Hi guys! It’s Prerna from Indian Simmer. I’m excited to be guest blogging for you today! As kids my dad used to tell us about how sometimes he misses those thick, piping hot and fresh off the choolha (clay oven) millet roti (flatbread) that my grandma used to make for them everyday. All the kids and my grandpa would sit in a row with their plates and she would carefully roast each roti, smother it with ghee and serve it with hot lentil soup and a side of salad. I have similar memories of hot and soft rotis from my childhood and I am sure many others who grew up in an Indian family do too.
India is a country with so many languages, cultures, beliefs and cuisines that it is almost a large country with so many little countries inside of it. Each region has its own crop or cereal that they grow and so what they eat greatly depends on it. That is what makes the particular region and its cuisine different from the next. Indian breads are basically composed of wheat, rice, corn or lentils. Then the cooking method also varies from region to region. Some make a dough and cook it on the griddle, some usually make pancakes with a fermented batter, some bake it in the oven and some fry it in oil. Name it differently, shape it differently and even store it differently. Even the dishes they are paired with vary and depend on the region it comes from. But no matter what region it belongs to if there is some Indian food being served somewhere then it has to have some kind of bread in it.
Bread is an integral part of Indian cuisine. The whole world now knows and admires Indian breads but still there are many varieties that although are hugely popular back home but still did not get much attention outside. Lachha Paratha (layered Indian pan fried flatbread) is one such bread. So when a blogger like Jenna asks you to do a guest post and give you the liberty to cook anything, ANTHING then why not use the opportunity? I used this one to help one of my favorite Indian flatbreads some popularity! Thanks so much Jenna for the honor. You have no idea how stoked I am!
If you watch some of the expert Indian chefs/cooks you will know making a perfectly layered, soft yet crisp lachha paratha is an art. Throwing a rolled out piece of dough up in the air, balancing it delicately enough to make it paper thin is not everyone’s cup of tea. But don’t worry even if throwing a piece of dough in the air and in return getting a flatbread in hand is not necessarily your forte you still can cook some Lachha paratha. The main trick is in the dough and in rolling it out. You don’t even need a million spices or ingredients for it. Just the four ingredients in the photograph above- Flour, salt, ghee (you can also use olive oil or butter) and ajwain seeds/Carom seeds (this is totally optional so technically you only need three ingredients) plus water.
With the help of a step by step photo description I am trying to explain how to make this flatbread. But first of all you need to mix all the ingredients and knead it into a dough just like you do for any bread like naan, roti, Indian paratha. You can find a tutorial on how to knead a perfect dough for Indian flatbreads here.
Roll it out, brush oil on it. Then sprinkle some flour.
Pleat it, twist it and roll it into spirals. Just like a cinnamon roll.
Tuck the loose end inside. Dust and roll again into a flat bread.
Cook it on top of a tava or skillet cooking each side brushing some more ghee or butter until they are brown and crisp.
After its cooked you generally crush it between your two palms so see all the layers.
Lachha Paratha (Layered Indian Pan-Fried Bread
Makes 8-10 parathas
3 cups of whole wheat flour or all purpose flour or you can also use half of each.
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp ajwain/carom seeds (As I said its optional)
1 ½ tsp ghee or oil to mix with the dough + Extra for brushing and pan frying
Mix all the ingredients for the dough and adding water a little at a time knead it into a smooth and soft dough. Soft enough for the fingers to penetrate while pressing and smooth enough that it does not sticks to your hand.
Divide the dough into 8 to 10 equal parts. Using your two hands make a ball of them.
Take one dough ball and cover the rest with a damp cloth while you are working on it.
Dust your working space and using a rolling pin roll out the dough into a thin (almost 2-3 mm thickness) circle.
Brush ghee or oil on top of the rolled dough. Dust some flour, some 3-4 pinches and fold it in pleats. Just like a Japanese fan.
Hold the two ends with your hands and twist it a few times moving your hands in opposite direction and stretching the ends at the same time. You will end up making a long twisted rope.
Now put it back on the work space and make a spiral circle. Tuck the end inside.
Press it with your hand, dust and roll it again into a flatbread. It should be approximately 6-7 inches in diameter.
Now transfer your rolled out paratha to a hot griddle and cook brushing with ghee/oil until it gets small brown patches on it. Flip and repeat again.
Your lachha paratha is ready. Serve hot with any curry, chutney or a pickle.