Comfort me anytime – Aloo Paratha
I just finished baking this month’s Bread Baking Babe’s bread, at the very last minute but they are already gone, they disappeared so quickly that I at this point feel quite lucky I even managed to photograph them at all but that was only because the rest of the family hadn’t tasted the Aloo Paratha flat breads when I ran over to my studio. This month’s BBB challenge was chosen by my loverly friend Karen aka Baking Soda (I think we should call her Baking Yoda, not because she looks or talk like the Yoda (and I know because I actually met her) but she is a wise one with a lot of baking knowledge) and I cannot but recommend this bread, easy to make and the combination of potatoes and bread makes it the ultimate comfort food BUT – next time I will make it when no one else is around so I can eat them all in santa pace!
I have added some notes in italics of what I made differently to the recipes but on the whole I followed the recipe quite slavishly.
If you want to make this bread with us and be a Bread Baking Buddy, click over to Karen the Baking Yoda at Bake My Day to get all the details. But before you do that, check out if and how the other Babes baked their Crunch Crackers:
Bake My Day – Karen
Bread Baking Babe Bibliothécaire – Katie
blog from OUR kitchen – Elizabeth
Feeding my enthusiasms – Elle
girlichef – Heather
Life’s A Feast – Jamie
Living in the Kitchen with Puppies – Natashya
My Kitchen In Half Cups – Tanna
Notitie Van Lien – Lien
Paulchens Foodblog – Astrid
My notes in italics
1.1/2 c whole wheat flour
1.1/2 c ap flour plus more for rolling out the dough
1 ts ajwain* dried thyme, or ground cumin
2 tbs neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn, plus more for brushing the breads
1.1/2 pounds starchy potatoes, peeled and cut in half
1 jalapeño or other fresh hot chile, seeded and minced or more to taste
2 tsp ground coriander
freshly ground pepper
juice of 1/2 small lemon
*ajwain comes from carom seeds which look like celery but taste like very strong, slightly coarse thyme
Combine the flours with 1 teaspoon salt and the thyme in a food processor. Turn the machine on and add the oil and 3/4 cup water through the feed tube. Process for about 30 seconds, until the mixture forms a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch. If it is dry, add another tablespoon or two of water and process for another 10 seconds. In the unlikely event that the mixture is too sticky, add flour a tablespoon at a time. Remove the dough and, using flour as necessary, shape into a ball; wrap in plastic and let rest while you make the potato mixture. (At this point, you may wrap the dough tightly in plastic and refrigerate for up to a day or freeze for up to a week; bring back to room temperature before proceeding.) I did not use a mixer but mixed the dough by hand which was easy and quick (especially as I didn’t have to wash the mixer afterwards)
Put the potatoes in a large saucepan and add water to cover and a large pinch of salt. Turn the heat to high, bring to a boil, and adjust the heat so the mixture simmers steadily; cook until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes, then drain. Mash the potatoes along with half the chile, the coriander, a large pinch of salt, some pepper, and the lemon juice; taste and adjust the seasoning (you may prefer more chile; sometimes aloo paratha are quite hot).
When the dough has rested, set out a bowl of all-purpose flour and a small bowl of oil, with a spoon or brush, on your work surface. Lightly flour your work surface and your rolling pin. Break off a piece of dough about the size of a golf ball. Toss it in the bowl of flour and then roll it in your hands to make a ball. Flatten it into a 2-inch disk, then use a floured rolling pin to roll it into a thin round, about 5 inches in diameter, dusting with flour as necessary.
Mound about 2 tablespoons of the filling into the center of one of the rounds of dough. Bring the edges of the round up over the top of the filling and press them together to make a pouch. Press down on the “neck” of the pouch with the palm of one hand to make a slightly rounded disk. Turn the disk in the bowl of flour and roll it out again into a round 6 to 7 inches in diameter. Pat it between your hands to brush off the excess flour. Put the paratha on a plate and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. Continue to roll all of the remaining dough into parathas and stack them on the plate with a sheet of plastic wrap between them. You can keep the paratha stacked like this for an hour or two in the refrigerator before cooking them if necessary. I used another way of doing the breads because when I tried the one described above, I managed to spread the potato filling all over the place so I made two discs, put some filling on one and covered with the other before rolling them out a little more. It worked very well!
Heat a griddle or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat for a minute or two, then put on a paratha (or two, if they’ll fit) and cook until it darkens slightly, usually less than a minute. Flip the paratha with a spatula and cook for another 30 seconds on the second side. Use the back of a spoon or a brush to coat the top of the paratha with oil. Flip and coat the other side with oil. Continue cooking the paratha until the bottom of the bread has browned, flip, and repeat. Do this a few times until both sides of the paratha are golden brown and very crisp, 2 to 3 minutes total for each paratha. As the paratha finish, remove them from the pan and brush with melted butter if you’re going to serve hot; otherwise wait until you’ve reheated them.