Thursday, March 20, 2008

Vegetable and Cheese Parathas (Stuffed Flatbread)

Parathas have been a traditional Indian breakfast in many north and west-indian households for as long as I can remember, and the versatility of the recipes is what makes it so attractive. Not to mention that they are healthy and filling at the same time. "Stuffed Parathas" are basically nothing but "Stuffed Flatbreads", filled with your choice of boiled and mashed veggies, rolled into a disc and cooked on a "tava" (cast-iron pan), greased with oil or ghee on both sides. Aloo or Paneer parathas are eternal favorites, but I was looking for something more nutritious, so I decided to make these Vegetable and Cheese Parathas, which are stuffed with a lot of mixed veggies and cheese; delicately flavored with indian spices, these parathas serve to be a perfect meal anytime of the day. What's more, you can even cook them and store them for a couple of days so you just need to reheat them before serving!

Ingredients
3 cups wheat flour (chapati atta)
1/4 cup cheddar or ricota cheese - crumbled or shredded
1/2 cup green peas
2 cup cauliflower florets
2 medium-sized potatoes (or 1 large)
1/4 cup onions - chopped finely
1/2 cup coriander - chopped
2 green chillies - chopped
1 tbsp jeera (cumin seeds)
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala (optional for flavor)
salt and lemon juice- to taste
2 tbsp oil
1 to 1 1/2 cup water (approximately) - to knead dough
extra oil or ghee for sauteing the parathas

Method
Knead the dough with water Take the flour and add 2 tbsp oil. Mix well, then keep adding a little water at a time to knead the dough, just as you would for a regular paratha or bread. The emphasis here is to keep the dough soft but not too sticky, leaning more towards tough than soft, say a little harder than cookie dough. Cover and keep it aside for 15-20 mins.

Boil all the vegetables (except onions, green chillies and coriander) together in a pressure cooker or microwave. Take a frying pan, add 2 tsp oil to it, add the cumin seeds, green chillies and ginger-garlic paste, then saute the chopped onions until light pink and cooked. Add all the spices and the boiled vegetables to this and cook for another 2-3mins.

Remove from flame, then mash everything together with your hand or use a masher as it might be hot. Finally add the cheese and chopped coriander to the mixture and again mix everything well till it becomes soft and maleable, without any hard lumps. Now divide it into equal portions to use as filling for the parathas.

Take a small part of the dough. Roll it out into a small circle, then put the filling mixture in the center. Roll over the dough edges over the filling to cover it completely and make into a ball. Then flatten it between your palms, roll in plain flour and use a rolling pin to gently shape it into a thick round paratha. Remember to apply gentle pressure else the paratha would break and the filling would pop out. (Don't worry, its not as hard as it sounds!)

Put a griddle over medium heat and cook the parathas on both sides over the griddle. Apply light oil or butter on each side while on the griddle to make it puffy and soft. Cook till you see small brown spots appear on both sides and the outer layer looks evenly cooked (as shown in the picture)

Once these are a little cool, you can wrap them in an aluminium foil and refrigerate them for a couple of days. Alternately, you can also freeze them and preserve for at least a week. But there's nothing like enjoying fresh hot parathas straight off the griddle with a cup of coffee or tea. You can even serve these delicious Cheese Parathas with any curry for lunch or dinner!

Similar Recipes:
Paneer Parathas
Makkai (Sweet-Corn) Parathas

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