Friday, January 25, 2008

Lachha Paratha (Layered Flatbread) with Potato and Peas Curry

Indian breads are a delight to eat with any kind of curries, and adding spices and stuffings like garlic, potatoes, paneer, onions or other veggies, not only makes them tasty, but wholesome and nutritious too. Wheat flatbreads, popularly known as "Chapatis" or "Phulkas" are light and fluffy, while Parathas are more heavier and come in various shapes and flavors. One such simple variation that uses all-purpose flour is the "Lachha or Layered Paratha". Originated from the northern provinces of India, this is a very simple bread, with no spices except salt, but the beauty lies in the crust and crisp flakiness of the bread. It has several layers and is made by folding the rolled bread over and over again for a few times. It does take some time and patience to make these parathas, but they are an absolute joy to eat when they are served hot with delicious curries! Some people also have it for breakfast with their tea in the morning. Not a bad start of a new day, I must say:) These parathas are heavy, so you might be full with just one, and that saves a lot of time!

Recipe Ingredients
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
Water to make dough
Salt to taste
1 cup ghee (clarified butter)

Method
Mix the flour and salt and knead into a soft dough with a little water at a time. The consistency should be such that the dough is pliable, yet not too hard, nor too watery. It might help to knead the dough with some warm water as that would help obtain a better and softer texture. Cover the dough and keep aside.

There are several different ways of doing this, but the basic idea is to create layers by folding the rolled dough over a few times. Here's how I do mine.

Divide the dough into equal-sized balls, and roll into a round over oval shape using a rolling pin and flat board. Now take a knife and cut to make long 1" wide strips. Layer all the strips on top of one another to form a stack. Then roll the entire stack from one end to the other, length-wise, just like you'd do in a jelly roll cake.

Flatten between the palms of your hands, grease with some ghee, then dip in some raw flour and roll it out again. To see a pictorial representation, click here. Don't try to be very exact in following these steps; as long as you are creating layers, you are fine. Finish the paratha by rolling it into desired shape.

Heat a flat pan on a medium flame. Then cook the paratha on each side; remember to sprinkle some oil when flipping it over so it does not stick to the pan. Cook on both sides till it turns a light golden brown in color. The layers will start puffing up, and make sure you cook it on medium flame only, too high and it may get burnt, but stay uncooked from inside.

The resulting paratha will be crisp and flaky, ready to serve with a curry of your choice!!

Potato and Peas Curry

Ingredients
3 cups cubed boiled potatoes
2 cups boiled gren peas
a pinch of asafoetida
3 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp mustard seeds
4 tbsp tomato puree
salt - to taste
sugar - to taste(optional)
lemon juice - to taste
4-5 tsp red chilli powder
chopped coriander - for garnish
3 tbsp oil

Method
Take a non-stick cooking pan. heat the oil, then add the cumin and mustard seeds and allow to splutter. Then add the asafoetida, followed by the tomato puree, and then the potato cubes and green peas. Add about 1.5 to 2 cups of water, add the salt and sugar, then cover with a lid and cook for 10 mins on medium heat.

When the curry starts simmering, add all the remaining spices. Mix well, add more water if required, then add the lemon juice. Check for taste, then allow to cook for another 5-10 mins on low flame. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish wit chopped coriander.

Enjoy a wholesome meal with the hot and crispy Lachcha Parathas with the delicious Potatoes and Green peas curry!

Similar Recipes
Paneer-Ajwain Parathas
Mung-Dal (Lentil) Parathas

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