Take a culinary tour of the world and you’ll find many cultures or countries enjoy their own version of the mighty flat bread. Central America & Mexico press theirs out in tortillas; a relatively recent Native American narrative gives us the sweet or savory fry bread; the U.S. serves their pancakes for a hearty breakfast; sweet and savory crêpes dominate food stands and cafes in Paris; Italy touts the most famous flatbread of all – pizza (!); the Middle East enjoy their pita bread and/or lavash as a vehicle for feta cheese, hummus, zatar, and so on. Indian culture is no different, with naan, chapati, and our focus for this recipe – the paratha. Much like flatbreads of other cultures, the simple, yet delicious paratha is a staple in Indian diet.
Traditionally, parathas are made from atta flour, a stoneground wholemeal flour which is high in fiber, fresh, and tasty. Atta flour from India is a soft brown color, and very finely milled. The word paratha is a combination of parat and atta, meaning ‘layers of cooked dough.’ This unleavened flatbread is made by traditionally rolling the dough flat, folding it, rolling it out again, and repeating this, creating a layered effect in the paratha. Each time the dough is drizzled with oil or dressed with ghee, sprinkled with flour, folded and rolled out again. The flattened dough is then baked on a tava (a shallow cast-iron skillet specifically for cooking flatbreads), and then fried lightly. Paratha can also be enjoyed with filling or other ingredients – aloo paratha (potato), paneer paratha (goat cheese), mixed vegetable paratha, gobi paratha (cauliflower), to name a few. But there’s something traditional, basic, and reliable about the plain paratha the simple, warm and butter, dense yet flaky dough.
Here, we introduce you to our Zesteez, easy-to-make version of the paratha. In our own kitchen, we love to innovate, and I have to thank my husband for this brilliant take on this traditional favorite! This paratha recipe includes using our newest chutney flavor, Mint Cilantro and streamlines the process for easy replication in your own kitchen.
Zesteez Mint Cilantro Parathas
- Mint Cilantro Chutney – 3/4 jar, (depends on how much you want to mix in the flour)
- Plain Yogurt – 2 cups
- Whole wheat flour – 4 cups + set aside extra flour to coat during rolling
- Salt – to taste
- Olive Oil – 1 Tbsp
- Water – about 1/2 cup (to mix accordingly)
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and knead into a ball. Note: The yogurt is what makes the dough soft, resulting in fluffy parathas!
- Set the dough aside for an hour before rolling the parathas.
- Divide the dough in equal portions. For evenly-sized parathas, measure each portion to approximately the size of a golf ball.
- Lightly coat the dough balls with the whole flour set aside from earlier.
- Using a rolling pin, roll each ball flat like a tortilla
- Place your flattened dough on a non stick pan over medium heat and cook it both sides evenly. After a few brown spots appear, the paratha is ready!
My own kids love it rolled on an omelet! Our family typically eats parathas with raita, but many enjoy it as an accompaniment to chutneys or curries as well. Parathas are frequently included in our breakfast, lunch, and dinner preparations.
Food is so much more than a substance to eat – it can be an incredibly bonding, shared experience. We love to share tasty, creative recipes that bring the family together, get the kids involved and have everyone participating in mindful, healthy living. Check out our other recipes on our blog for more innovative uses for Zesteez chutneys! We are also interested to know, how do you use your Zesteez?
Until our next culinary adventure – Savor the joy of Zesteez!