Paratha | Flat Bread
A paratha is a flatbread that originated in the Indian subcontinent prevalent throughout areas of India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh where wheat is the traditional staple.
Paratha is an amalgamation of the words parat and atta, which literally means layers of cooked dough.
Alternative spellings and names include parantha, parauntha, prontha, parontay (in Punjabi), porota (in Bengali, Malayalam), (palatain, in Burma), porotha (in Assamese), forota (in Sylheti) and farata (in Mauritius, Sri Lanka and the Maldives).
Parathas can be eaten as a breakfast dish or as a tea-time (tiffin) snack.
The flour used is finely ground wholemeal (atta) and the dough is shallow fried.
Perhaps the most common stuffing for parathas is mashed, spiced potatoes (aloo ka parantha) followed perhaps by dal (lentils).
A paratha (especially a stuffed one) can be eaten simply with a pat of butter spread on top or with chutney, pickles, ketchup, dahi or a raita or with meat or vegetable curries.
Some roll the paratha into a tube and eat it with tea, often dipping the paratha.
To achieve the layered dough for plain parathas, a number of different traditional techniques exist.
These include covering the thinly rolled out pastry with oil, folding back and forth like a paper fan and coiling the resulting strip into a round shape before rolling flat, baking on the tava and shallow frying.
Another method is to cut a circle of dough from the centre to its circumference along its radius, oiling the dough and starting at the cut edge rolling so as to form a cone which is then squashed into a disc shape and rolled out.
The method of oiling and repeatedly folding the dough as in western puff pastry also exists, and this is combined with folding patterns that give traditional geometrical shapes to the finished parathas.
Plain parathas can be round, heptagonal, square, or triangular.
The paratha is an important part of a traditional breakfast from the Indian subcontinent.
Traditionally, it is made using ghee but oil is also used.
Some people may even bake it in the oven for health reasons.
Usually the paratha is eaten with dollops of white butter on top of it.
Side dishes which go very well with paratha are curd, fried egg, omelette, Mutton kheema (ground mutton cooked with vegetables and spices), nihari (a lamb dish), jeera aloo (potatoes lightly fried with cumin seeds), daal, and raita as part of a breakfast meal.
It may be stuffed with potatoes, paneer, onions, qeema or chili peppers.