dishes, whether a gravied curry or a dry stir-fry. Don't be deterred by the number of steps in this tutorial—although the process may look time-consuming, parathas are actually quick to make. With parathas, the flakier and more layered they are, the better. How crisp you make them, however, is up to your taste.
What You'll Need:
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- Paratha dough
- Rolling pin and board or mat
- Frying pan
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Roll Paratha Dough Into Balls
The dough for parathas is much like the dough for chapatis. To make one dozen parathas, mix 2 cups of whole wheat flour in a bowl with water and salt (to taste). Have 1 cup of vegetable oil on hands. You'll need 2 tablespoons of oil for when you knead the dough. Use the rest of the oil for frying.
Once you've prepared it, divide the dough into equal portions, roughly the size of golf balls. Roll between your palms, applying gentle pressure, until the balls are smooth and without cracks. Make as many as you need and keep ready to roll out.Continue to 3 of 18 below.
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Coat a Ball With Flour
Lightly coat one ball with flour. Doing this will prevent the ball from sticking to the rolling surface.Continue to 4 of 18 below.
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Flatten the ball of dough.Continue to 5 of 18 below.
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Using a small rolling pin, roll with circular motions until you have a 4-inch circle.Continue to 6 of 18 below.
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Oil and Fold in Half
Create the first layer. Use half a teaspoon of oil and spread over the entire surface of the circle. At this stage, you can add extra zing to the paratha by sprinkling it with spices like cumin seeds or dry red chili flakes. Now fold the circle in half to form a semi-circle.Continue to 7 of 18 below.
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Oil and Fold Into Triangle or Square
Spread 1/4 teaspoon of oil over entire surface of the semi-circle. Now fold it in half to form a triangle. How you fold is entirely up to you so have fun with the shape of your parathas! The idea is to grease and fold to create layers.
To make a square shape: At the circle stage, spread the oil and then fold the two opposite sides over to meet in the center. Now apply oil on the folded surface and fold the other two ends over to meet in the center.Continue to 8 of 18 below.
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The folding and layering are now done. Flatten the triangle with your fingers and you're ready to roll. You can prepare as many parathas as you like up to this stage and keep them ready to roll out or just make them one at a time.Continue to 9 of 18 below.
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Dust With Flour
Lightly coat one triangle in flour. Doing this will prevent it from sticking to the rolling surface.Continue to 10 of 18 below.
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Use circular motions to roll out the paratha and try to keep the shape you started out with.Continue to 11 of 18 below.
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Roll to 1/4-Inch Thick
While rolling, do not press down too hard as this will cause the layers to stick together and the paratha will not be flaky. Do not make the paratha too thin, either. Stop rolling when it has reached 1/4-inch thick, no matter what the size.Continue to 12 of 18 below.
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Frying the Paratha
Heat a pan over medium heat; place the paratha in the pan.
The paratha is ready for its first flip when you begin to see raised bumps or bubbles on the upper surface. Use a spatula to flip it over.Continue to 13 of 18 below.
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After First Flip
This is what the first side should look like after you flip it the first time.Continue to 14 of 18 below.
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Oil and Flip Again
Spread about 3/4 teaspoon of oil all over the surface of the paratha. Then flip the paratha over again.Continue to 15 of 18 below.
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Oil Other Side and Flip
Spread about 3/4 teaspoon of oil on the side of the paratha that is now facing up. Flip the paratha once again.Continue to 16 of 18 below.
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After the Last Flip
This is what the paratha should look like after the last flip.Continue to 17 of 18 below.
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Press to Crisp
To make the paratha crisp, use a spatula or slotted spoon to gently press down all over the surface in circular motions. Flip if needed and repeat on the other side until you have the desired crispness (a matter of preference). Notice how the layers have separated.Continue to 18 of 18 below.
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The paratha is finished. You can now remove it from the pan and serve immediately, or store in an insulated container lined with paper towel. This keeps the paratha warm and prevents it from getting soggy.